Orchestra concert spotlights 4 soloists | SteamboatToday.com

Orchestra concert spotlights 4 soloists

Violinist Teresa Steffen Greenlee plays a section of music during rehearsal.
John F. Russell

Working through the subtleties of dynamics, tempo and articulation while they rehearse Haydn’s “Sinfonie Concertante,” three Steamboat Springs musicians can’t stop complimenting each other.

“It’s beautiful, what you’re doing,” cellist John Sant’Ambrogio said to violinist Teresa Steffen Greenlee. “We don’t have that, but we can do that.”

Getting everything in line for “Sinfonie,” which spotlights a violin, cello, oboe and bassoon, can be tricky. There aren’t many clear stylistic directions, so it’s up to the soloists to figure out what sounds good – where to play louder, where to play shorter and where to play less.

“From my perspective, that’s the biggest challenge in why we needed to get together,” said bassoonist John Fairlie. Rehearsing the piece on Tuesday afternoon, Fairlie, Sant’Ambrogio and Greenlee ironed out any inconsistencies in their playing before they took the piece to a full orchestra rehearsal on Wednesday night. Oboist Tenly Williams, who lives on the Front Range, joined them for dress rehearsals starting Wednesday.

“Sinfonie” will be the first half of the program for the Steamboat Springs Orchestra holiday concerts. Seasonal favorites, including “Sleigh Ride” and a Christmas sing-along, will make up the second half. The concerts are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Steamboat Christian Center.

“It’s our most popular (concert), because it gets people really excited about the season,” Greenlee said. The three musicians said “Sinfonie” is accessible enough to blend with a selection of holiday music.

“People who come to the concert wanting to hear holiday music are still going to enjoy the piece,” Fairlie said. There are plenty of quick, virtuosic, technical passages in the Haydn piece, which led to some lighthearted stress during Tuesday’s rehearsal.

“I think we moved it faster than 120 – which makes it harder,” Fairlie said after one section, referring to the number of beats per minute.

“That’s why my face is getting hot,” Greenlee said, taking a break after an especially fast and violin-heavy passage. To work with the orchestra’s short rehearsal schedule, each of the four soloists has to know their part before the first dress rehearsal. For these three, that’s not a problem. Sant’Ambrogio sat principal in the cello section of the St. Louis Symphony for almost 40 years, Fairlie played for 16 years with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Greenlee has taught violin lessons for more than two decades.

“I came here to be a ski bum,” Sant’Ambrogio said, throwing his pencil down in mock exasperation at the amount of musical talent in the room, and in Steamboat Springs. “They came here to make a living!”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.