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QSO reaches out to younger audiences

G. Garrett Keast has joined the Queens Symphony Orchestra as director of education and community relations. He will develop and organize the orchestra’s education and outreach programs and will return to conduct and host the popular QSO Young People’s Concerts that he led last year. These special concerts were attended by more than 8,000 local registered schoolchildren in the two-part series that Keast helmed last season.

Additionally, Keast is the editor of QSO’s official newsletter “Symphony Sound-Off.”

One of Keast’s goals is to build the QSO Volunteer Club, an organization being formed to help support the orchestra’s functions with active volunteers who will receive perks in exchange for their time and efforts.

Born in Houston, Texas, Keast moved to New York in the fall of 2000. He brings a strong musical background and wealth of experience to the QSO. This year marks his fourth season on the staff of the Metropolitan Opera and his third season on faculty at the Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Festival in Ontario, Canada. This season he also conducted a program with the Massapequa Philharmonic and will conduct a concert performance of “La Boheme” with the Manhattan-based Prism Opera. He has conducted several of America’s top orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, and the New World Symphony.

Keast is a 1995 graduate of the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Music degree. He grew up singing, playing the trombone, piano and viola. During the late 1990’s, Keast enjoyed a close association with the Houston Symphony where he studied under the guidance of world-renowned conductor Christoph Eschenbach.

Keast said “I am very happy to be here with the QSO. Queens is a rich and amazing community and I know all of us here at the QSO want to reach even further into the hearts of its people.”

He added, “Our Young People’s Concerts are a blast. At each concert we have 2,000 kids packed into Colden Center and they give us their complete attention. We have a great professional orchestra playing for them, sing-alongs for the kids, students get invited on the stage, and we teach them as much as we can about instruments and great music. It’s great exposure for the kids and the orchestra and I have a great time, too.”

For more information on Keast, visit his Web site at www.garrettkeast.com.

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