Music News & Reviews

Teen musical whiz Roger Xia to perform an eclectic mix in Sacramento concert

Davis Senior High School junior Roger Xia continues to be prodigious in his display of talent on his two favorite instruments — the piano and the violin.
Davis Senior High School junior Roger Xia continues to be prodigious in his display of talent on his two favorite instruments — the piano and the violin. Xia family

As a junior at Davis Senior High School, Roger Xia is now a bit old for the title of “child prodigy,” the label under which he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a 10-year-old. But at 17, Xia continues to be prodigious on his two favorite instruments — the piano and the violin.

Xia will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday at Riverside United Methodist Church in Sacramento in the final event of the Sacramento Community Concert Association’s 66th season. His intended repertoire for the performance exhibits the range of his interests and talent.

On the violin, Xia has chosen to play the Largo from Bach’s “Violin Sonata No. 3,” Beethoven’s “Violin Sonata No. 5” (subtitled “Spring”), and Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen.” Then Xia will switch to the piano with Rzewski’s “Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues,” Schumann’s “Papillons” and Ginastera’s “Danzas Argentinas.”

The Sacramento Community Concert Association has maintained a lively interest over the decades in an eclectic mix. The association has a “tradition of presenting a variety of musical styles and genres, while maintaining the highest standards of excellence in our artists and repertoire,” according to its website. It prides itself on providing a showcase for young performers as well as more established artists.

Xia began piano lessons when he was 5 and added violin lessons two years later. He has no intention of abandoning one instrument to concentrate on the other.

“I try to spend about an equal amount of time practicing each instrument,” Xia said. “On days where I have a lot of orchestra rehearsals, I may practice more piano individually than violin. I hope to maintain my musicianship on both instruments in the future.”

Four years ago, Xia participated in the Mondavi Center Young Artists Competition, where he was awarded the Young Artists Prize for piano. Competition founder Lara Downes said that Xia performed spectacularly on both piano and violin at the event’s Family Concert, “and it was great fun to see the dropped jaws of the kids and parents in the audience.”

Xia has been recognized beyond the region as well. In addition to serving as concertmaster for the Davis Senior High orchestra, he holds the same position in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He performed Beethoven’s “Rage Over a Lost Penny” for National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” recorded at UC Davis’s Mondavi Center and originally broadcast in March 2016.

After Xia graduates from high school, he will continue to pursue music at a college or conservatory. He has participated in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as part of its pre-college program.

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