The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music Q and A: UW violinist Felicia Moye talks about her recital program tonight — plus learning, teaching and being adopted by a Juilliard professor | January 20, 2011

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW violinist Felicia Moye (below) will present a free recital with UW pianist Martha Fischer. She recently spoke to The Ear about her program as well her background in learning and then teaching.

By Jacob Stockinger

Can you give talk briefly about each of the pieces on your program? I am especially interested in Faure, whom I think is one of the most underrated and underperformed composers of all time.

This program will open with “Praeludium and Allegro” by Fritz Kreisler (below). This is a piece I performed at the age of 13. It was much too difficult at the time and I’d like to give it another try.

The second composition is Khachaturian’s solo violin sonata, “Monologue.” I haven’t found anyone who has performed or even heard of the piece. I found a performance of it on YouTube and only one recording by Victor Pikaisson whom the piece was written for.

One of my friends heard him play a recital in Europe as a teenager and said he played with a lot of character and left a very favorable impression.  Many of my colleagues have said he was the illegitimate son of David Oistrakh. This has not been verified but- it certainly piqued my interest in the sonata even more. Oistrakh has always been one of my favorite violinists.

The Faure Sonata in A major is next on the roster. Martha Fischer (below) is performing on the piano and she’s fabulous!

You are correct. For many years Faure (below) has been mostly ignored outside of France. His contemporaries – Wagner, Bruckner and Mahler — wrote much larger works while most of Faure’s compositions are not as grandiose. His music is beautiful without overindulging and he is a master of form. This will be my very first performance of the piece.

After a short intermission, the program will end with Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata in D Major. Originally, he wrote it for flute. When Oistrakh heard it, he begged Prokofiev to write a version for violin. This is a fun sonata to play because I love the sense of humor and gestures it allows Martha and I to explore.

This recital represents a lot of firsts. The Kreisler was the first piece on my first recital at Juilliard. The Khachaturian is a first for everyone I’ve talked to and for me. The Faure and Prokofiev Sonatas will be my first performance of them. Martha Fischer is a pleasure to work with and I couldn’t possible have put all this together without her. This will also be our first full recital together.

How have the first two years of being at the UW gone? Do you have opinions about the school and the students you want to share?

I love my job at UW-Madison. My students are all outstanding talents and I look forward to working with them every day. It is also a pleasure to have great colleagues. After working in many different venues, it is a pleasure to be in a positive, healthy and nurturing environment.

I understand you coach the New World Orchestra. Can you tell us about that work and the organization’s role in educating young professional musicians?

I have been teaching and performing with the New World Symphony (below) in Miami since 1991. The organization prepares top graduates from distinguished universities for successful careers as professional musicians. They are very creative in providing many performance venues and hire top conductors, professors, artists to work with the fellows. They are at the forefront of new technology.

I am very proud to have been the first person to coach some violinists in the New World Symphony via Internet2. Many of my students over the years have been accepted and participated. All of them so far have been placed in top positions in the music profession. NWS is a very innovative and successful organization.

Was there a turning point – a particular piece or composers or performer or teacher – that made you decide music and the violin would be your life?

At age 13, I went to a summer camp in upstate New York. This was the big turning point for me. Meadowmount is a very intense environment where we practiced 5 hours every day, studied chamber music in the afternoons and had lessons 2 times a week. I was very fortunate to have studied with Ivan Galamian (below) and Margaret Pardee. They completely changed my playing.

I just had to go to Juilliard, so Miss Pardee (below)  became my legal guardian and took care of me until college, which allowed me to attend Juilliard’s pre-college division and continue lessons with these legendary pedagogues. It is my duty and pleasure to pass this knowledge on to all my students.

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