Crystal Shi practices cello in anticipation for her upcoming solo. Photo by Annie Poole.
In April of their junior year, advanced music students audition for a highly esteemed opportunity: a concerto with orchestral backing in their senior year.
Although the performance takes place in senior year, soloists have to prepare months in advance for their audition the previous year. According to Vicki White-Miltun, director of the MISD Orchestra program, more than a year of work goes into each solo.
“They’ve worked really hard, for five or six years, getting to be a really fine player on their instrument,” Miltun said. “When they get ready to play the solo, they have to push even farther than they thought they could.”
Four concerts occur during the school year, each with senior soloists.
In October, Bridget Navarro performed “Bassoon Concerto in E Minor,” by Vivaldi; Minje Park performed the first movement of “Cello Concerto in B Minor,” by Dvořák.
For this year’s Winter concert, Hannah Kris and Chris Toda will be featured.
“There’s a lot you can do learning with method books, and doing scales and repeating basic exercises over and over again, but the truth is you’re doing those in order to play music in a compelling way,” Kris said.
On the trombone, she will be performing “Morceau Symphonique” by Guilmant.
“I think being able to tackle a solo is a way to take all the basic building books you’ve learned and to express them in this really wonderful and beautiful way,” Kris added. “You really can’t do that with method books.”
The February concert will feature soloists Jack Price, Crystal Shi and Aazaad Burn. Price will be playing “Ballade,” by Ewazen on the bass trombone; Shi will be performing “Silent Wolf,” by Dvořák on the cello; Burn will be playing “Concerto #3 in C Minor,” by Seitz on the viola.
“I’m probably more excited [than nervous], but maybe that’s just because it isn’t for a while,” Price said. “I think it’ll be really fun.”
“I felt really surprised, actually, because there was already a cello that they chose,” Shi said. “I really appreciate that I was chosen, and I’ve been working on this piece for a long time.”
“They have to more than know the music. It’s just a really different level of preparation,” Miltun said.
The Winter concert takes place Dec. 11, 7 p.m. in the PAC.
The February concert will take place Feb. 12. The Spring concert will feature Leo Zhang and Bobby Yee, and will occur on May 14.