Music and Dance Students Share Insights Before End-of-Semester Performances

Clarinetist Andrew Chang, dancer Olivia Jacobus, and bassoonist Elena Mateo Sáez will wrap up their semesters with performances in December.

As the semester comes to a close, students from around the school are busy preparing for juries, exams, and recitals. We caught up with a few to hear what they’ve learned so far this year, and what they will be performing in December.

Andrew Chang, Clarinet

Colburn Youth Orchestra, December 9

This semester, we will be playing the first movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Ma mère l’Oye by Ravel, and Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34 by Rimsky-Korsakov.

From my experience in the Colburn Youth Orchestra, I’ve learned a lot about how to play with others and the importance of listening to others when playing in an orchestra. It’s different than playing solo because in an orchestra, it’s important to match the way you play the music with not only your own section, but also with the rest of the orchestra. I’ve also learned the importance of listening to make sure my part lines up with the orchestra and the way I play the music is aligned with everyone else.

I’m looking forward to just having fun while I play the music during the performance. It’s been a great experience getting to play music with the other musicians in the orchestra and we’ve worked hard to practice and rehearse the music. I’m hoping that the time that’s been invested into rehearsals will be reflected by a great performance.

Olivia Jacobus, Dance Academy

Winter Snapshot, December 14

We have learned many fun and challenging variations this past semester that we very well might perform. This is exciting for me, because I get a second chance to improve and continue to work on the things in the variations that don’t feel as solid. One of the best feelings is when you finally feel, and see, the improvement on a tricky step, which these variations are full of!

I have learned so many things during my time at the Dance Academy. Out of all the things I have learned, the most important one is the value of hard work. With the help of Jenifer Ringer, I have come to understand that the places you go and the things you do all come from your hard work. No one else is going to get you where you want to go; only you have that power. As I explore this idea more, I have noticed I feel more confident in myself and I look forward to where my hard work will take me.

For this performance, I am looking forward to seeing the progress I have made from last year’s Winter Snapshot. To be able to perform almost exactly a year apart and feel in myself how I have grown as a dancer, and even as a person, is very special.  Regardless of the role that I get, the opportunity to share my love for dance with my family and friends is my favorite part.

I am not particularly nervous, but there are always little butterflies before you go on at any show. To prepare, I am working to make my performance as technically clean and crisp as possible. Of course, the reason I dance is to share my joy and express myself while connecting to the music and with the audience with the hope that they might be moved in some small way that makes a difference for them.

Elena Mateo Sáez, Bassoon

Music Academy Chamber Music Recital, December 15

I have the opportunity to perform in a trio ensemble comprised of Yejin Anh, clarinet, Ann Kuo, flute, and myself, bassoon. It was difficult to find pieces given the lack repertoire composed for this instrumentation, but despite this, we found a way to work around the problem. For example, we took string trios and transposed the viola part for clarinet. Currently we are working on two pieces. The first is Beethoven’s String Trio No. 1 in E-flat Major, and the second is Impromptu by Libby Larsen.

I feel so lucky to be part of this ensemble. This is our second year together as a group. Our coach is Mr. Beene, who is also my bassoon teacher. Being part of this ensemble has made me learned a lot, not only from the coachings, but also from the group itself and my mates. One thing I remember from one of my first coachings is how important it is to listen to everyone else in the group, since it will give you the answers to many of your questions. When people listen to others, they realize how to shape the musical line, and most importantly, the meaning of it. This year, in particular, we worked on a string trio arranged for a bassoon, clarinet, and flute trio, so I could experience how a cellist feels. At first, it was a complicated to understand what the right way to play it was, because the cello articulations are different from the bassoon, since the cello has a bow and the bassoon doesn’t.

The thing I most look forward to about any performance is the opportunity to express my feelings about the music, because in my opinion, the best performances are not just about playing correctly, but also expressing what the music has to say. Every piece of music has a mood and a story behind it and when we are going to perform, we should try to show the different type of character it transmits.

Find out more about student recitals and concerts coming up in December.