One of the highlights of my last semester at the University of Texas was performing the Scherzo from Dvorak’s Piano Quintet with some of my closest friends. I’ve attached a video of the performance below, which I think captures the excitement we all felt to perform this incredible work together. I want to explore why this was such a positive performance experience, and consider the way I can encourage similar joyful performances with my studio.
Over the course of the semester, my chamber music ensemble worked on the first, second, and third movements of the quartet with Will Fedkenheuer, second violinist of the Miro quartet. Though David, our pianist, was new to us this semester, the string quartet (Owen, Elizabeth, Yukai, and me) had worked together for four consecutive semesters. Having already worked together on matters of group sound, tuning, and style, we dove into the music with Will not from a technical angle, but from a relational one. Our ensemble used the need to work on the music as a way to practice working as a group. Unlike our time with any other coach, with Will we dedicated energy in our coachings (and then rehearsals) to understanding each other’s perspectives, feelings, and goals.