ON THAT NOTE
On That Note introduces a member of the orchestra. This issue features Concertmaster Searmi Park.
How long have you been playing music?
I have been playing since age six, and I am 45…so, a long time!!
What made you decide to play your instrument?
My sister started playing piano when we were kids, and my parents immediately knew she was very musical and talented, so they immediately signed her up for violin lessons as well. She did not want to do both, and they had already paid for the lessons, so they sent me instead.
When you’re not playing music, what would we most likely find you doing?
Hahaha…I am not going to lie, but I spend very little time playing violin! I did do an incredible amount of practicing from age six until age 24, then had another practicing surge in my mid-30s for a couple of years. So, I keep telling myself I have paid my dues. When I’m not playing, you will likely find me shoveling manure, trimming hooves, or moving livestock panels.
What do you enjoy most about the Eugene community?
I am incredibly happy to be back in Eugene! Not only do I have unbelievable support from my fantastic colleagues on stage, but Eugene has the best audience. Seriously, our patrons here are so amazing. It is very rewarding for me to play here, and I truly love working with Francesco and Scott. I am so grateful to be back. I
feel so much love.
How do you prepare for a performance?
Now that I am older, I cannot get away with cram-practicing at the last minute like I used to, nor am I able to slam out hours on end! So, my practicing starts weeks ahead but is very minimal, and I will admit it’s mostly mental practicing as I fall asleep! I am very much into the mental side of practice and performance. I think
we as an industry need to rethink the “endless hours in the practice room” model.
What is your favorite piece of all time to play and why?
I do not have a favorite piece, but if I had to pick my top favorite composers/pieces they would be Mozart’s Requiem and Piano Concertos; Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and late string quartets; Brahms’s Violin Concerto, chamber works, and symphonies; anything by Prokofiev; Sibelius’s Violin Concerto; Britten’s War Requiem and Violin Concerto; Strauss’s tone poems and Four Last Songs. Oh wait, Mahler’s symphonies and Shostakovich string quartets and symphonies! And Bartok’s string quartets. Oooh, I love Schnittke and Wagner, too.
Where is your favorite place in Oregon?
As cheesy as this sounds, my favorite place in Oregon is at home with my very large family of human and non-human animals, all the wildlife, trees, plants, and water. I cannot get enough of nature.