October 17, 2019
A Q&A with Jenni Seo
Minnesota Orchestra member since: September 2018
Position: Assistant Principal Viola
Hometown: Seoul, Korea
Education: The Juilliard School
You are featured on several of this season’s Chamber Music concerts. Why should someone attend a Chamber Music performance?
It’s a great way to listen to Minnesota Orchestra musicians perform in a more intimate setting.
Tell us something exciting or challenging about the music that you are performing this year on the Chamber Music series?
As someone who plays in an orchestra full time, I don’t get to play chamber music as much as I would like to and the Beethoven quartets are like bread and butter for violists. The Beethoven Quartet Op. 18, No. 1 is full of youthful energy with big dynamic contrasts and it’s really invigorating to play. An interesting thing about playing quartets from this time period is that it’s right when the composers start composing more equally for all four instruments, instead of really featuring a solo first violin with other instruments playing accompaniment. I am so looking forward to playing with my good friends, Felicity James, Ben Odhner and Minji Choi!
How does playing Chamber Music affect your performance with the full Orchestra?
I think playing in a full symphonic orchestra is just a magnified version of playing in a smaller chamber group. You always have to listen for what other instruments are playing, who has the melody, who is playing the moving line and who you are playing the same rhythm with. One of the things I admire the most about Minnesota Orchestra musicians is that everyone is always being sensitive, listening and playing chamber music.
Playing in the Orchestra
What is a common misconception about the viola?
Well, there are certainly many viola jokes, but I think viola is a beautiful instrument that plays a crucial role in every ensemble. We are the ones that are filling in the gaps, always supporting and helping other instruments sound even better!
What inspires you about your Minnesota Orchestra colleagues?
My colleagues’ constant dedication to their craft of music-making and the hard work they put in each week to perform completely different repertoire.
Tell us about one of your favorite musical memories or proudest moments?
Becoming a member of this fantastic orchestra!
What are you listening to lately?
Jazz pianist Art Tatum
If you weren’t a professional musician, what career do you think you’d have?
I think I would be a food critic.
What is your favorite Twin Cities hotspot?
Some of my favorite places are Quang, Lurcat, and Spoon and Stable.
What else should Minnesota Orchestra audiences know about you?
I just started knitting. I am not so good at it yet but I’m practicing.