Friday was a special day for 50 members of the Juarez Youth Symphony.

The group, who rarely comes to El Paso, walked across the border to attend an El Paso Pro-Musica concert, featuring the Ying String Quartet, at the El Paso Scottish Rite Temple.

"There was so much traffic, so they decided to get out and walk," said Felipa Solis, executive director for El Paso Pro-Musica. "They don't want to be late for the concert." Following the concert, the orchestra met with members of the Ying String Quartet - cellist David Ying, violinist Janet Ying, violist Phillip Ying and violinist Ayano Ninomiya - and Zuill Bailey, Pro Musica's artistic director, for autograph's and pictures.

The Ying String Quartet are world renowned, Solis said. The four members, who come from a Winnetkam, a suburb of Chicago, are of Chinese ancestry and attended the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music.

They graduated in 1992 and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Iowa residency. That experience led the quartet to explore musical connections, including a Grammy-winning album with America's folk-based Turtle Island String Quartet. They have collaborated with jazz musician Billy Childs and folk singer Mike Seeger, recorded an album of material by Chinese-American composers titled "Musical Dim Sum," and staged a series of performances with actors, dancers and others in New York called "No Boundaries."

It was because of this recognition that the Juarez symphony was so anxious to see the quartet.


"You should have seen the symphony members," Solis said. "They were sitting there on the edges of their seat. The quartet are rocks stars fro them." Paula Monarez Diaz maybe reached at 546-6154 or