The high school String and combined Symphony and Chamber Orchestras performed their annual benefit concert with guest artist Peter Vickery, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra violinist, on March 4.
Violin has been a part of Vickery’s life since he was young.
“I started violin when I was six years old and I continued all the way until now. I went to Indiana University to study violin and then after that I came here to Milwaukee to play with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,” Vickery said. “I have been very fortunate to be here with the Milwaukee Symphony. It is a really wonderful group and I’ve learned a lot playing with them and learning from the other members of the orchestra. It’s something that I continue to learn and figure out.”
Vickery played a concerto with each orchestra. Accompanied by String Orchestra, Vickery played “Praeludium and Allegro” by Fritz Kreisler.
“It was originally written for violin and piano. It is a very famous piece for violin, but I am playing a version transcribed for violin and string orchestra. It is very showy, and it shows lots of different technical and virtuosic aspects of the violin,” Vickery said.
Vickery played the third movement of “Concerto No. 3 in B minor” by Camille Saint-Saëns with Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.
“This piece has a different feel to it because it was originally written for violin and orchestra, so there is more colors within the orchestra, and there is more variety also in how [Saint-Saëns] uses the soloist to interact with the orchestra,” Vickery said.
This is the orchestra’s ninth annual concert with a professional soloist. Students thought that working with a professional musician enhanced their musical education.
“He is really good so we all aspire to be better,” said Izzy Berzsenyi, sophomore and violinist in String Orchestra.
Karen Frink, orchestra director, said that playing with Vickery has taught students how to play in an orchestra when accompanying a soloist.
“They learn how to play a concerto, which [when] playing in an orchestra, a concerto part is way different than playing a symphony. They have to learn how to accompany someone and they also get rehearsals and performances really up close with a professional player,” Frink said.
Getting to listen to a professional musician up close is a unique experience for orchestra students.
“I think it’s exciting for them to get to know the player a little bit. They also get to sit right here and have him play right here. It’s not like being in an audience and watching him on stage,” Frink said.
“It is a great orchestra program with really good players, and I’ve enjoyed working with them and trying to teach and show what it might be like to play music professionally, both in an orchestra and also as a soloist,” Vickery said.
Orchestra had been practicing for the benefit concert since January. In addition to the two pieces with Vickery, each orchestra played pieces alone. String Orchestra played “Point Lookout (A Fantasy on Civil War Songs)” by Brian Balmages, “Battalia” by Heinrich Biber, followed by Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “Light Cavalry Overture” by Franz Von Suppé.
by Madeline Wilson