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Get to know Miho

Posted by:  Kimmel Center on January 17, 2014

Join us for a very special concerto program which highlights the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ at the Kimmel Center (the largest mechanical-action concert hall organ in the US!) in all its glory AND features the Chamber Orchestra’s own Concertmaster Miho Saegusa! THIS SUNDAY, 2:30PM in Verizon Hall. Learn more and get tickets!

Get to know Miho! Check out her guest blog post below and see what she’s got to say about her life, preparing for a performance, and the opportunity to participate the debut of Maestro Brossé’s work Black, White, and In Between:

During the past two years I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know my wonderful colleagues in the Chamber Orchestra. Together we’ve performed favorites like Beethoven’s Seventh and Ninth Symphonies, and explored more unfamiliar repertoire like the Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto and Samuel Barber’s Op. 1 Serenade.  We’ve also chatted about where to get great coffee in Philly, where I might run and find lipstick before a concert (because I left mine back in New York), and if the 49ers and Broncos may wind up in the Super Bowl this year. (Still possible!!!!!!)  Memorable performances for me are about the people you get to play with, so this weekend will be a very special collaboration.  I am beyond thrilled to perform Maestro Brossé’s work Black, White, and In Betweenwith this orchestra, and in a beautiful hall.  

It’s always a fun and eye-opening experience when you work with living composers.  The preparation that I go through before the first rehearsal isn’t different from when I learn any other solo, chamber music, or orchestral piece.  I like to think about the characters and colors I can bring out in the music, or the direction of phrases.  I also try to learn the score so that you know what is going on in the rest of the orchestra in addition to your own part.  The rehearsal process is like a workshop where you have the chance to ask a lot of questions: what they thought about when they were writing this piece, what kinds of stories they want to tell.  Even if the piece has been performed and recorded before, like in the case of Black, White, and In Between, each performer and each group will have different interpretations.  This is why working with living composers is so interesting.  They may hear how you play and think, “Hmm, I’ve never heard it this way before but it’s intriguing.  Let’s keep going like that.”  Or, it may go something like, “Well, I was imagining a slightly different mood there, could we try…”

I am excited about sharing Black and White with our audience, because to me it is like diving into a human mind.  In the first page of the score, Dirk shares some of his thoughts about the piece. I’ve tried to translate a little excerpt of it, from the original French:

“Black, White, and In Between tells the story of a passionate man, constantly in search of the truth.  But where is the truth?  Is it truth?  And if it exists, who would know: science, philosophy, art, religion? Even if one assumes that religion holds the truth, which religion?  Apparently the “truth” does not exist, since it is different for every human being.  The truth may be the sum of all human knowledge…  Truth is relative and constantly changing.  Often it is where the water turns into steam, somewhere “In Between,” on the line separating the ying and the yang, dusk, between “Black and White”…

A pensive mind, indeed.  What is cool is that the music depicts this passionate thinking man, but I sense that there are many sides of him.  He is ruminating, sometimes towards obsession and despair.  Other times he is reminiscing, perhaps about something sweet.  There are “a-ha!” moments, too.  When he becomes a little less lost in thought, the music has a invigorating quality, as if the mental exercise left him in need of some physical exercise!  The work is not long, but it really covers a wide range of emotions and technically I get to explore the sounds of the violin from the lowest notes to very high up on the E-string! 

I hope you can come hear us play on Sunday!

This show is part of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ Series, and is co-presented by The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. 

Organ performances are made possible through a donation by the Fred J. Cooper Restoration Fund as recommended by Frederick R. Haas and Daniel K. Meyer.

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