Concertmaster Siri Smedvig on Saint-Saëns
by Siri Smedvig
“I am looking forward to this weekend’s Pops concerts. It is very exciting to be performing the Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso with the orchestra. It is a wonderful work for violin! It has a little of everything fun and challenging in it.
“I first studied it in high school, while attending Tanglewood in the summer as a student in the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. I had weekly private lessons with Roger Shermont, BSO violinist, as part of the program’s offerings to round out the orchestra and chamber music filled idyllic days in the Berkshires. This particular summer when learning the Saint-Saëns, I was also learning Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet. What a beautiful way to spend one’s day—and I took it for granted at the time! I loved my lessons with Roger Shermont. He had a beautiful voice, vocally (lovely French accent) and on the violin! I love all memories of Tanglewood, and playing this piece again after so many years, brings back meaningful memories.
“And yet, relearning it, I felt it was an entirely new piece. This peculiarity happens for me rereading books after many years as well. I knew I read Anna Karenina in college. Coming back to it for my book group a few years ago, I thought it an entirely different book than what I recalled reading. One’s filter on life changes and grows over the years, transforming the meaning found in both books & music. My sound pictures are entirely new layering over my old understanding of the fingerings, bowings, and phrases I learned long ago. It is a real pleasure to share this in my favorite place—Concord—with friends and colleagues in the orchestra. Thank you!”