Q & A with Alisa Khodos of Seraphim Symphony

Q & A with Alisa Khodos of Seraphim Symphony

When you start playing violin? I started playing violin in fourth grade, when the string music program was offered at my school.

Why did you choose the violin?I chose the violin because every time I listened to it, it reminded me of a human voice. I also liked that it had the highest register of all the strings. 

How long have you been with ICPO? I started playing with the orchestra when I was in sixth grade, and now it has been five years with the orchestra. It has been a great experience, because it helped me develop both as an orchestra member and a soloist. 

What do love most about the orchestra? I love how the unique sounds of each instrument blend to create a unifying sound. It also makes me feel special, because each player plays an important role in creating the beautiful music that we play. 

Do you enjoy the international concert tours?I really enjoy the concert tours, because not only do you get to experience the wonders of different countries, but you also get the chance to share your passion for music towards a totally new audience. 

How often do you practice? Not including daily practices at my school orchestra, I practice about four times a week for an hour. I also take private lessons once a week with Dr. Georgette Popa who is the director of the orchestra, attend the weekly ICPO rehearsals, and teach young students twice a week. 

How will music help your future? I hope to get a scholarship using my musical abilities. Also I hope to create a chamber group with other musicians like myself.

What does music mean to you? Music is a way to transfer emotions and personality into sounds. Sometimes when the words aren’t enough to express my feelings, I turn to music. 

What is your favorite type of music? My favorite music to play is the compositions of John Williams, who uses unique interactions between instruments to create emotions. When you play his pieces, you feel bonded with other players, because we are creating this beautiful music together. 

How has Dr. Popa helped you progress in your musical journey? I love how Dr. Popa puts her whole heart into her students and the orchestra. She is one of the most passionate people about music that I’ve ever met. As a famous quote says, “a good teacher teaches from the heart, not from the book”. She is one of those special teachers.

Would you recommend the ICPO program? I would definitely recommend the orchestra to anyone who loves music, because it is a very bonding and enriching experience. You get to meet new friends and get the experience of performing at different venues. 

What role do the conductors play in the orchestra? The conductors are the ones who bring out the best in each player to create a unifying masterpiece. I love how maestro Jorge makes each rehearsal fun and full of laughter. He once told me, “if you push your limits with the violin, you will have the choice to either become a musician or not. But if you slack off, you won’t have that first option.”

Have you performed overseas?
Yes, I performed with ICPO in France, Germany, and Austria.

When and where was your first International Debut? 
My first International Debut was when I was 13 years old. It was a concert tour to France with ICPO, where we got the chance to perform at Chateau de Chambord, France in 2014 . Besides performing, we also got the opportunity to explore beautiful France and bond with other orchestra members through shared moments.
How did you feel performing there, what did you learn from the experience?
Before performing my solo at the Chambord Castle, I was very nervous. But as when I came up to play, I told myself to smile and let it go. Through my violin, I let go of all the pressure that built up over the hard months of practice.
How were the concerts received by the public?
The audience was greatly touched by our performance- for some, to tears. Although we didn’t speak French, German, or Austrian, music was our way of connecting and bonding with individuals from other worlds.
What is the most memorable concert venue you performed at and in what way impacted you?
My most memorable concert venue was the last performance in Germany at Saint Peter Church, Vienna Austria where I performed the Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor as a solo. To ease the tense knot in my stomach before performing, I told myself to enjoy every moment of it; to play with my heart. After the performance, I was shocked to see the audience standing. The next day, I was recognized by a German citizen, who asked me whether I was the girl who performed the Mendelssohn Concerto. What makes me smile is that I left a mark in people’s hearts all around the world.

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