Young Siskiyou Violin stars go solo

More than 50 young members of the Siskiyou Violins will demonstrate their musical chops in solo performances this weekend in Ashland.

The annual solo marathon is set to begin at noon Sunday, June 6, at the Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 E. Main St., Ashland.

The nonprofit youth ensemble, led by Faina Podolnaya, the group's founder and artistic director, comprises students ages 3 to 20 who study under Podolnaya, Heidi Strahm and Ashley Hoe.

Both ensemble and solo performances are essential skills to a violinist, Podolnaya says. Ensemble playing encourages teamwork and makes a student realize that everyone is equally important, she notes.

"It has a demand for synchronized bowings, dynamics, rhythm and pitch as we try to strive for the highest levels of achievement," she says.

However, solo music also is an integral part of the violin students' training as they learn to play by memory and are unable to hide physically or musically behind other players, says Podolnaya.

At the concert, students will perform a composition of their and their teachers' choosing, ranging from one to 10 minutes, depending on the skill level of the student. Several violin genres will be represented, including romantic, classical, folk, fiddle, Klezmer, contemporary and Baroque.

"If people love music, they will be able to hear any kind of music they like," says Podolnaya. "If they like to hear a fiddle, they will hear a fiddle. If they like classical music, they will hear classical music."

North Medford High School student Aaron Klein, 15, will perform the third movement of Bach's Sonata No. 2. His sister Sarah, 13, also is a member of the ensemble. Their mother, Patty Klein, says through Podolnaya's tutelage and the Siskiyou Violins her children have not only been able to grow their skills on the violin, but also learned how to perform.

"When they perform a piece solo they can express the piece how they feel," says Patty Klein. "Also, the solo does what the playing in a group can't: when you play with group there's a certain amount of following along, but when you're playing solo you're responsible for every sound and emotion that comes through the violin."

In 2005, the Siskiyou Violins played at Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2008, the group performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In 2009, violinists were selected to perform at the annual national conference of the American String Teachers Association in Santa Clara, Calif. Next year, the Siskiyou Violins hopes to perform at the World Projects Festivals in Budapest, Hungary.

Admission to the Ashland concert is free. However, guests are encouraged to bring a contribution of canned or packaged nonperishable food to be donated to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. For more information, call 541-301-8762.

Share This Story