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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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November 29, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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November 29, 2013
 

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From page 1 tra. I must have heard an orchestra perform before that, but orchestra was not a meaningful part of my life until I started participating in it. At one point you were the youngest contracted mem- ber of the AsheviUe Symphony Orchestra. Can you describe this experience? I am from Asheville, North Carolina. It's a fairly small city and I quickly advanced past the level of the local youth orchestra. When I was in eighth grade, there was an opening in the cello sec- tion of the Asheville Symphony our professional orchestra. I had been studying with a Suzuki cello teacher named Frances Duff, but had started driving down to Atlanta, Georgia, for lessons with an acclaimed pedagogue. I still met with Frances once a week (I danced with her daughter, so my lessons took place at the ballet studio) and for that entire year she helped me prepare the music to audition for the Asheville Symphony. We drilled that audi- tion music - a concerto and stan- dard orchestral excerpts - over BUOYS & CATALINA ISLAND CATALINA ISLAND PENDANTS Buoys & Gulls has commissioned award winning Hawaiian jewelry designer, Denny Wong, to create these beautiful Catalina Island mother of pearl jewelry. These stunning pieces are available as bracelets and necklaces, and some feature a tanzanite stone to mark the location of Avalon. Available in white, black, pink and yellow mother of pearl, and also available with a gold or silver surround. Prices starting at $45.00 Available in-store and online. and over again-for months. The audition was blind; no one on the other side of the screen knew how old I was. I was 14 years old at the time. That spring, after my audition, they offered me a contract, and I played with the symphony all four years of high school. When the personnel manager called me to congratulate me on winning the position, she jokingly asked if the evening rehearsal schedule would go past my bedtime. It was like learning how to swim by being thrown into the deep end of a pool; everyone had more experience than me, but I learned from them. I discovered how to be part of an ensemble, how to follow a conductor, and how to learn the notes quickly. Professional orchestras have very few rehearsals before each con- cert, and I learned a tremendous amount of repertoire through this experience. There may be some individu- als in our audience that have never experienced a live sym- phony orchestra. Can you briefly describe what they can expect to see and hear? Anna Wittstruck This concert program features a small sub-set of opr symphony orchestra. You won't experience the raw power of a hundred people playing on stage together, of rum- !;77 7 I l lina Wand ring perfect memento to remind gou of gour island home or personal . ne uarg. HP~:aug ,~rling ~i|vcr in ,.vh~l .~iz~.~ 6-13 gre.~t gift a'~d xelusivlg aL: www.ivcatalina.com 310-5|0-1,150 :bling percussion and brassy fan- fares. Instead, this will be a very intimate performance experience - almost like chamber music. The audience will have a good sense of each musician's individual per- sonality and sound, and how that sound blends between string play- ers iind woodwind players. We are showcasing different groups of instruments: from solo piano to a string quartet to the thirteen-person mix of strings and woodwinds needed to per- form Aaron Copland's beloved Appalachian Spring. There is something visceral and exciting about experiencing live classical music that cannot be replicated; it's a real joy to present that to people for the first time. What is your role as the con- ductor? All of the musicians on stage have strong feelings about how the music should go. What is essen- tial for a good ensemble is to have a unified feeling about the music. This is where the conduc- tor becomes important. I study the score, try to honor what the composer says about how fast the music should be, how loud it is, what kind of mood it has, how it is phrased, etc, and then - having conceived of a clear interpretation - show with my baton how the music will flow. With a piece like Appalachian Spring, the meter is always chang- ing, and so just keeping time for the musicians and showing them the downbeats for each measure is quite important. The tempo and affect are also constantly changing; for these transitions, I serve as a guide. What is most important is for the players io feel confideri( ab0ut what they are doing, and to always know what is going to happen next. My baton shows them where the music is going next and they respond to it together. What type of process do you go through when developing a program for an event like this? For programming this kind of event, we start with the ques- tion: how many musicians will be performing? Because it is a small ensemble for this performance, our Music Director, Jindong Cai, suggested Appalachian Spring. It's a beautiful piece of music, important repertoire for the play- ers and me to learn, and it embod- ies a sound-world - nature, folk tunes - that people really identify with. Aaron Copland is possibly one of the most "American" sound- ing composers and Appalachian Spring is a perfect example of America described through music, from the serenity of the open, expansive intervals in .the Introduction, to the "Simple Gifts" tune at the end. I therefore wanted to craft a program around the idea of American music, as well as a program that would showcase our fantastic players. We begin with the Dvorak "American" Quartet. Dvorak of course was Czech, but he came to the United States in the 19th century and is really the first com- poser to define a quintessentially American sound by integrating provincial folk songs into his art music. We will also play music from 6 i Friday, November 28, 2013 THE CATAUNA ISLANDER