SFCM Chamber Music Tuesday features famed violinist and alumnus Amy Schwartz Moretti, the SFCM newsroom has a chat with the string player on her influences, her secrets to a successful performance, and what listeners can expect!
By Mark Taylor
SFCM Chamber Music Tuesdays allows chamber music majors to perform with world-renowned guest artists. The series is led and curated by SFCM Chair of String and Piano Chamber Music, Dimitri Murrath. Ahead of the concert, we get to know SFCM graduate Amy Schwartz Morretti, hear her secrets to success, and get her advice!
You graduated from SFCM in 1994. How does it feel coming back?
I spent three wonderful years in the Prep program back in the old building in the Sunset, studying violin with Zaven Melikian and participating in the chamber music program with Susan Bates and many of the other incredibly inspiring faculty. Coming back after these many years to see the new vision for SFCM in the downtown location has given me such a sense of excitement for the next generation of young musicians to study and learn here.
What inspired you to start playing violin?
Music has been a strong part of my family, and I feel fortunate that my parents introduced me to the violin when I was young.
What music influenced you growing up?
I was influenced by a variety of music growing up. A lot of chamber music, orchestral music, solo violin music, jazz, my brothers’ favorite 70’s and 80’s songs. I appreciate all styles of music!
What are you currently listening to?
I find myself listening to a lot of different things. Just yesterday I was listening to some solo Bach, as I was lost in a YouTube search, and then tuned into some good ole 80’s tunes on Pandora. Really, I love so many styles of music.
You’ve quite a career so far from Oregon, to Florida, to Colorado, and Georgia. Any favorite performances or experiences stand out?
Oh my goodness, there are so many memorable performances and experiences. They all add up to me feeling like the most fortunate person! It’s hard to believe that I have been in Macon, GA for 15 years now with the McDuffie Center at Mercer. I continue to make memories that make me so proud. Even with Covid going on, performing, teaching, traveling and knowing how small this world is of ours keeps me motivated.
What can listeners expect from the 2nd concert of the Chamber Music Tuesday series?
I have loved getting to know and play alongside these dedicated musicians in the chamber music program here at SFCM. This concert showcases the talents and artistry of these great young musicians! The Debussy trio is colorful and mesmerizing, the Montgomery Strum is super fun and rhythmic, and the Mendelssohn Quintet is delightful and playful and a technical firework of a piece!
How do you prepare for performances?
Practice! Spend time getting to know the pieces I’m supposed to perform. Study the score. Listen to various recordings, if they exist. Study the historical context of the piece. And then, the real fun begins when I start the rehearsal process with the other musicians. Once the rehearsals begin, I listen to what the other musicians are doing with their parts, how they might play something or hear something in a different way. Allow myself to adapt and adjust to the music making process and allow for continual learning!
What do you think of the Barbro Osher Recital Hall?
It is a gorgeous space to play with the glorious city backdrop highlighted in the windows. The acoustic is inspiring and the views have been breathtaking. The sunset last night was awesome as we rehearsed the Mendelssohn Quintet!
What do you think of the new Bowes Center?
The Bowes is very impressive! The interactive nature of the spaces with the city right outside the doors and windows gives the feeling of music being connected to the people in this great city. The state of the art technology gives these students an edge in this world and the world of the future, but I trust the historical nature of what we are doing as musicians and artists is being passed on by the faculty.
What advice would you give yourself when you were a student here?
Keep an open mind and never stop enjoying what you are doing! Don’t compare yourself to others. Be your best!
What advice would you give students now?
Practice diligently and be kind and supportive to one another. You are the future of music. Be true to yourself, keep yourself open to new ideas and hold on to traditions, and inspire not only yourself but others to be the best you can be. Each person is unique and each musician should be, too!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to Dimitri Murrath and everyone here at SFCM for making me feel so welcome.
In addition to collaborating with Amy Schwartz Morretti, the performance will also feature a piece by composer Jessie Montgomery, who held an online residency with SFCM students in the Spring of 2021.
This performance is limited to SFCM ID Holders (and invited guests) However all are invited to watch the livestream on Tuesday, November 9th at 7:30pm which is available to the public.