UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 11 Winter 19 Library
Jiyeon Choi
Charlottesville Symphony

The Charlottesville Symphony Welcomes New Principal Musicians

Following international searches, the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia has welcomed two new Principal musicians. Principal players are professional musicians who lead their respective sections in the orchestra. At UVA, they also teach private lessons, play in faculty ensembles, and sometimes coach students in chamber music groups.

Jiyeon Choi is the Charlottesville Symphony’s new Principal Clarinet.  She also holds the Principal Clarinet position with the Sinfonia da Camera in Illinois. Her primary research explores the chamber music of Jörg Widmann, a renowned German clarinetist and composer. She is also a core member of ensemble vim, an Atlanta-based contemporary music collective dedicated to promoting the music of underrepresented composers, especially those with strong ties to the southeastern United States. 

Janet Kaltenbach, Executive Director of the Charlottesville Symphony Society, asked Jiyeon how she was first drawn to the clarinet. She responded by saying, “I started playing clarinet in the fourth grade. Before I started [studying] music, I had no idea what the clarinet was.  My mom let me choose it after listening to each instrument’s sound. I felt drawn to the clarinet because it sounded very warm and cozy. Some scholars say that the aural quality of the clarinet is similar to the human voice. Some composers – like Weber and Mozart – have written clarinet music with many operatic features.  

I am excited to join the UVA and Charlottesville communities because of their very active music environment.   As a Principal in the Charlottesville Symphony, I look forward to playing with UVA colleagues, students, and community members. Music is a universal language and the best way to communicate with people.  

The language of music is common to all generations and nations; it is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart. -  Gioacchino Rossini (Italian composer 1792-1868) I hold this quote close to my heart when playing the clarinet. I hope my students and audiences can feel the beauty of music with their own hearts.”

Arthur Zanin

New Principal Trumpet Arthur Zanin was also attracted to his instrument as a child.  “From a young age, I have always loved movies. Some of my earliest memories are from watching films with my parents and grandmother. My grandmother introduced me to classics like Ben HurGone with the Wind and anything with Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire. She would say, "The movie is good, but the best part is the music." Later, I remember watching movies with soundtracks by John Williams: ET and Star Wars. These films all had great music and lots and lots of trumpet playing. When the conductor of my high school brass band invited me to a rehearsal, I saw all the brass and realized that the trumpet was responsible for the sounds in the Indiana Jones theme... that was it!

When my grandmother found out I was learning the trumpet, she gave me a Deutsche Gramophone collection of orchestral CDs. It was one of those collections that came once a week with a little booklet of information about composers and musical periods. One of the first albums was Pictures at an Exhibition with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. That's when my passion for orchestral playing began. 

I love how multifaceted the trumpet is. It is present in a lot of popular traditional music from many different countries – Mexico, Germany, Spain, and America. I also love how each trumpeter can have his/her own unique sound. When you hear Louis Armstrong, you know without a doubt it is him. The same is true of classical and orchestral players like Sergei Nakariakov, Phil Smith and Bud Herseth. 

I had a fortunate transition from student to professional life. I won an orchestral audition only three days after finishing my DMA! In addition to that job, I freelanced throughout Florida, basically playing the trumpet seven days a week. I love orchestral playing, but I missed a lot of what I did in school: talking about music on a deeper level, being in the library working on projects.  But what I missed most was the camaraderie and interactions with my professors and colleagues.  The UVA faculty opening interested me because it is a position that combines two of my interests: playing in an orchestra and being involved in the academic world where I can teach and work on my personal projects. 

Playing alongside students in the orchestra is such a valuable tool because you can really demonstrate and experiment with them in a safe, one-on-one environment.”  

Zanin has performed in orchestral and chamber music settings in South America, the United States, and Europe, and worked as a freelance musician in New York City. He has been a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony and has also performed as a guest with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic and Charlottesville Opera.

As an educator, Zanin held a Teaching Assistant position at Rutgers University and taught master classes at brass programs in colleges and high schools across the country.  He has led youth orchestras as a conductor in Brazil and Spain and currently serves as a board member and Trumpet Instructor at the Music Foundation of Greater Naples in Naples, Florida.

Zanin earned his Master of Music degree from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. He also attended the Manhattan School of Music where he earned a Performance Studies Certificate.  He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Rutgers University. 

For more information about the Charlottesville Symphony, voted Best Classical Music Group in C-VILLE Weekly’s Best of C-VILLE 2019, visit cvillesymphony.org

        - Janet Kaltenbach, Executive Director

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