Stratford Symphony Orchestra

William Rowson, our
principal conductor,
welcomes you to
Season 15


November 23, 2019 | 7:30 pm

Q & A with Guest Artist Sarah Pratt

Q: What or who inspired you to pursue your chosen career in live performance?

A: First, my parents, who took me to see the KW and Toronto Symphonies from an early age.  I remember seeing a performance of Tchaikovsky Concerto by Kyung Wha Chung and the TSO when I was six, and thinking, “Boy, it must feel great to be up there playing that!!”

Also, my teachers, each of whom had an influence on me at a different stage of development, ALL of whom helped me get to where I am today.  In particular I would like to mention David Zafer, who inspired and encouraged me from the day I met him in Guelph at age 14, until I finished my Bachelor degree.  He just passed away last April.  I still to this day think of things he told me during lessons when I practice, and use his collection of technical exercises to keep my playing in shape.

Q: What's your favourite music genre to listen to in your leisure time, and why?

A: I listen to a LOT of different music!  With classical, which is what I listen to most, there is so much of it to love and experience, and for me it never gets old! I love hearing different versions of well-known pieces, discovering new pieces, and others’ interpretations of the music I play.  I learn so much just from listening!

When it’s not classical, I also love Irish fiddle - either so lively you have to get up and dance, or immensely beautiful and nostalgic.  I went to a CD release of a duo called Caitlin/Ciaran one night in Dublin, and loved every minute of it!  I also love Latin jazz, would love to learn to Salsa one day!  My family loves the Beatles, so we have them on all the time in the car.

Q: Who are one or two of your favourite performers / musicians in any genre, and why?

A: I think, if I had to pick one violinist, David Oistrakh would be my all-time favourite violinist.  He always played with such a warm full sound, like melted chocolate.  As far as violinists on the circuit today?  I think James Ehnes is incredible, I am always blown away when I hear him perform.  His playing is beautifully clean, and so full of emotion, just amazing.

Q: What's one of your favourite music pieces to perform, and why?

A: Other than the Beethoven Concerto??  I’d say it would be a piece of chamber music, maybe the Brahms Piano Quintet, or any Beethoven String Quartet.  Playing chamber music is the ultimate in intimate music-making, and collaboration with fellow musicians, most often friends.  The cellist in the piano trio I played in for about six years is now my husband!  

Q: Would you tell us about a favourite city you've been to and/or performed in, and what made it special to you?

A: Well, my favourite hall has to be the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Several years ago I was lucky enough to play as a substitute with the New York Philharmonic on a European tour which included performances in that hall.  It’s incredibly well designed acoustically, easy to hear onstage, and very warm.  Also, it’s very beautiful to look at!  And Amsterdam is an incredible city to visit, friendly people, amazing museums, few cars and lots of bikes!!

My most memorable performances would be the week I spent performing the last movement of Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Toronto Symphony, as part of the Young People’s’ concerts back in 1998 or so.  I was still in school at U of T when this opportunity came to me; to get up onstage with all my teachers, coaches, and mentors in that orchestra, and make music with them, was an absolute dream come true.



Click to edit table header
  Overture Creatures of Prometheus Op. 43
  Symphony No. 3 in G minor Op. 36
  Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61