University of Wisconsin-Superior
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News and Events Details
By Elizabeth Reichert
University Relations student writer
Dr. Erin Aldridge will take on the roles of both concertmaster and soloist in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra's "Dazzling Endings" concert on Oct. 1 when she is featured performing Beethoven's only violin concerto.
The Beethoven concerto is approximately 42 minutes long, making it one of the longest violin concertos.
"It's a concerto that really pushes the boundaries of musicality and musicianship," said Aldridge, associate professor of music and orchestra director at UW-Superior. "You really have to explore and find how you want to express yourself in the music, because there's so much to do with it."
Many steps in preparation
Aldridge employs multiple steps in her preparation, including exploring the music to find her expression. First, she learns the notes and solidifies them into her fingers. Then she works on the technical aspects of the music, and after that, the musical features, such as phrasing. She next listens to great violinists performing the same piece to assemble possibilities of ways she could perform the piece similarly but in her own flavor.
Her next steps involve others. She first learns the orchestra part, which sometimes involves looking at scores, but other times means asking Dr. Beth Gilbert, a colleague in UW-Superior's Department of Music, to play a scaled-down arrangement of the orchestra on the piano. Finally, she'll play the piece for colleagues and some students to gain practice performing in front of others.
A performance edge
Aldridge noted how the last step is significant to building confidence, which can be the first thing to go when nerves arrive. She said that the more performances she has under her belt, the more she can rely on them and the work she's done when concert time arrives.
"It gives you a better edge when you're performing," she said.
Even though she's excited for the opportunity to perform a solo, the experience can be more intimidating than her usual role as the orchestra's lead violinist.
"With a solo performance, you're kind of out there," she said. "There's no one who covers that part. That's a little scary."
Anxiety and excitement
Even though Aldridge feels some anxious anticipation, she believes she's been practicing enough and that she's ready for this concerto. Above all, she is excited.
"It's an honor, and it's a really fun thing to do," she said. "It's a chance for me to express my musical point of view."
Dr. Erin Aldridge will perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. October 1 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Student tickets are $10 per performance.
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