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Kelsey Z.

trip down memory lane

July 4, 2006 at 8:54 PM

As I sit here and type this I'm taking a little trip down memory lane, so bear with me. I remember my first time going and playing in an orchestra. I was petrified. I didn't have my music ahead of time and I was one of the youngest people there. The enviroment seemed so intimidating at first then someone who has become a dear friend since that first day almost 6 years ago, initiated a conversation with me and helped me find my place to sit and gave me an envelope with my name on it and my music for the year in it. I ended up sharing stands with another newbie who was about a year older than I and we were both in the same kind of overwhelmed state (or so i perceived anyways). We both eagerly opened our envelopes of music, most of the titles I didn't recognize until all of a sudden..... "Nutcracker Suite" ....blared across and brought a big smile to my face! As we began to read through some of the music in this first rehearsal I realised that I was familiar with more of the music than I had originally thought. Khachaturian's Gayaneh Suite which contains that famous Sabre Dance movement turned out to be a really important piece to me. I had learned dances to the other mvts (not the Sabre dance) when I was in ballet! What began to excite me even more was that we were doing a Beethoven Symphony. Can you imagine my joy? I'm 12, I'm familiar with the famous No.5 and 9 and sitting in front of me is the completely unfamiliar No. 4 but who cares cause Beethoven wrote it and I get the play it! That day, after the rehearsal I got to go to favorite cd store in that city (it's about an 80 minute drive away from where I live) and I greedily picked up a recording of the Beethoven and Rossini works we were to learn. Then came the delight of hearing these pieces on the radio! And then finally, at Christmas time, we, the youth symphony of the okanagan got to join the pros in the Okanagan Symphony and play that Nutcracker Suite! Talk about a cool experience!

Now today, I've played the Bruch violin concerto orchestra part countless times, I've played the same Strauss Waltz known as Die Fleudermause and others too many times to count. Coolest of all, I've played almost ALL of the Beethoven Symphonies and that professional orchestra, well now I'm a member of it! But back to this trip down memory lane.... My first gig with the Okanagan Symphony was in January of 2004, I got a phone call on my way back from a rehearsal with the youth symphony asking if I could play because they were desperate for players (my youth symphony conductor is principal second in the OSO). I agreed, I got my music Monday evening, rehearsals started on Wednesday morning. What did I have to learn? Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 and Greig Symphonic Dances. Hmmm.... so how is this a trip down memory lane you say? Well, first off...I got singled out in that first rehearsal which scared the living daylights out of me but it ended up being a good thing (I got a compliment and was supposed to be used as a positive example for the 60 other players....hmm..) those Greig Symphonic Dances I had never heard before then and same with Tchaik with the exception of the last mvt which terrified me already. I practiced and obsessive amount and felt prepared and comfortable by time the concerts came around. As I type this, those same Grieg Symphonic Dances are playing on the radio.

So I guess in summation, the thing that is fascinating and exciting for me is almost everyday I can turn on the radio and hear some piece that I've played, be it solo, orchestral or chamber and that's exciting. It means I've got a large amount of repertoire under my belt and it's exciting to hear those pieces that I've played aired on the radio. I enjoy them more each time i hear them if I've played them because I have a better understanding and vision of the piece and it's more personal. I love it.

I can't imagine life without music and I can't wait for the symphony concert season to begin again. I've so missed playing lots of orchestral repertoire this past year so September is going to be a pure joy!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 4, 2006 at 10:28 PM
I really like your trip down memory lane. I had similar experiences when I was in high school, and I still love playing orchestral music. It's so much fun to be right in it! I understand and appreciate the pieces I've played even more because I've seen them from the "inside." There have been some exceptions, though. Dona Diana (sp?) sounds like chattering chipmunks. One movement of Mahler's First Symphony has a rhythmic repeat of three notes over and over and over in the second violin part. I still like the rest of the symphony, though. It's exciting to hear that (sometimes) boring stuff you practice alone come alive when you're part of an orchestra. I wouldn't want to live without it.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on July 4, 2006 at 11:09 PM
Greetings,
Kelsey that is so cool. I know you are going to have a joyful life in music.
I was going to suggest you buy one of those CDs from SHAR that has the complete works of composers on. You can get all the major works of Beethoven on one disc and then print them out. I would pick out the tricky bits from Beethoven Brahms and Tchiak symphonies and use them as study material. With a litlte imagination they can be fantastic technique builders.
Cheers,
Buri
From Ben Clapton
Posted on July 5, 2006 at 12:24 AM
Hey Kelsey,
What an Amazing experience. I remember feeling the same way about the pieces I was doing when I was in the youth orchestra - sitting down to study these great works was a real buzz. I remember in my first year we did the Greig Piano Concerto - that is one awesome piece. I'm not in a regular orchestra this year (I'm in a chamber orchestra that has 3 seasons this year, with rehearsals one week before the concert), and I do miss the regular orchestral rehearsals, but there's always next year. I'm looking forward to getting back into it.
From Kelsey Z.
Posted on July 5, 2006 at 12:42 AM
Thanks you guys for all the comments! I have really missed playing in an orchestra this past year but school had to take priority. I am excited about getting back into it this fall though. The thing I love about playing in a professional orchestra is I get to learn several different programs and you are never stuck working on the same music for a really long time.
Ben, I have good memories of doing the Grieg concerto! It actually had a good second violin part!!!! Buri, I looked on shar for those cds you recommended but I guess i must be hanicapped as I was unable to locate them. I have a fair amount of the exceprts already thanks to assorted auditions I've done and I have a couple of the gingold orchestral excerpt volumes as well. Pauline, yes there are some of those piece that never get better....There's that famous andante, I think from Mozart's 21st piano concerto that gets a little monotonous as a second violinist.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on July 5, 2006 at 10:50 PM
Greetings,
because you have to look in the software section. Go figure...
Cheers,
Buri
From Kelsey Z.
Posted on July 8, 2006 at 2:18 AM
Ahha...thank you Buri!!!

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