Interview with Elina Kalendarova – Violinist of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
What advice would you give to parents who are considering getting violin lessons for their children?
Considering lessons for your child?! Great idea! The important thing, in my opinion, would be adding some piano as an instrument as well (if you take other instrument). The reason is that the pitch and music grammar are much easier to comprehend on a keyboard, both visually and acoustically.
What is your philosophy of practicing violin? How much do you practice? Are there specific things you must do each time you a time to practice?
About philosophy of violin practice, for me it used to be: outpractice everybody else. Now, it is to get as much done as short time as possible. Currently, depending on what else is happening that particular day (rehearsal, concert, both or none) I practice between 2 and 4 hours a day.
I believe, Soviet music education didn’t teach orchestral playing. How much did it affect you?
I am grateful to have experienced orchestral playing since high school. Orchestra class was mandatory starting 8th grade in my specialized music school through the end of my Master degree program in Moscow State Conservatory. There was even a case in Moscow when a winner of a major international competition was suspended because he missed a few weeks of student orchestra rehearsals.
What quality do you most expect in other violinists in the orchestra?
Qualities that are expected in a section violin are obvious – to play in time, in tune, and blend well with the people around you.
Reflecting back, what is the most useful advice you ever received, as an orchestra musician?
Best advice I got as an orchestra musician was to overprepare difficult repertoire. Somebody once said that a best sight-reading is still a poor performance. Knowing your part well allows you to better concentrate on expression rather than just plowing through the notes.
How does a typical rehearsal day in Philadelphia Orchestra member look like? Any pre-performance rituals?
Typical rehearsal day: people try to allow anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes to warm up before our rehearsals, majority of which are in the mornings. I can’t think of any other rituals.
As the orchestra musician, what piece you have never performed, but would love to?
Never performed, but would love to: Scriabin Symphonies.