Katie Carroll: The life of a rising star

Katie Carroll

— Follow rising star Emma Carina Meinrenken to the Chief Theater next Monday and Tuesday night for the final Friends and Family Concert Series event of the season. The teenage violinist has a host of awards under her belt before she has even had a chance to compete for Homecoming Queen. Since the young Canadian is super busy with her violin as well as being a high school student, we emailed back and forth so I could find out more about this talented young woman.

Katie Carroll: Can you describe your Toronto Symphony Orchestra debut? How did you feel playing with other accomplished adults?

Emma Meinrenken: It was a great honour and quite an experience – I was only 10 and my teacher was in the first violin section amongst the other orchestra members, so there was a lot of pressure to play well…it definitely paved the way to making me a more confident performer.

KC: Where is your favorite place — or venue — to perform, and why?

EM: I love playing in large halls — usually, when there is a large audience, the collective energy of all the listeners makes me feel excited to perform for them.

KC: Can you explain the difference in your mindset when you play in a competition, like the Stradivarius, versus a concert?

EM: In competition, I have to work very hard on accuracy and precision, and there is less room for creativity. I have to try to satisfy the judges who are all looking for specific skills, and [I] cannot take risks in case they won’t like my interpretation. While working for competition trains me to become a more careful and attentive player, I sometimes worry that it may take away from what I most enjoy: showing my own creativity and personality freely and spontaneously through my music.

KC: How do you think your music affects people?

EM: I am not sure, but I hope to be able to play in a way that the music touches people’s hearts. I have [been] requested to play the same pieces over and over again in different concerts. While at times I want to say, “not again,” this shows to me that my music had triggered something special in people and they want to experience that feeling again.

KC: What’s next after high school?

EM: I am keeping my options open at this point, as I love school work as much as I love music. All I know is that I will never quit playing the violin, whether I decide to become a professional musician or not. The violin has always been a huge and special part of my life even before I began playing, and I never want that to change.

KC: What are your favorite non-music things to do?

EM: The thing about dedicating so much time and energy towards music, is that I barely have enough left at the end of the day to do other things. I can barely get enough sleep, on top of practicing and schoolwork! However, when I can, I enjoy sketching, and I am particularly fascinated with fashion design.

Welcome to Steamboat, Emma! Hopefully, you can find a quiet spot to sketch on the Yampa, and take some time out to enjoy the valley. Meinrenken is playing at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at The Chief Theater.

Katie Carroll is a writer with a love for music and adventure. She hails from New Jersey, just 8 miles from New York City and 57 miles from the legendary Stone Pony. After spending years music hopping in the city and working for performing arts venues, she is excited to bring her passion for music to Explore Steamboat and the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Despite the Jersey upbringing, don’t worry; there won’t be any Springsteen overload (unless he is the surprise concert at the mountain, of course).

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