Bénédicte Plays Barber

Playing a concerto is very different than my regular role as concertmaster of the orchestra. For one, the preparation is different because I have to memorize the piece. Though not a requirement, the memorization process gives me a sense of freedom of expression that I find more difficult to achieve when reading music from a page. When you know a piece by memory, you can close your eyes and truly be in the moment, which means a more spontaneous and enjoyable performance!

Also, as a soloist, I am allowed to wear anything I want to, instead of the rigid dress code of the orchestral “all black”. So naturally, I love going shopping for the perfect gown before such an event. Whether I find what I am looking for in my already very well stocked closet or splurge on a new gown, knowing what I will wear brings me peace of mind and confidence, so I try to have that sorted out a bit in advance. For instance, I already know what I will wear for Barber, but you’ll have to wait and see!

The Barber Violin Concerto is a real story telling piece of music. The first movement reminds me of the feeling of love at first sight – it will leave you swooning. In the second movement, the love story evolves from the idea of love to a true dialogue between two characters, which Barber portrays as the 1st oboe and solo violin. I am really looking forward to playing that with our Principal Oboe Jim Mason, whose incredible musical abilities will blow us all away. Finally, the last movement is a ‘moto perpetuo’, which essentially means ‘hold on to your seats because once it starts it doesn’t stop until the end!’, and is the perfect whirlwind ending to this story.

I can’t wait to take the stage accompanied by my colleagues and I hope that you will join us!