Converse Freshman Wins Concerto Competition

Converse Freshman Wins Concerto Competition

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When Mallory Hayes takes the stage with the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium on Friday, March 22, she hopes to make the audience see birds flying on the wings of violin music.

“They will just be blown away by the sheer beauty of her sound…”

Hayes, a freshman at Converse College, won the consortium’s annual Bernhardt House of Violins Concerto Competition in January. As the winner, she will be the orchestra’s featured soloist and will play her audition piece, the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, at their annual Celebration of Youth Concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Rainey Fine Arts Center at Anderson University.

While many of her students have competed, Converse College violin instructor Sarah Johnson said Hayes is the first Converse student to receive the honor in several years.

In addition to being her instructor at Converse, Johnson taught Hayes while the Southern Pines, N.C. native was a student at North Carolina’s School for the Arts. Johnson said she is impressed by Hayes’ dedication and her sincerity as a violinist. The 19-year-old virtuoso has a simple and pure style Johnson said she thinks concert attendees will enjoy.

“They will just be blown away by the sheer beauty of her sound,” she said.

Hayes said she first picked up a violin at 5 years old. Initially she just wanted to compete with her musically inclined brother who played the piano, but playing the violin became much more.

“It’s a part of me,” Hayes said. “I never thought about doing anything else.”

Hayes’ impressive resume includes winning the Moore Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition and playing with the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra. Friday will be her first performance with an established adult orchestra. While she has played dozens of concerts, Hayes said she still gets nervous before a performance and will probably need to put her violin away and sit quietly to fight the nerves before Friday’s performance.

“I usually play better in front of bigger audiences though, because I can’t pick out individual faces in the crowd,” she said.

While most violin concertos feature the skills of the player, the Barber concerto is lyrical. Hayes said it makes her picture very natural scenes.

“There’s one part that kid of sours and goes all the way up to the top of the violin’s register and I always think of birds flying,” she said. “I hope the audience sees that kind of thing when I play.”

This story was written by Felicia Kitzmiller of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and republished with permission.

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