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Local fiddles his way to victory

Cellist hopes to ride a contest win to a successful career.

June 22, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Brook Speltz, a former La Cañada resident, 2005 La Cañada High School graduate and current student at The Julliard School in New York, was looking to get some exposure when he entered an instrumental music competition with the Houston Symphony.

He got exposure, alright. He won first place in the national competition, which hosted its semifinal and final rounds at Rice University in Texas on June 2 and 4.

From the very beginning of the competition, Speltz felt he was going to win the contest.

“Any competition you do, you have to go in there thinking you're going to win, that's really the best way,” said Speltz, a 24-year old cello player who won $5,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Houston to play with the Houston Symphony on July 19.

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It was Speltz’ second major competition, but his first in six years. He participated in a competition with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2005 as a senior at LCHS and came in third place.

“Once I was accepted I told myself, 'As long as I put the work in, good things will happen,' and they did,” Speltz said. “It's rare and nice to see your hard work pay off the way you want it to.”

It couldn’t hurt that both of Speltz’ parents are professional musicians. His father is a professional cellist and studio musician and his mother is a violinist in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the director of strings in LCHS’ music program. Speltz credits his family as having a great impact on the way he plays and for his success with music so far.

“I feel very lucky to have parents that I look up to, not only in a family way but someone — especially my father, who's one of the top cellists in L.A. — that I strive to emulate,” Speltz said. “How many sons can boast that?”

Speltz has done all he can to pay them back, giving them the chance to see him play with the Houston Symphony on July 19.

“It’s going to be a dream that I’ve never dreamt for myself,” said Dave Speltz, Brook’s father. “It’s going to be something; I am going to be enjoying it through him vicariously.”

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