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Karen Allendoerfer

Belmont Summer Music Festival

August 14, 2011 at 3:40 AM

Summer has been flying by, and I'm sorry to see it go so quickly. But, before it's over, it's time for some Dvorak. This weekend I have been playing with the Belmont Summer Music Festival, which is now in it's 2nd year and is the brainchild of a local student who grew up in Belmont and is now studying conducting at Yale, Nathaniel Meyer.

Interview with Nathaniel Meyer, conductor of the Belmont Community Orchestra & Sebastian Baverstam, cello soloist for the upcoming Dvorak concert on Aug. 13 & 14, 2011 at the Beech Street Center. (From the Belmont Media Center)

The orchestra consists mostly of other college students who are connected to Nathaniel and local music schools and conservatories, but he needed a few more violins so he got my name from a brass player in the Arlington Philharmonic. I recommended a couple more adults and there are now several of us over age 25 scattered in a few different sections.

We are playing an all-Dvorak program, the Symphony no. 8 and the Cello Concerto.  The cello soloist, Sebastian Bäverstam is amazing. I've never played with a cellist of that caliber before.

The whole orchestra is quite impressive. The experience reminds me of the all-county and all-state festivals I was in when I was a kid: very few rehearsals (3 in this case) followed by a concert (2 in this case, today and tomorrow). This is how pro's do it, isn't it? It's a bit overwhelming for an amateur like me. I've never played either piece before (although I know the symphony to listen to it), and if we played this in Arlington, I would have 6-8 weeks of rehearsal and practice time, and some lessons on the hard parts. Now I've had 3 days, by myself, starting from scratch! The 2nd violin part is plenty of challenge under those circumstances. I'm a bit out of my league, but it is a great privilege to be able to play with these outstanding young musicians, in a venue only a 5-minute walk from my home in Belmont. It's also getting me back into the swing of orchestra music, before my own orchestra season starts in September.

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