As the 2019 Sarasota Music Festival draws to a close on Saturday, the four Fellows of this year’s oboe studio share their most treasured experiences from their time at the Festival. Read on to hear about their memorable Festival moments and how these talented young women plan to spend the rest of their summer.
Have you made any cool discoveries or encountered anything unexpected while you’ve been here in Sarasota?
Jillian Kouzel: Wandering around downtown, we found out there's so much good live music! I went to college for my undergraduate degree in Austin, so Sarasota actually feels like another live music capital. Everywhere you pass by, you can get jazz, R&B, folk, and of course karaoke. It's really alive here.
What’s your favorite composition that you’ve studied here at the Festival, and why?
Jillian Honn: I think my favorite was doing the Francaix Dixtuor. I felt very spoiled to have that opportunity to work with faculty and a lot of Fellows, too. And it was nice to do the piece as a whole, especially since it is not very often performed. Most people hadn't even heard of it! How well-received it was at the concert kind of renewed my hope for music. My takeaway was to go for it if you want to try something new because you never know—people may love it.
Julia Simpson: I had a cool opportunity to play Beethoven’s Octet in E-flat Major with Dr. Nancy Ambrose King, the oboe faculty artist for week two, and she also coached my ensemble with other Fellows. So I got to play with her, and then play for her, pretty much every day. I met her five years ago at the MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institute at the University of Michigan, so it was like a mini-reunion. It was just so wonderful to be with her.
What’s your most memorable moment from a Festival masterclass or concert?
Kate Wegener: Well, the first week I got to play in the orchestra for the Mozart oboe concerto. My teacher from Juilliard, Nathan Hughes, was playing the solo. I've worked with him on that piece so much, so to see him put what he’s told me into practice was a very cool experience.
Julia S. It didn't really pertain to any of us, but at one masterclass a 14 or 15-year-old oboist from the Sarasota area came with his teacher, who plays in the Sarasota Orchestra. I have been to many masterclasses; I've been that kid. But it was really cool to be there and see the other side. He was just so excited, asking questions, and it was wonderful to see that.
Jillian H. I think what's nice about this festival is that there are three different faculty members, a different perspective every week. The first week, I learned about a lot of fundamental things that I really wanted to work on. Then the second week, I learned how to be a little bit freer. And then, this last week, I’ve gotten to study with my teacher with whom I'm starting in the fall, Stephen Taylor. So the whole Festival has given me three different perspectives on things that can help me grow.
In the past few weeks, have you hit any breaking points—or breakthroughs?
Kate W. I've been trying to open up my playing musically. This past year, constantly playing and practicing in school, I worked a lot on technical aspects, very minuscule things. You sometimes lose track of the bigger picture. And I think when you have an opportunity like this to get through lots of repertoire, play with different people, and work with different teachers, it allows you to see more of that bigger picture and just get back into the music.
Jillian K. I feel like what we're doing is very important to the people around here, and that's really refreshing. I'm revitalized! I feel inspired by the people who came to our concerts and even our masterclasses because of their support and appreciation.