‘Heart Strings’ concert features guest musicians

Nick Brown

Around this time of year, U.P. residents might be looking for a way to stave off the cabin fever due to the subzero temperatures, vicious winds and overcast skies — all of which can make the great outdoors an increasingly difficult place to be.

Those looking for indoor comfort may find it in music of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, which will be holding its semi-annual concert on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Kaufman Auditorium.

The concert is entitled “Heart Strings” and will feature guest violinist Haeji Kim, the winner of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Concerto Competition for Strings.

“She’s 15 and she’s phenomenal,” said Kathy Maynard, president of the board of trustees for the Marquette Symphony Orchestra.

According to the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra website, Kim has been playing violin since she was 5 years old. Since then, Kim has received instruction from teachers at the University of Michigan and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Kim will be performing Wieniawski’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in F Sharp Minor” with orchestral accompaniment.

The orchestra will also be performing “Overture to War and Peace” by Prokofiev and Randall Thompson’s “Symphony No. 2” with guest conductor Robert Ritsema. Ritsema has also been the principal cellist in the Marquette Symphony Orchestra for 12 years. The pieces for the concert are unique, Ritsema said, and aren’t something one would hear often.

“All of the pieces we’ll be performing are very unusual,” Ritsema said. “They are seldom heard pieces, especially ‘Violin Concerto No.1.’ [Kim] will be performing them with us, and she’s just a fantastic player and still a high schooler.”

The Marquette Symphony Orchestra holds around four concerts a year in Marquette, typically in September, November, February and May. According to the group’s website, the Marquette Symphony Orchestra took shape in 1996 and began performing in 1997 as a regional symphony orchestra.

The group has 72 players, 60 of which are from Marquette County and includes public school students, while others reside in the Lower Peninsula and northern Wisconsin.

The spring concert, which will take place on Saturday, April 20 at the Kaufman Auditorium, will feature Wei-Wei Le as a guest violinist.

“She is just a wonder,” Maynard said.

Le is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and has played with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and Queensland Symphony in Australia. Le also played with the Marquette Symphony in the October concert of 2011.

“[Le] was here last year and just dazzled the audience,” Maynard said.

Tickets for the “Heart Strings” concert are available at all NMU EZ ticket outlets and cost $12 for students and children 13 to 18. Tiered seating is available and costs $17, $27 and $32 respectively for adults.

For more information about the concert of upcoming events with the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, visit www.marquettesymphony.org.