Arts and Entertainment

Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra performs 'Dusk Till Dawn' at BPA

Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra Guest Conductor Julia Tai confers with Guest Violinist Sophia Stoyanovich before Wednesday’s rehearsal in preparation for this weekend
Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra Guest Conductor Julia Tai confers with Guest Violinist Sophia Stoyanovich before Wednesday’s rehearsal in preparation for this weekend's program 'Dusk Till Dawn,'at BPA. Tai is one of two candidates to become the next BSO conductor. Stoyanovich, a freshman at Bainbridge High School, will play “Violin Concerto in D” by Tchaikovsky.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

The symphony experience requires an enormous amount of practice.  The Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra has been hard at work since early January in preparation for this weekend’s program, “Dusk Till Dawn.”
This means, I’m afraid, they’re way ahead of you. Not to worry. The audience part is relatively easy: First, sit in a comfortable chair; then, leap to your feet bursting into applause. It will come in handy when the last note from 14-year-old Sophia Stoyanovich’s astounding violin hangs in the air, then floats gently to the floor like this week’s snowflakes.
The hairs on your arm, responding to the depth and richness of her performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D, will let you know you are witnessing a rare talent. Supported and encouraged by her hyper-talented family, Sophia is already a seasoned soloist. Her mother, Elizabeth Stoyanovich, is director of the Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestra, and her father Patrick is a composer and music teacher.
“We’re all excited,” Patrick said at Wednesday’s rehearsal, where he offered occasional assurances to his daughter.
“She works hard. This concerto is part of standard repertoire for anyone trained to be a professional,” he said.

The Bainbridge High School freshman will play Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E minor” with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in March.
“She is exceptional. Her playing is extremely mature,” said Thomas Monk, noted violinist for the Bainbridge orchestra. “She’s adept technically, but to create a rich sound this early is rare.”
Which is not to take away from the orchestra.
“Tchaikovsky is not one of the easier composers,” said BSO General Manager Dick Heine. “In some compositions, the orchestral part is just background, but not in this case. It’s difficult.”

Tai at the helm

Guest Director Julia Tai will help them rise to the occasion.

“This orchestra has played together a long time. We’re in a partnership. They are very easy to work with,” she said at Wednesday’s rehearsal.
The program features familiar pieces, “Night on Bald Mountain” by Mussorgsky, the evening romance of the “Violin Concerto in D by Tchaikovsky,” Debussy’s “Claire de Lune,” and Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.”
Tai, who you might recognize from her work directing Bainbridge Chorale’s “Messiah,” is one of two candidates to become the next BSO conductor.
Her life is music, growing up in a musical household, picking up the violin at four and a half. She added piano, then vocals as one of 30 students accepted for a prestigious performing arts school in her native Taiwan.
She studied at USC, and last year earned her doctorate in conducting from the University of Washington.
“Conducting is a mystery,” she said. “It’s not tangible, like scales or notes. This note is good, that key is wrong. Conductors use their body language to get a reaction from the orchestra.”
Tai’s “language” is graceful and precise and she evokes a lovely reaction from BSO, in full stride for the season.
You’ll want to get cracking, practicing that standing O. 

Rise to the occasion
The Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of guest director Julia Tai will perform the program “Dusk to Dawn” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27 at BPA.
A pre-concert chat 45 minutes ahead of each performance follows a Q&A format with BPA Executive Director Dominique Cantwell, Tai and guest violist Sophia Stoyanovich.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 842-8569.


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