While most people would have about sixth months to prepare for a full concerto performance, Emma Hoglund says she only learned recently she would be playing all three movements of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 in a performance with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra next week.
Hoglund, a Crescent Beach resident, will be performing at the Bell Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 9 for the Surrey Nights: The VSO at 100 in honour of the orchestra’s 100th birthday. The evening will also include the very first piece ever performed by the VSO — Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture.
“I learned the third (movement) in the summer and then I had school, so I’ve only been learning the second for three months and now the first movement I ended up learning — thankfully — for another competition audition tape, so I’ve been learning that for two months,” said 16-year-old Hoglund. “Usually (you) have at least sixth months before something like this.”
The experience, Hoglund said, has been a bit stressful and intense so far, “but it’s worth it.”
Hoglund’s relationship with the VSO began in 2017 when she won the senior division of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Future of Excellence Concerto Competition with an opportunity to perform with the VSO in January of 2018.
“She was 14 when she won — and the age (category) was 14 to 19,” said Hoglund’s mom, Dorothy Sonya.
Hoglund first performed with the VSO on Jan. 4, 2018. But this upcoming performance, she said, is “a whole other rodeo.”
At a practice performance at Pyatt Hall at the VSO School of Music on Dec. 9, Hoglund played the full concerto “just because (she) had learned it.”
Sonya said Hoglund was only supposed to play the second and third movements of the concerto for the Jan. 9 performance, but after hearing Hoglund play the concerto in full, she was asked to play all three movements in the upcoming performance.
It also turns out that Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 is one of Hoglund’s “all-time favourite pieces” and Rachmaninoff is one of her favourite composers.
“I go through phases — he’s one of my favorite composers right now.”
While Hoglund said she loves a “whole bunch of other music,” she said she has a “really deep connection” with classical music in particular.
“I’m not sure why. I mean classical music is really underrated I find,” she said. “It’s not like I’m living under the same circumstances as the composers because we live in a pretty nice world right now here in Canada, but I feel like with the classical music you can live the true experiences in the time periods that the composers were in.”
Sonya said Hoglund started asking for lessons at a young age, “probably when she was just over two years old.” By the age of four, Sonya said, Hoglund just “wouldn’t let up” and they found a teacher who was willing to let Hoglund play for her.
Sonya said the teacher said that if Hoglund could sit still for 20 minutes, then the teacher would “consider it.” Hoglund sat still for the 20 minutes, Sonya said, and she got her first piano teacher.
Just this year, she received the 2018 National Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest mark in North America for the Associate Performer’s Diploma.
“I honestly could not believe it,” she said. “All my teachers put in so much work, and my mom’s crazy, she does so much work. I have the easy job, I just have to play the piano. I felt, obviously, very proud, and I felt like I was giving a little back to them.”
Now a Grade 11 student at Southridge School in South Surrey, Hoglund is in several AP and Grade 12 classes which will make it easier for Hoglund in her Grade 12 year if she needs to do auditions.
She said she’s not sure what her plans are going forward for post-secondary.
“I’m definitely going to be doing some tours and maybe shadowing some people later, but I don’t know if I’m going to go into all-time music or medicine or sciences or something else, but I know that I cannot live without (music). Whatever I do, I’ll definitely bring it with me.”