Molly Z. ’20 - Violin
Spring Concerto of The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi
I will be playing the third movement from the Spring Concerto of The Four Seasons, by Antonio Vivaldi. I have always loved the moment when spring first starts knocking at the door, and I loved that this piece depicts the birds that I love waking up to, and the world begins to come alive again. This piece was very challenging for me. It is long, has a wide range of notes and dynamics, and there are some parts that are particularly nerve-wracking for me to play. Listen for changes in color and texture, as well as your favorite spring birds singing their songs.
I think the audience should know that this is part of a larger concerto. Spring is the first of the four seasons portrayed in the concerto. I think it provides a wonderful introduction to the beginning of this larger work because spring is a time of renewal and regrowth, not only for nature but for people to experience as well.
Being able to play this piece is probably one of my most proud accomplishments. It has taken me more time than what might be average to finish this piece, and I am now proud to say that I can play this piece. On more than one occasion I have heard it played in public and have been very pleased that I could hum along to every single phrase.
At Eventide, I played my first solo part in an orchestra. The piece had three other violin soloists, and I worked very hard to make sure I would be able to keep up with them. I think this experience was rewarding and unique, and one that taught me so much about playing with a group, while also being able to maintain my own violin voice.
After Eventide, someone’s grandpa came up to me and said that he loved how I played at Eventide. This compliment made my day. I tend to assume that I will never be pointed out as being naturally talented or the perfect violinist, but to hear that my job was done well was motivating and rewarding.
I look forward to being able to continue to see where my violin and I will go in the future. I don’t think I can let it go for college, and this surprised me. I really like playing my violin, and I am excited to see what opportunities I can take advantage of in the future.
Eura C. ’20 - Flute
Flute Concerto by Jacques Ibert
I am currently playing the Flute Concerto by Jacques Ibert. This piece is considered one of the most difficult pieces in flute repertoire, so the challenge drew me to it. While learning this piece, I had to learn new techniques such as flutter tonguing, which requires the player to roll their r's while playing. Because I can't roll my r's, I had to learn to vibrate my uvula to get the same effect. While the first and third movements are fast-paced and dramatic, the second movement is somber and serene. The second movement was actually written first as a separate piece by Ibert in honor of his dead father.
This year, I grew as a soloist by developing more sophisticated musical interpretation. Though it is harder to be expressive in fast and technical passages than in slower and more lyrical passages, playing the Ibert forced me to make my playing more nuanced. In regards to ensemble work, I had the responsibility of bringing my section together as principal flutist after the Empire State Youth Orchestra went virtual. Through this experience, I learned how to show leadership even through uncertain times and unusual circumstances.
My biggest challenge this year was managing practice time as a first semester senior but luckily, most of my big competitions were after my college results came out so I was able to dedicate more time for practice starting in December When creating my art portfolio for college, I had to listen to all of the recordings that I ever made since the 8th grade. Though it was a painstaking process, it made me appreciate my mentors and all the people who supported my musical journey as I witnessed my growth throughout the years. I would like to give a special thanks to Ai Goldsmith, Linda McClusky, Yair Samet, Yvonne Hansbrough, and my family. I look forward to continuing my musical journey in college and auditioning for my college orchestra!
NOTE: You may also hear Eura playing Francois Borne's Carmen Fantasy
on WMHT here: Part 1
| Part 2
(links open in YouTube).
Joyce F. ’20 - Piano
Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 by Frederic Chopin
I will be performing Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 by Frederic Chopin. I played the scherzo in preparation for last year and this year's Chopin Piano Competition in the Capital District. I was especially attracted to the contrasts between different sections of the piece. There are many challenges in playing it. Mentally, I need to fully invest my emotions into each performance to embody the intensity of the piece. The contrast between different sections, as well as the overall length, made playing the scherzo a physically demanding task. When playing this piece, I listen for the top voice (the melody) and the fluctuations in dynamics. It would also be good to pay attention to the repeated sections because there are subtle differences, whether in dynamics or notes, in each repetition.
It has been two years since I started learning this piece. The competitions served as “deadlines” that prompted me to practice and improve. Through these two years, I was able to progress from being able to play the piece mechanically to bringing more nuance into my interpretation. I discover more about the piece the longer I stay with it. I think time is crucial when it comes to understanding and performing music.
For me, the biggest success this year was winning the piano competition. On the other hand, I struggled to balance academics and pursuing music during the fall because of college applications. Currently, I am facing the challenge of not being able to practice because of COVID-19.
As I had more opportunities to play in front of an audience, I grew more confident in myself and got better at handling nerves when performing. There were also more chances for me to hear others’ performances. Through the process of watching and listening, I discovered qualities that I could work on to become a better artist.
I was surprised by how much music means to me. As aforementioned, I was not able to play the piano once school moved online since I did not have a piano at home. Day by day, I wanted to play pieces on the piano—I even missed the pieces that I thought I was tired of practicing.
I look forward to expanding my musical studies in college. I want to try new things, such as playing in an orchestra, in duets, and accompanying other instruments.
Dohyun P. ’20 - Flute
"Poem" by Charles Tomlinson Griffes
I will play "Poem" by Charles Tomlinson Griffes. As soon as I heard the first part of this piece, I was drawn to it. The piece as a whole embraces a quite subtle tone, while at the same time being capricious. I would say the wide range of octaves accompanied by a series of short notes in succession was the challenge of this piece, but those ornate parts do augment the changing tone of the piece―which is what you should listen for!
This piece may feel quite long. Just close your eyes and feel how the piece goes back to its beginning in the end―you will see how attractive this piece is!
To be calm in front of the audience has been my goal as a musician for years. This year, I challenged myself to take a step forward and face this goal by continuing to rehearse in front of my family and friends. When playing Flute Concerto No.2 in D Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the beginning of the year, I could feel myself focusing more on the vibrant energy of the piece than my own agitation. This is the kind of success I want to have by never ceasing to challenge myself.
When playing with other musicians in the orchestra or with Ms. Musial, listening is so crucial. Learning the significance of listening to each other, I grew as an artist at Emma. I remember when preparing for the Doppler: Fantasie Pastorale Hongroise performance, I dedicated a good amount of time to be extra aware of the piano part, with Ms. McClusky and Ms. Musial's help, since the piece was quite complicated. Looking back on moments like those, I would say to listen as a musician is one of the things I developed to do at Emma and will continue to after Emma.
Listening to Bianca Y.’s production during our Emma Artist meeting was a great artistic surprise! She shared her self-produced music during our regular Emma Artist meetings, and that experience inspired me to study chords and further transcribe some of my favorite songs.
I look forward to new challenges I will face as an artist. I will definitely continue to play the flute in college, and I plan to explore more by taking music classes at the music school there.
Leave a Note of Encouragement!