Profile: Natalia Corolscaia, violinist, and the Chichester Symphony Orchestra

Natalia is Leader of the Chichester Symphony Orchestra, the oldest local secular amateur musical ensemble. Its next concert is playing Three Characteristic Pieces, op. 10 by Elgar and the “London” Symphony no. 104 in D Major by Haydn at 1.10pm on 24 October, as part of the Chichester Cathedral Lunchtime Concerts series.

What are you looking most forward to when performing at this concert?

I was appointed Leader of the CSO a year ago. Right from the start, I received so great a reception and so much support. It’s an orchestra which welcomes new ideas and challenges, and which clearly articulates them in its music making. It also comprises a wide range of ages. It’s nice for me to do something in the community, outside of the University.

One of the most exciting aspects about this performance is collaborating with the talented musicians of  the Chichester Symphony Orchestra and our conductor Simon Wilkins. I am truly thrilled about performing in such a beautiful place as Chichester Cathedral. Its unique acoustics create a special atmosphere that adds an entirely new dimension to the music.

Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music?

While I was at music school in my native Moldova, my teacher Angela Molodojan gave me a sense of self-belief as a musician, and as a result I graduated from University with the highest mark. A while before I moved to the UK, I purchased her violin. I play it with pride and still use her advice when teaching and performing. I owe her a huge debt.

Crispin Ward gave me the opportunity to study at Chichester University, where I currently work: I teach chamber ensemble and violin, and also am “Concertmeister” where I help students to understand what’s needed to prepare for rehearsals and performances, and also offer guidance on practice techniques and stylistic nuances.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

It was a challenge to move to a new country permanently. As one would expect, the UK has a different mindset, but it also has a different music system. My past experience didn’t count for much and I have had to prove my worth on many occasions.

What are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

The best part of my job is collaborating  with other musicians; sometimes this experience can be simply magical, as you share your thoughts, backgrounds, experiences and the mix of all of these are always unique.  

Let me give you an example. In one of my recent performances, I played in a string quartet, and it was something really special for me. What made it so amazing was that all four of us in the quartet came from different parts of the world – Moldova, Iran, USA, and Bosnia Herzegovina. We each had different musical backgrounds and training, but we brought all that together to create a really special performance. Experiences like this help me become grow as a musician, and it’s extremely valuable for me. And just imagine, if we didn’t choose music as our main activity , we might never have even met one other.

Are there any composers for whom you feel a particular affinity? 

Vivaldi is always enjoyable and I’m fortunate to be part of the Baroque Ensemble at the University, playing alongside Julia Bishop, where we often play his works. We delve deep into the history and feel immersed in it: we play with Baroque bows and sometimes Baroque violins ,and we often read the music in manuscript.

Bach is a maestro, and I find the slow movements of Bach’s Partitas so intense.

I used to play in the National Opera of Moldova, and developed a love of the operas of Puccini and Prokoviev – Tosca and Romeo and Juliet give me goosebumps every time!

I am a great admirer of the piano concertos of Rachmaninov.

Which works do you think you are able to perform best, and why? 

Any music with folk influences, especially coming from the Balkans or from Spain.

Which performances are you most proud of?

Recording Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe at Abbey Road Studios.

What are your most memorable experiences, either as a performer, composer or listener?

As part of the National Opera of Moldova, I’ve taken part in the annual open-air DescOpera festival, performing Verdi’s Rigoletto and Requiem. It’s in a beautiful location, taking opera out from its traditional setting and transporting it into the midst of nature.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

It’s not easy at the beginning but if you have patience and vision it does get easier. Dare to dream big. And when you do progress in your career, remember to be kind to musicians who are following you on their journeys.

How would you define success as a musician?

Each of us has a different interpretation of what is meant by success and you need to set yourself a goal so you know when you’ve succeeded. But more importantly, you need to enjoy yourself on the journey getting there!

What would you like to be doing in 5 years’ time?

I’ve been so focused to get where I am now, and so I’d like to broaden my horizons, travel to new places and explore new hobbies and activities. I’d also like to be still helping to develop the careers of up-and-coming musicians, and to be performing as much as possible.

About Natalia
Natalia Corolscaia started to play the violin at the age of 7, having her first lessons at the prestigious Musical Lyceum “Sergei Rachmaninov” in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. During that time she took part in numerous concerts and music festivals as a soloist, quartet player and orchestra member. After successfully graduating, Natalia obtained a full scholarship at the Academy of Music, Theatre and Fine Arts, “Gavriil Musicescu”, in Chisinau, in the class of Angela Molodojan, Maestro in Arts of the Republic of Moldova. She graduated with a Licentiate Diploma in Higher Education Music. In that period Natalia started working in the National Opera and Ballet Theatre, as a violinist in the orchestra, and performed in various theatres in Europe: Germany, Spain, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

In 2016, Natalia was offered a full scholarship at the University of Chichester Conservatoire starting her Master’s Degree in Advanced Music Performance, under the tutorship of Oxana Dodon. In a short period, she took part in a masterclass with Zoltan Tacacz (principal first violin at the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Helsinki), James Dickenson (Leader of the Villiers Quartet), and Emilian Dascal (solo viola at Sinfonierorchester St. Gallen). Natalia has recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios and also had numerous performances with the University of Chichester Conservatoire, where she is currently a guest lecturer and providing tuition, sectionals and workshops to young talented students.

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