violin

Chamber Music of Orange County

I was at a violin shop one day to get my violin fixed. There was a wall of all kinds of postings for private lessons for all sorts of instruments. I decided to take a card from a married couple named Kevin Kwan Loucks and Iryna Krechkovsky who taught piano and violin. I never followed through to call them for private lessons but after several months, I somehow bumped into them online. I found out that they were performing in Irvine as head organizers of the Chamber Music of Orange County! So I had to attend their performance knowing that they’re a big deal.

At the Irvine Barclay Theater, the Chamber Music of Orange County performed masterpieces by Brahms, Dvorak, Mozart, & Schumann. Students as young as middle school to adults performed various pieces that were thoroughly entertaining.

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The show started with a great opening piece by Johannes Brahms called Sonatensatz. There was a lot of energy throughout this whole piece. I really enjoyed it when the musicians would repeat the deep bass parts together. It wasn’t too dark of a song where it felt haunted. I experienced more of an enlightening emotion during this performance. I felt as if someone was going through some kind of struggle and they had to push through it. It sounded like there were some repeats or similar melodies or rhythms in the music. The similar repeated parts made me think that whoever was going through struggles went through emotions that went up and down where they wanted to give up or persevere. The way the piece ended sounded like the person was able to overcome their battle.

Another classical piece that was performed was a Piano Quartet-First movement in G minor by Mozart. The emotion of the music seemed pretty consistent where it felt mysterious but exciting. During the mysterious parts, I felt as if it was a gloomy moment where an argument was taking place between a mother and her daughter. During the heavy bass parts, it sounded like the mother was mainly lecturing her daughter. When there were some light joyful moments mainly coming from the piano, it seemed as if the mother and daughter were coming into some kind of mutual agreement. The end sounded as if the mother won the argument though.

I could go on and on with all of their pieces but that may just bore you. Those were a few of the pieces that stood out to me the most. They were all breathtaking and really brought me into a different world of emotions. Listening to these pieces again on YouTube makes me excited to watch them perform again.

LA Part One: USC Concerto Night

I’m taking a piano class at a community college and my piano instructor invited the class to her performance with the USC Thornton Symphony at the Bovard Auditorium. I was very much impressed by every single piece of music that was performed. First, Joseph Morris, a clarinetist performed Neilsen’s Clarinet Concerto flawlessly. Oh man. I’ve never seen a clarinetist perform like Morris. His musicality was so controlled yet so freely played beautifully. As he performed, you were able to tell he was very much in sync with the music. If you ever have the opportunity to see Morris perform this song or to listen to this song live at a concert, I highly recommend you to take advantage of it. His performance was one where you had to be there experience the difficulty of the piece he played.

Frederich-Olivier Rosselet, a cellist, performed Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto. Now this piece brought out all kinds of emotions from me and my friends. There was darkness, confusion, terror, and loneliness from this piece. If you closed your eyes and listened to this song, it almost felt like you were hiding from someone who was chasing you or you were trying to run away and somehow ended up getting lost in a pitch black room or a forest at night. You pace back and forth not knowing what to do because all your thoughts are scattered as you’re by yourself in the middle of nowhere.

Playing an open string so gently seemed almost harmless but in this piece, it still carried a bold sense of emotion. Whether you open or close your eyes during a live performance of this piece, I am sure that you will be carried away by your emotions. Even the musician, Rosselet, was so lost in the music because the piece had a heavy character to it that required great technical skills to execute almost effortlessly and beautifully.
Frederich-Olivier Rosselet

The final performance was my piano instructor, Fang-Fang Shi Inouye. From the beginning, you were able to hear easily that the music was composed by Beethoven. Inouye gracefully played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with great flow of emotion. I was in awe of how she moved across the keyboard effortlessly and so quickly. Though I saw with my own eyes that she was hitting every note, I still could not believe the intensity of her technical skills. Her performance was a great way to end the show as it had an enlightening experience to it.

This concert certainly inspired me to continue playing music as it is an art that challenges the mind and imagination in so many levels. I hope to attend another Conceto Night performed by USC or different symphony sometime soon. It’s really amazing how music can really paint emotions to your ears.
Fang-Fang Shi Inouye

Back into Music

Ever since the beginning of this new year, I’ve been wanting to find a hobby to really hone down on. I wasn’t too excited about learning something completely new so I decided to get back into music. Music was something I was forced to learn but an art that grew to be a desire. There were many moments of love and hate between me and music. There was hatred because it was first forced upon and that it took up my free time to play as a kid. Yet there was love for it because there was beauty to its sound and it took me to a different world of emotions and imagination.

When it comes down to it, I do not regret learning the piano or violin. I regret not practicing enough or valuing it enough until it was out of my possession. I had to lose it through time to really understand the value of music. After a long separation from music, I took initiative to join a community college orchestra and take a piano class! Yay, me!

Have you ever heard of that saying where you clean up your house before the cleaning lady comes? You do that only because you don’t want the cleaning lady to think you’re that messy. Familiar with that? Well that’s how I felt but instead with music. I felt that I had to practice before school even started so that I wouldn’t look too foolish in class.

I practiced and practiced and it was fun. Fingers were hurting a little due to lack of callous but my muscle memory was still there. I was playing through my old music and oh man, it was hard! I just don’t remember how I was able to play such challenging music before. Trying to play my old music was like looking at a math problem that you have no idea how to solve. You sit there. Stare at the paper for awhile. Complain to yourself for a little bit because of the difficulty. Continue to stare at it.Then you look at your notes and take baby steps. With patience, somehow you work your way through. Then wah-lah, problem solved.

After much practice, I was quite excited to go back to school and play some good music. On the first day of my orchestra class, I saw an open seat in the back where majority of the violins were and sat there.As I settled down, one of the two music conductors came up to me and asked why I was sitting at the seat I chose. I simply told him how I found an open seat and just sat there. He was encouraging me to sit elsewhere in other words sit where the 1st Violin Section is. Once I realized what he was talking about, I was so surprised at how I forgot the seating arrangement was like in an orchestra.

For those of you who don’t know about the seating arrangement in an orchestra, there are 5 sections. There’s the first violins section which is the group that plays the melody for the most part in music. Then there’s second violins that supports the melody. There’s the violas, cellos, and finally the basses. Though the conductor was encouraging me to sit in first violin, I wasn’t ready to challenge myself to sight read fresh music. So I ended up just sitting in the second violins section.

The conductor asked how long it had been since I last played the violin. I told him five years. In actuality, it’s been seven years! Seven! For the longest time, I was doing the math wrong in my head. That just shows you how time flies by and how you just easily lose track of time.

First rehearsal was hard but definitely fun. No doubt was I glad to be there and challenge myself with something new! Kind of new. I was inspired to see such talented musicians in that room that night.

I hope this post encourages you to try something new or get back to an old hobby of yours!