Violin Lullabies Lead to Modern Cello Showpieces

KEVIN VOGEL | Arts, Etc. Editor DSC00002

The past few weeks The Butler Collegian has been speaking with musicians from the Jordan College of the Arts who are preparing senior recitals. This week, The Collegian sat down with senior cello performance major Marina Ito to discuss her recital.


The Collegian: How did you put your program together?


Marina Ito: Well I’m pretty sure (cello professor) Dr. Grubb’s favorite piece of all is the Brahms Sonata, and I hadn’t played it yet. He’s always told me that one of my strong suits when it comes to playing the cello is my color, or tone, and he thinks that piece would really bring out that quality.

For the Beethoven quartet, I’ve been playing in this quartet for four years now. We’ve been working on new pieces every semester and the Beethoven quartet is the piece we’ve been working on this whole semester.

I played the Bach suite for my graduate auditions, so I thought I should play it if I already have it ready.

The Ginastera was one of my personal decisions to play. My dad is a professional violinist and he heard it on the radio once and thought I would like it. I got the piece, I looked at it, and it’s really interesting. It has a lot of cool techniques that I’ve never worked with before, like left-handed pizzicato. It has a lot of flair, and characteristic suave.


TC: What’s been the most rewarding part of putting this recital together?


MI: For my junior recital, I was all nerves. I did not feel ready at all until the day of the recital, and I think I was focusing more on how ready I was, or how people were going to react or whether I was going to play this passage right. I was focused more on technical issues.

For my senior recital, I just decided I was going to do the best I could until the recital, and then just have fun. I think my attitude is slightly different this time, and I definitely feel better about it.


TC: What are your plans for after school?


MI: Well, my top choice is that I’d like to go to Michigan State University (for cello performance). I’ve had several lessons with the teacher there throughout this semester. I took an audition, got passed it, got in. The issue right now, though, is money. We’ll see.


TC: Is your end goal to play with a symphony orchestra?


MI: Right now, symphony player is probably my top choice. I just want to keep on playing the cello. I have considered teaching, but I feel like I have so much more to learn before I can actually teach anyone. I need to work up to that level.


TC: You’re from Fort Wayne, Ind. What orchestra did you grow up listening to? Your dad is a violinist, so I imagine you listened to many.


MI: I definitely went to a lot of live performances in Fort Wayne. He played in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for about thirty years, and just retired recently.

The thing for me, growing up with music, has actually been listening to the radio. Constantly. Every morning when my mom wakes up, she puts on the radio to the classical channel. You can hear the music wherever you are. So I got to listen to the Chicago Symphony, or the Boston Philharmonic  or Cincinnati Symphony, all those top-name orchestras and soloists.

And, of course, my dad practices 24/7. One of my strongest memories growing up is that my room was above his practice room, so even before I was going to go to bed he was still practicing.

At first, I couldn’t go to sleep but eventually I just got used to it. It was kind of like a lullaby.


TC:  It sounds like music has always been in the cards for you.


MI: Yeah, I guess so. I’ve never really considered anything else. Especially when I considered what to study for undergrad, I didn’t really have anything else that I wanted to do besides music. I started playing cello when I was like 11 or 12, which is actually pretty late. I started with violin, of course, because of my dad. But I kept switching the violin to a cello position when I was, like, five. My mom was a cellist so she said maybe I should try playing the cello. I kind of went back and forth between cello and piano until I was around 11 or 12, when I stuck with cello.


TC: Well, you seem happy with that choice.


MI: (Laughs) Yeah, I like it.


Ito’s recital will take place on Friday at 2 p.m. in the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall on the north side of Robertson Hall.