Oh, how sweet the sound!

October 4, 2011 —

We believe DMU students are extraordinarily talented, but for many that goes far beyond academics. For example, Yoshi Ozaki, one of our osteopathic medical students, is also principal cellist with the the Des Moines Community Orchestra – and he will blow your hair back on Sunday, October 9, at the orchestra’s fall concert.

Yoshi will be one of two soloists featured in the free concert, which will begin at 2 p.m. in Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium, part of Old Main at 26th Street and Carpenter Avenue. After a performance of the beautifully lyric L’Arlesienne Suite No. 1, Yoshi will perform Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto,described by Des Moines Community Orchestra music director and conductor Carl Johnson as “very demanding” and “wonderfully melodic.”

The DMU String Orchestra includes Yoshi Ozaki, third from the right in the back row.

Yoshi began playing the cello at age 15. “My life always went with the cello, but I came to love the performance while studying the cello at Baylor University,” he says. There, he gave several solo concerts, including the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Baylor Campus Orchestra.

Composed by Elgar in 1919, the concerto “achieved wide popularity after the recording by Jacqueline du Pre became a bestseller in the 1960s,” Yoshi explains. “This piece has become one of the most famous and loved cello concerts in addition to Dvorak, Haydn and Schumann.”

Yoshi, who has been a student of Haruo Kuroiwa, Izaak Casal, Gary Hardy and Victoria Wolff, has served as the principal cellist for several orchestras, including the DMU String Orchestra, for years.

The second half of the Des Moines Community Orchestra’s October 9 concert will open with the Celtic Concerto of Laura Zaerr, with soloist Kristen Maahs. The Celtic Concerto, Carl says, “is made up of seven folk songs woven into one continuous outpouring of melodic invention.” The concert will conclude with Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2.

Adding to the musical festivities are two fun options: First, “children of all ages” can join the orchestra for any part of its dress rehearsal that morning in Sheslow Auditorium, 9:30 a.m. to noon and sit among the orchestra members onstage, in order to get a new perspective near instruments of interest to them.

Second, Carl will give a free pre-concert talk about the works at 1 p.m. in Levitt Hall on the second floor of Drake’s Old Main (in the same building as the auditorium). Soloists Yoshi and Kristen also will join the talk, which will last about 40 minutes.

Mark your calendar for this beautifully musical break on October 9!


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.

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