WEEKEND: Violinist to join Port Angeles Symphony for Saturday concerts

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Lift the bow, draw it across the strings, and you say things you cannot say any other way.

So believes Monique Mead, the guest soloist to offer Camille Saint-Saens' music in Port Angeles twice this weekend.

Saint-Saens' Concerto No. 3 in b for Violin and Orchestra, plus music from Sibelius, Sullivan, Liadov and Ravel, will fill the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center first at 10 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mead, a violinist who lives in Pittsburgh, Pa., and teaches at Carnegie-Mellon University, is making her third trip here for a Port Angeles Symphony event. And when she describes her feelings about playing, she doesn't hold back.

“It's a heart-to-heart connection, a direct transmission of emotion,” Mead said. “You can feel when the audience is with you.”

Mead hailed the Port Angeles Symphony and its conductor, Adam Stern, for their way with an audience, saying that Stern always has an intriguing musical combination up his sleeve.

“He knows how to program,” she said, “and how to create an experience for the audience.

“And nobody tells the anecdotes like he does,” added Mead, who has performed with Stern at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival.

As he does before each Port Angeles Symphony evening concert, Stern will give a short talk on the concert's music and composers at 6:40 p.m. Saturday.

And this time, with Ravel's “Mother Goose Suite” on the itinerary, Stern is likely to mention how that composer stayed in touch with his “inner child” for the entirety of his life.

Ravel “loved the unpretentiousness of children, both as companions and as musicians,” Stern writes in his concert program notes.

“He delighted in collecting children's playthings and knickknacks; little wind-up toys were a particular passion.”

Also on Saturday's program are Sir Arthur Sullivan's overture from “Iolanthe,” which Stern calls a medley of the operetta's “superb” melodies. Liadov's “Kikimora” symphonic poem and Sibelius' “The Bard,” a tone poem in which the harp is the most important instrument, are here too.

Mead, for her part, has been busy preparing the Saint-Saens concerto. In addition to her performing schedule, she is director of music entrepreneurship studies at Carnegie-Mellon, which means she teaches student musicians about marketing, stagecraft, public speaking and the business of music.

Born in Indiana but raised in Germany, Mead is an internationally known performer and teacher.

She traveled across Europe with conductor Leonard Bernstein on his final tour of the continent; he was 89 and she 20.

The late Maestro Bernstein “was the one who truly inspired me,” Mead said, “to take my career in the direction of building new audiences.”

Mead still goes to Germany six times a year to teach, perform and speak on classical music. She has made her primary home in the States for 10 years now, having come to Pittsburgh with her husband Andrés Cárdenes, concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

“I moved here for love,” she said.

Mead continues to travel for love of her music: She came to Port Angeles to perform with the symphony in April 2011 and to do a symphony benefit at Peninsula College in March 2012.

“The audiences there are incredibly friendly and warm,” she said. “That rapport is the most rewarding thing about performing.”

Tickets to Saturday's 10 a.m. Port Angeles Symphony dress rehearsal concert are $5 per person or $10 per family.

Then, for the 7:30 p.m. concert, reserved seats are $20 to $30 while general admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

Tickets will be available at the door of the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.

For those who want to buy in advance, outlets for general seating tickets include Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles; Sequim Village Glass, 761 Carlsborg Road; and The Good Book/Joyful Noise Music Center, 108 W. Washington St., Sequim.

For reserved seats in advance, phone the Port Angeles Symphony office at 360-457-5579 or visit www.PortAngelesSymphony.org.

Last modified: April 11. 2013 6:11PM
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