The Violin Channel recently caught up 24 year old American violinist Stephen Tavani – the newly appointed Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra.
STEPHEN TAVANI & JUHANI LAGERSPATZ | JANACEK VIOLIN SONATA | 2015 SIBELIUS INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN COMPETITION
How do you feel about your recent appointment as Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra?
“I couldn’t be more excited! It’s been my dream to be a Concertmaster, and I can’t wait to work with the wonderful musicians in this great orchestra!”
Tell us a little about yourself, your background and the experience you will bring to the leadership role?
“I’m from Northern Virginia, and I grew up in a big family of musicians (I’m third of six brothers; four of us are pursuing music professionally).
I did my undergraduate at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles studying with Robert Lipsett (as well as playing regularly for Arnold Steinhardt), and now I have been studying at Curtis for the past two and a half years, studying with Ida Kavafian, as well as Mr. Steinhardt this past year.
Both places were transformative for me, and I can’t say enough how much all my teachers helped and guided me. I was lucky enough throughout my entire development as a musician to be able to always have an opportunity to play concertmaster.
Since my days in youth orchestra (Youth Orchestras of Prince William), through my time in LA playing concertmaster of the Colburn Orchestra and the American Youth Symphony, summers playing concertmaster at the National Repertory Orchestra, the Youth Orchestras of the Americas, and the MasterWorks Festival, to my time at Curtis, where I’ve gotten to play concertmaster of the Curtis Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, as well as playing guest concertmaster with the Louisiana Philharmonic.
I still have a lot to learn, and I can’t wait to start learning from our Music Director Dirk Brossé and my fellow musicians in the orchestra.”
How do you see your role within the ensemble?
“The role of concertmaster is very important within an orchestra. As well as help make artistic decisions with bowings, fingerings, etc, I hope to be able to communicate well with the conductor and the rest of the orchestra, and be a leader by example.
It’s also important to communicate musically during performance, by cueing/eye contact with other section leaders and the conductor and to be flexible, similar to a chamber music setting.”
How will you go about preparing for the position?
“First of all, practicing the parts and knowing them inside and out, but also knowing the score and what’s going on in the other parts, to be aware of what else is going on in the ensemble. Also, I’m asking a lot of my mentors who I respect for advice.”