Quinn Saylin’s violin journey began when she was around 4 years old. Now, Saylin is a rising high school senior in California, spending her first summer with the Music School Festival Orchestra in Chautauqua.
Saylin is younger than most of the MSFO members.
“I have always been told that I was in the car, going some place, as a very small human. And Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ came on the radio,” Saylin said. “Apparently, I thought that it was the best thing ever and begged my mum for violin lessons for at least a couple of months after until she finally gave in. I personally don’t remember this, but yeah, that’s the tale.”
On Tuesday, July 24, Saylin, a Hebrew Congregation Scholarship recipient, will be performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Allemande from Partita No. 2 in a recital at 3:15 p.m. in the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua.
Aisling O’Sullivan, a french horn player in the MSFO, is also a Hebrew Congregation Scholarship recipient who will perform, as will cellist Paul Moskalew and sopranos Shelan Hughes and Jessica Niles.
“I am very grateful for this scholarship,” O’Sullivan said. “I would not be here without any of the scholarships that I received because music festivals are very expensive. And that was part of the reason I came to Chautauqua, because it’s basically free.”
O’Sullivan is going to perform En Foret, op. 40, by Eugene Bozza, originally composed as a graduation piece for students at the Paris Conservatory. O’Sullivan said En Foret is a “very showy and flashy piece” that is very fun to perform and very fun to work on.
“It has a lot of elements like stopped horn, muted horn, lip trills and glissando over a wide range,” O’Sullivan said, “and (this piece) covers the entire range of the horn.”
O’Sullivan said that today’s recital is a great platform for her to present this piece.
“I chose that (piece) because I’ve always wanted to play it, and I hadn’t worked on it before,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought this (would) be a good opportunity to perform it.”
Saylin said it has been “very inspirational” and challenging for her to be part of the MSFO, where “literally, everybody is much more experienced” than she is.
“I feel like I’m learning a lot about what lies ahead. … Coming from a high school orchestra, we have at least a couple of weeks before concerts,” Saylin said, “Jumping to MSFO, where you only have maybe four or five rehearsals before a concert, it was a little bit daunting at first. But it’s been great. I’ve learned so much from everybody.”
Even though it has been challenging for Saylin to be in an intense program like the MSFO — having to be ready for a concert in a short amount of rehearsal time — she said she is learning about musicianship in “real-world settings.”
“I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to learn how to work under those conditions … before I have to do them constantly,” Saylin said.