Minnesota Varsity: Where Are They Now? - Emma Richman

by Christine Sweet, Minnesota Public Radio
December 20, 2013

St. Paul, Minn. — Where Are They Now? spotlights Minnesota Varsity Featured and Showcase Artists from 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Violinist Emma Richman from Minneapolis was a Minnesota Varsity 2013 Showcase Artist, performing with the Luna Quartet. She recently got in touch with Classical MPR's Christine Sweet to share what she's doing now.

Emma Richman, 2013 Showcase Artist
Second Violinist of The Luna Quartet
: 16
From: Minneapolis
Attends: Southwest High School

Minnesota Varsity is great.

First of all, I just want to say that my friends and I love our Minnesota Public Radio. We feel as though announcers like Mindy Ratner, Fred Child and John Birge are our friends, such charming hosts they are. My quartet-mates and I can't help texting each other alerts when we hear our favorite repertoire broadcast. (I know . . . we're pretty geeky that way!)

Our experience in Minnesota Varsity was SO much fun. The opportunity to record in Studio M, the thrill of hearing ourselves broadcast on the radio, and playing for a packed house at the Fitzgerald Theater; all so exciting. My quartet is like my sisters, and those are memories we will always share.

When you perform for an excited and appreciative audience, there's an energy in the air. You feel connected to the spirit of the music and its history, and connected to a community of listeners. You're nervous, of course, but there's feeling, a sense, that there's a higher purpose: conveying beauty and facilitating a shared experience. It's an honor to be at the center of moments like that.

This season I am continuing to develop repertoire with the Luna Quartet, coached by Nancy Oliveros at the Artaria Chamber Music School. Now we are working on new Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schulhoff to bring to the St. Paul String Quartet Competition in the spring. The MYS Symphony, of which I am a member of the first violins, opened its year with The Planets by Holst, and I am especially looking forward to performing Till Eulenspiegel by Strauss and Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin. The GTCYS Symphony, with whom I also play, performed Beethoven's Lenore Overture and are working on the complete Shostakovich 5th Symphony. Unbelievable repertoire!

Once or twice a year I play Baroque music with Flying Forms or Lyra Baroque, both of whom are dedicated to the development of young musicians. Flying Forms is an Early Music consort led by violinist Marc Levine. It performs at the Baroque Room, a wonderful small venue in Lowertown, St. Paul. This year, we played Corelli's Christmas Concerto. My brother Sam and I played the solo violin parts. It's so amazing to perform with professional musicians, and we are really grateful for the opportunity.

Another highlight of 2013 was the Luna Quartet's appearance on From The Top hosted by Christopher O'Riley. The show was recorded in Vermillion, S.D., at the gorgeous Aalfs Auditorium on the university campus right next to the National Instrument Museum. We had a blast touring that incredible collection. We learned about Indonesian Gamelan and played it, and the museum's curator let us try some rare early violins and violas. If you've never been there, go!

Recently I was asked about my most memorable musical experiences. Any of these things I've described could be my answer. But what I realized I like best is simply my daily life as a musician. My community of geeky musician friends are constantly polling one another about what music to hear next, discussing how to practice difficult passages or what fingerings and bowings we use. My quartet gets together for sight-reading parties. That's what we're doing on New Year's Eve! And one of my favorite days of the year is the Artaria Chamber Music School's holiday party. We call it "Switcheroo" because all the groups mix up and we just eat and sight-read all night. Sometimes there's a bunch of violins all on one part of a quartet, and we almost always close with a grand reading of the Mendelssohn Octet.

Minnesota Varsity 2014 is now open for submissions; DEADLINE IS JAN. 9. Learn how to submit your music here.

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