Peninsula violinist receives accolades

Ocean Park’s Karen Cho received a 93 per cent mark on her exam. - Alex Browne photo
Ocean Park’s Karen Cho received a 93 per cent mark on her exam.
— image credit: Alex Browne photo

Young Peninsula violinist Karen Cho lets her violin do the talking for her – she isn’t the kind of demonstrative personality given to making a fuss about her own success.

Fortunately others did that for her March 2 at the Royal Conservatory of Music regional awards ceremony at Vancouver’s Chan Centre, where she received a gold medal in recognition of a 93 per cent mark – highest grade in B.C. in 2013 Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 9 violin exams.

The accolade for Ocean Park resident Cho, 15, student of South Surrey teacher Erika Bennedik, came at a ceremony attended by RCM chair Michel Foulkers and president and CEO Dr. Peter Simon.

The high score was based on three theory exams – advanced rudiments, intermediate history and harmony – as well as practical examinations in June of last year.

In those, Cho was tested on technique (scales, arpeggios and double stopping) as well as ear, memorization and sight-reading, and performance of five pieces, including a Bach Allemande, Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, Polish Caprice by Bacewicz and two movements of the Violin Concerto No. 9 by Charles-Auguste de Beriot.

Cho has been playing violin for almost 10 years, she said.

“I like it,” she said. “I like how it’s not easy to play. When I practise hard, it turns into something I want it to turn into.”

A member of the Surrey Youth Orchestra, she has also volunteered since she was in Grade 9 to play violin once a week for residents of Evergreen Baptist Care Home – and plans to continue that until she graduates high school.

“I think I like playing solo more than ensemble, although I think maybe I’d like to be in an orchestra when I’m older,” Cho added, although as her mom, Yukiko Uchiyama, points out, starting the International Baccalaureate program at her school, Semiahmoo Secondary, in September will necessarily limit her musical activities.

“I don’t want her to stop music, because she enjoys it,” Uchiyama said.

Cho also received three tuition scholarships last year, including one from the B.C. Registered Music Teachers Association and another from the South Fraser Music Festival.

Cho said her perspective on playing has changed as she has grown older.

“When I was little, it was more about getting the notes right, playing everything perfectly,” she said.

“Now it’s become more important to get into the music and try to understand it. I try to listen to different people playing (the pieces). My teacher really helps me and gives me good advice.”


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