Natalia Harvey is leading the second violins for Romance, our first season performances of 2018. These performances can be heard in Melbourne on Thursday 1 March at The Deakin Edge, Federation Square & Sunday 04 March at Melbourne Recital Centre.

MCO: Did you always want to be a musician? Tell us about your path.
Natalia: Growing up in a family of classical musicians, music has always been a big part of my life. I was always dedicated to my craft with the violin, but at one point as a young girl, it was also my dream to become an elite athlete. I was a swimmer and would train every morning before school. I was also a diligent student in high school and was passionate about writing, art, literature, languages and history, and performed well in these areas. Then, going into university, I decided to take on a combined degree in Music and Law. I was undecided about whether to pursue music as my sole career until my second year of university, which was when I realised: to be the performer I wanted to be, I had to get rid of the safety net — I had to put all my eggs in one basket. I auditioned for the Australian National Academy of Music and was successful, and my three years there were extremely eye-opening, enriching, overwhelming at times, and inspiring. My studies in Melbourne fuelled the fire within me, and my life as a professional violinist has since been rewarding, challenging, sustaining — and in many ways completely indescribable, incomparable.

MCO: You’re the Principal Second for most of our concerts this year. What is the important work of the Principal Second?
Natalia: Being a principal player is a huge honour and responsibility. A principal player is required to lead a section of the orchestra, so as Principal Second Violin, my job will be to unify my section as much as possible, and in turn, help to unify the orchestra as a whole. Section leaders give directions to their section about bowings and other technical matters, liaise with other section leaders and relay that information to their own section. Section leaders also (inevitably) influence the artistic interpretation of the music and strive to carry out the director’s/concertmaster’s artistic interpretation. But perhaps most importantly, a good principal exudes a sense of empathy, confidence, camaraderie and conscientiousness, and inspires people to listen more and to play more sensitively together.

MCO: What music are you most looking forward to in this first program? Why?
Natalia: I’m looking forward to everything in this program, but from a violin-centric point of view, Markiyan Melnychenko’s soulful playing will do justice to the Dvorak Romance, a richly beautiful piece. I’m also particularly looking forward to Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, which is demanding and satisfying repertoire for a chamber orchestra, as well as joyous music to listen to!

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