By JOE MOREIRA & KRUTHI RENDUCHINTALA
Sydney Mariano (Sr.), concertmistress of the University High School (UHS) Symphonic Orchestra and Principal Second Violinist of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO), was nominated by Ms. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) for January’s Artist of the Month. Mariano began playing the violin in second grade but was forced to stop when she moved from Singapore to the US. In fifth grade, however, she began learning the violin again and has been studying music under Mr. Sam Fischer at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles ever since.
According to Mariano, playing the violin requires emotion, musicality and technique and is her medium to express herself without words. She said, “I feel that with music I can be anyone and anything – I can communicate a plethora of emotions to the audience while standing on the stage and still be me. I love the fact that we can still be conduits of art while being creators of music by adding our own style and feelings.”
Ms. Lee said, “It is very evident that Sydney practices the music for orchestra outside of rehearsals and does her job as a concertmaster to prepare by learning the notes and rhythms ahead of time. Talent is necessary but it can only take you so far; you need discipline and drive to stand out and Sydney definitely has both of those. I really respect and admire how she has grown since her freshman year.”
In addition to leading the UHS Symphonic Orchestra and PSYO, Mariano plays at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church every week during the mass services and performs as a part of a quartet at gigs and weddings. At UHS, she is the president of the Orchestra Student Organization (OSO) club. According to Ms. Lee, Mariano “really works behind the scenes of OSO and puts in a lot of time and effort into planning events and creating beautiful posters for concerts. She takes initiative to help without me asking.”
Mariano has competed in a number of festivals and competitions and is also a scholarship recipient of the Young Musicians Foundation as one of the Debut Artists of the Junior Chamber Music Program. She won last year’s PSYO Concerto Competition, earning the opportunity to perform as a soloist in the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in May. In 2013, Mariano was the grand prize winner of the 10th Santori International String Competition. Mariano has also had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with world-renowned musicians, including violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg.
After graduating from UHS, Mariano will major in Violin Performance and desires to attend a music conservatory. She said, “I also hope to spend my time after high school performing with chamber ensembles, playing at gigs, and making recordings in a music studio.” She advises those who wish to join the arts department that “It’s always never too late. I started playing the violin at an age that is considered to be later than when most professional musicians would start, but because of my dedication, I feel like I’ve finally caught up with my peers whom I’ve admired for so many years. Stay humble and aim high.”
Ms. Lee said that she “really respects and admires how Sydney has grown since her freshman year” and that Mariano “has shown people that you don’t necessarily need to be an extrovert to be a natural leader.