Student Katherine Loo performs in her senior viola recital

Anna Meassick |Katherine Loo plays the viola during her senior recital

University of Rhode Island Senior Katherine Loo put years of practice to the test during her senior viola recital last Sunday, Feb. 3 in the Fine Arts Concert Hall.

With 40 people in attendance Loo entertained her audience on her own and accompanied by other musicians as well. She started off her recital with the Mozart’s “Trio for Viola, Clarinet, and Piano” that featured three movements.

For this piece Cheryl Casola accompanied her on the piano with Tyler Tashdjian on the clarinet. Together they were well-balanced, even as Loo and Tashdjian played countering melodies. Loo used smooth and sometimes quicker bow strokes for this piece. By the third movement the tempo had increased. All three movements were soothing pieces that kept the audience alert. The full piece ended on a clean cut off between the three performers.

The next piece performed was “Passion Confession” by Pyotr IIyich Tchaikovsky. Casola accompanied Loo on the piano during this piece. While this piece was deeper and a bit darker than the first it highlighted her vibrato, a technique used to produce a richer tone.

Bach’s “Cello Suite. No.2 in D minor” took the stage next as Loo performed a solo that consisted of four movements. This piece had Loo using longer bow strokes and encouraged her to frequently shift positions on the viola.

“Sonata Op. 38, No. 1 in E minor” by J. Brahms was the final piece of the recital. This piece brought Casola back on stage to accompany Loo, and Loo immediately took the lead on the melody. The piece as a whole experimented with various dynamics. As the piece continued the energy built between the entwining sounds.

The use of pizzicato, when a string player plucks the strings of their instrument instead of using their bow, was featured in a few bars of the piece.  

Throughout every piece Loo performed standing up and moved her body with the flow of each piece. This informed the audience how invested she was in what she was playing.

After playing the finals notes of “Sonata Op. 38, No. 1 in E minor” a smile crossed Loo’s face along with a breath of relief after performing her senior recital. She specifically thanked her mother, the rest of her family and her friends for coming out to support her today. Loo also thanked everyone who made this event possible along with Casola and Tashdijan for performing with her.

At 10 years old, Loo saw a photo of a viola on a poster which inspired her to start playing. She currently is a member of the URI Symphony Orchestra, URI Viola Ensemble and additional chamber ensembles. She will be graduating this spring with degrees in music composition and orchestra performance on the viola. Regarding future plans, Loo wishes to open other opportunities through music to others by teaching, playing and composing as the viola has largely impacted her life.

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