Sound of Charlotte Blog

Watch 'Backstory: Bernstein'

On March 10, 2015  Charlotte Symphony Director of Choruses and Assistant Conductor Scott Allen Jarrett and Temple Israel's Cantor Elias Roochvarg led a discussion on Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.  The Oratorio Singers of Charlotte were on hand to sing excerpts from the score. The talk was a  preview to the Charlotte Symphony performance on March 27 and 28. 

Posted in Classics.

What Does a Concertmaster Do?

Our next Classics concert will feature Concertmaster Calin Lupanu playing Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, which had us thinking: What exactly goes into the role of concertmaster? Here, we pick Lupanu's brain about the job.   

What exactly is the job?
The Concertmaster is the first violinist seated to the conductor's left. He or she is the leader of the first violin section, the string section, and the entire ensemble. In some instances the concertmaster serves as the conductor's assistant. The concertmaster must be an excellent violinist and musician, but also a very good diplomat, able to help with the conductor's interpretation of the musical score. 
 
What else is different about what you do versus the other violinists?
By setting the standards, through a professional attitude, and very thorough preparation, a concertmaster is also a spokesman of the orchestra. 
 
Are your hands insured, like a basketball player or a surgeon?
No, but judging by the amount of times that I get this question, maybe I should think about it!
 
What's your favorite part of the job?
Just really loving what I am doing. I love being part of an orchestra. 
 
What's the hardest part of the job?
Sometimes I'm so busy that I can't spend enough time with my family or friends.
 
Well, I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that, but you have to learn a lot of music quickly and work with touring Pops groups and guest conductors, etc. How do you adapt?
I am able to adapt to any conductor pretty quickly. I think that one never stops learning, and that is what guides me in my career.
 
What if you disagree with their interpretations of a piece? 
It's not my job to agree or disagree with any interpretation or with any conductor. I am more of an enabler I help the conductor submit his or her vision of a work. Having said that, I do have strong feelings about how a piece of music should be played ... but I save those feelings for when I play a solo or to some extent in chamber music performances.
 
What does a typical non-rehearsal/non-performance day entail for you?
There are very few of those! But I do teach a lot. I am currently on the faculty at both Gardner-Webb University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also love chamber music, and I try to perform a lot of quartets, quintets, piano trios ... I have also been appointed as Chamber Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival, so I have to do programming and choose the personnel for those concerts. When I do have the occasional day off, I tend to stay with my family and maybe watch a soccer game with my 7 year old.
 
You can hear Concertmaster Calin Lupanu play Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto March 27-28 at Belk Theater.