"Catch 'em while you can."
This phrase has been used innumerable times about aspiring young soloists who come here to play with our orchestra. The most notable case: Superstar pianist Lang Lang played regular subscription concerts with the Colorado Springs Symphony to half-filled houses in the late 1990s.
Violinist Bella Hristova (HREE-stoh-vah) could be the next star we wave hello and goodbye to. She'll be in the Springs for one concert: a Chicago Symphony "Beyond the Score" presentation by a scaled-down Colorado Springs Philharmonic on Saturday night. The evening is built around Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." She'll be soloist. There will be no conductor.
The 27-year-old Hristova was born in Bulgaria, but moved to the U.S. to advance her violin studies when she was 13. In high school, she met legendary violinist and violist Ida Kavafian, who led her to enroll at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music.
"I feel very much like an American," she said from Amarillo, Texas, where she was playing two concerts with that city's symphony. Although Hristova has been out of school for three years, she can call upon Kavafian and another great violinist, Jaime Laredo, when the need comes. "I can always go play for them. I'm lucky to have that. They remind me to find my own voice and make my own decisions."
Hristova has found what she believes is the best blueprint for superior performances: "I try to be as true to the composer's wishes as possible," she said. "Whether that's researching what was happening around that time in the world or in their life or just looking at the score in depth."
That is the identical scenario for the "Beyond the Score" programs, which spend their first half investigating a great piece of classical music in a live, documentary fashion through video excerpts, narration, acting and orchestra excerpts. After intermission, the work receives a complete uninterrupted performance.
"I like to do special programs," she said. "I don't do any crossover genres. For my generation, you have to make your own career. You can't just play the concerts. Education is just as big a component as when I go somewhere to perform a concert. I usually go into schools or I give a master class with students" Here in the Springs, it will all be about Vivaldi. "It's actually very tiring to perform," she said of the work. "Everyone knows the 'Four Seasons' and it's a very recognizable piece.I like the descriptions that he (Vivaldi) gives. In autumn there's the hunt, the storm in summer. You can really imagine that.
"In the slow movement of summer it's the crickets you hear and then it's probably hot because the violin line is really languid and slow. You don't want to move and you hear these little crickets in the background."
Aside from the insights that the "Beyond the Score" program will bring, Hristova has her own plans for the audience's appreciation.
"I want them to hear more of those descriptions that he writes; more birds than they heard before or the gunshots; the teeth chattering in winter or the wind.
"I really hope to come up with our own interpretation in Colorado Springs and not just do the standard 'oh, people usually take time here and slow down here and they speed up here.' I hope to keep people on the edge a little bit."
"VIVALDI: THE FOUR SEASONS"
What: A Beyond the Score presentation
Who: The Colorado Springs Philharmonic with violinist Bella Hristova, narrator Josh Robinson, actors Rachel Fowler and Chiara Torriani (CQ all names)
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Tickets: $12-$59; 520-7469, pikespeakcenter.com
Next: Music director Josep Caball?Domenech's return to the podium for "Romeo and Juliet" on Oct. 19 and 20