Zigeunerweisen at Grade 12 Cadenza

All through my musical life, except for 6 months of Suzuki instruction, I had never taken classical violin lessons. To be honest, I just wanted to play fiddle music.

When I was accepted into the strings program at Canterbury High School in Ottawa, I had no choice but to step up my game. In grade 10, I realized I needed classical instruction and technique in order to progress my musical abilities to the next level, and so I started taking classical lessons with Karoly Sziladi.

In the first lesson I had with Karoly, he asked me what my goal was before the end of high school. Because I like a good challenge, I told him that I’d like to learn what I considered one of the hardest and coolest solo violin pieces: Zigeunerweisen (translated Gypsy Airs).  Zigeunerweisen is a musical composition for violin and orchestra written in 1878 by the Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate, based on themes of the Roma people.

Really, I had no expectations I would reach that level in two years, at least not to a performance standard. In fact, for me, learning Zigeunerweisen was more of a life goal and not necessarily a high school goal.

That being said, Karoly kept pushing me, and I had the pleasure of performing Zigeunerweisen at my Grade 12 Cadenza at the Chateau Laurie. Because each student was allowed just 5 minutes for their performance, I had to cut out a few sections. I hope you enjoy.

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