Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The VSO asks Soovin Kim and Nancy Dimock five questions

Noted American violinist Soovin Kim will be the guest soloist for the forthcoming Vermont Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday, March 8 at the Flynn Center in Burlington at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, March 9 at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland at 4 p.m. Join us beginning at 6:30 p.m. on March 8 for desserts generously provided by Mirabelle's in downtown Burlington. Renew your Masterworks subscription that evening or become a new subscriber and enjoy a complimentary beverage on the VSO. Following this reception, join host David Ludwig, our New Music Advisor and composer-in-residence, and guests Jaime Laredo and Alan Jordan for a "Town Meeting," where information regarding the exciting 2008/2009 season will be announced. All ticket holders for the March 8 concert are invited to attend this free event and are encouraged to participate in the question-and-answer session to follow. The Rutland Sunday Matinee Series concert is preceded by Musically Speaking at 3 p.m., our preconcert talk featuring the guest artists providing entertaining insight into the composers, the music, and themselves. Vermont Youth Orchestra alumnus Soovin Kim returns to Vermont to team with his former teacher, VSO Music Director Jaime Laredo, who will conduct the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor by Jean Sibelius. This exciting concert also includes Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish” by Robert Schumann and Radiance by VSO composer-in-residence David Ludwig. VSO Principal Oboist Nancy Dimock will perform as oboe soloist. Stick around after the concert on Saturday night for a signing with Soovin Kim. His CD, Paganini: 24 Caprices, will be on sale in the Flynn Center lobby. Subscribers to the Sunday Matinee Series in Rutland are invited to a recpetion at Three Tomatoes in downtown Rutland following the concert where they can rub elbows with Jaime, Soovin, and others.

Soovin Kim is an exciting young player who, building on the early successes of his prize-winning years, has emerged as a mature artist, equally gifted in concerto, recital, and chamber music repertoire. Born in the United States (and raised across Lake Champlain in northern New York) into a family of non-musicians, he was given a violin at age 4, at his request. At 15, he was accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Music, and ultimately moved to the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Jaime Laredo and received his Bachelor of Music Degree in 1999. He has worked with some of the finest pedagogues and artist-teachers in the world blending qualities from various violin traditions. His musical activities encompass a wide range of repertoire from Bach to the works of living composers. Soovin Kim’s fifth recording is about to be released. Today he plays on a 1709 Stradivarius, the “ex-Kemper.” We asked Soovin five questions about his life as a professional musician.

VSO: As a professional musician, you probably don't find yourself at home too often. What item(s) can't you leave home without (except for your instrument and concert dress, naturally!).
SK: Unfortunately, my first responses are: laptop, cellphone, and organizer. Every once in a while this also includes an iPod, microphone, headphones for Studying music or listening to edits of recordings. And of course all of the necessary chargers. I guess all of these were designed to improve our quality of life and the laptop is certainly essential for checking weather.com each morning before getting dressed! I love that. But I find it amazing how these gadgets have become essential to living a dynamic life with the rest of the world. A day or so without email makes the next day of emailing that much worse. Maybe I should just close my account...

I am always carrying a pile of music around with me, the music I am playing on that trip as well as pieces I am playing in the future and then occasionally new repertoire that I'm just interested in learning for my own sake. A very fancy seat pad and neck pillow for my "aging" body on long plane trips also always go in the suitcase. Sunglasses, passport, vitamins, Sonicare, hair product, umbrella...are you sure you want to hear more?! :-)

VSO: Do you have a pre-performance ritual? How do you deal with nerves?
SK: I generally like to be at the hall and stay put so I can prepare quietly and slowly for the concert - maybe 90 minutes would be ideal. But often this can't happen for one reason or another and so we all have to make do with whatever time we have. Getting "warmed" up emotionally is a challenge for every performer and I spend that time trying to get into that state of being. Visualizing the hall, the people, and most importantly the music in general helps this focusing process.

I practice slowly to try to gather myself and then try to "perform" the music as the concert time approaches. I never eat a full meal backstage beforehand or I would fall asleep. Coffee is always appreciated!!

I am philosophical about nervousness. If it is truly nervousness it is usually because I am not prepared enough and in that case I deserve to be horribly anxious! If that's not the case then that flutter is usually an added excitement at sharing the great music with the other musicians on stage and the audience. This excitement will only enhance the performance with that magic that distinguishes concerts from practicing.

VSO: If you could be Maestro for a day, what would you program?
SK: First of all, I would not be Maestro!! I will never subject myself to that! And if I were Maestro only for one day then I had better program something easy because that's not much practice! But I know what you are asking. I can't put an actual program together right now but the first pieces I would be interested in doing would be Beethoven 5th Symphony, Brahms 3rd and 4th Symphonies, Tchaikovsky String Serenade, and Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. What an impossible question!

VSO: If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing?
SK: Maybe wishing I were a musician?! Unless I were a Major League Baseball general manager. Or a ridiculously talented writer.

VSO: What's your favorite aspect of Vermont?
SK: It is home for me. I grew up in Plattsburgh, NY but for me that was always an extension of Vermont. So many of the people closest to me either live in Vermont, are from Vermont, or spend a lot of time in Vermont. It never ceases to amaze me how many remarkable people there are in such a small area!

Nancy Dimock regularly performs throughout the northeast. She has served as principal oboist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, has performed on the Prairie Home Companion radio show and PBS Great Performances television broadcast, and on numerous recordings. We asked her five questions about her life as a professional musician.

VSO: As a professional musician, you probably don't find yourself at home too often. What item(s) must be with you at all times? (except for your instrument and concert dress, naturally!)
ND: Toothbrush, reeds, reed tools and tuner are necessities for my instrument, and I usually have a bottle of water and an energy bar with me as well.

VSO: Do you have a pre-performance ritual? How do you deal with nerves?
ND: I try to spend some quiet time before I play studying my part/the score. That helps calm me down, usually. If I'm really nervous, I try to remind myself that what I'm doing is fun and I need to make a connection with the music and the audience, so letting nerves get in the way of that would be fruitless.

VSO: If you could be Maestro for a day, what would you program?
ND: Assuming that I would get to perform in the orchestra and not have to conduct (that would NOT be good!), I'd love to play Ibert's Escales (Ports of Call), Stravinsky's Symphony in C, and the Mozart Gran Partita.

VSO: If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing?
ND: Something in science, though at this point, I have no idea what. Probably something in the chemistry/biology field.

VSO: What's your favorite aspect of Vermont?
ND: The state itself is lovely, of course, and it's wonderful to get to see it during all four seasons, but what keeps me playing with the VSO is the people-- both the people in the orchestra and the organization, and the people I've met because of my work with the VSO.