International Youth Music Festival

Talented upstarts storm the chamber
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PREVIEW How brilliant my high school music career was: I got to travel around the world to impress international audiences with my mad piano skills, take master classes with professional musicians, and play and network with European wünderkinder whose gifts were equivalent to mine.

Oh wait, my high school music career actually consisted of taking weekly piano lessons from a 65-year-old German woman in a church basement, figuring out ways to make her believe I had actually practiced that week. But I guess more focused and, er, gifted students actually do get to join the jet set and showcase their talent in front of classical music lovers on different continents.

Youth Music International was formed in 2003 to facilitate a US-UK exchange program for talented youngsters specializing in chamber music, hoping to provide the adolescent musicians with superior technical instruction and a unique opportunity for cultural exchange amongst peers.

The group returns to San Francisco this year for a four-day stint after holding last summer's concerts in Oxford, England. Wednesday's performance is the festival's finale, with orchestral masterworks as the concert's theme. So if you can put your jealousy aside, come check these kids out at Grace Cathedral, an intimate and historic setting, before they're touring with Yo-Yo Ma and you can't afford the tickets.

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH MUSIC FESTIVAL Wed/13, 7:30 p.m., $10–$16. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California, SF. (415) 749-6300, www.gracecathedral.org, www.youthmusicinternational.com

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