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Portland Youth Philharmonic will close out its 95th season with a guest appearance by PYP alumnus Max Blair

 PYP alumnus Max Blair, now Associate Principal Oboe with the Pittsburgh Symphony, will play with PYP during its concert May 5.

Portland Youth Philharmonic will close its 95th season May 5 with the West Coast premier of Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach's Symphony No. 1, "Chimera." The concert will also feature oboe soloist and PYP alumnus Max Blair, now Associate Principal Oboe with the Pittsburgh Symphony.

"PYP was a huge part of my life in high school," says Blair. "It gave me my first experience playing in an orchestra, and exposed me to other young people who shared the passion for music that I had. I have so many great memories from that time. I feel very fortunate to have had theory, ear training and conducting classes as a member of the orchestra. PYP was where I had my first exposure to doing what eventually became my job. I wouldn't be the same musician I am today if I hadn't had that opportunity!"

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Blair began playing the oboe at age 14. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School, studying with Elaine Douvas and Nathan Hughes. Blair joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Oboe in 2016. He has performed as guest Principal Oboe with the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. For two seasons, he also served as Principal Oboe of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in New York City. He has spent recent summers at the Marlboro, Verbier, Aspen and Spoleto USA music festivals.

With PYP, Blair will perform 20th century Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's beautiful Oboe Concerto.

The 4 p.m. concert will end with the Overture to La Belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach, a celebratory parody of Helen's elopement with Paris of Troy, which sparked the Trojan War.

Tickets to the May 5 performance start at $5 and are on sale now at www.portlandyouthphil.org/concerts.


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