New York City-based violinist Bryn Digney maintains a dynamic career as a freelance performer and educator. As a soloist, Bryn has appeared with the Chelsea Symphony and presented recitals at the National Opera Center. Also a passionate orchestral musician, she performs regularly with ensembles including the Chelsea Symphony, Opera Italiana, Protestra, and the Handel Festival Orchestra.
Bryn returns as a soloist with the Chelsea Symphony on March 3, 2023 performing Ernst Chausson’s Poème. In anticipation of the concert weekend, we reached out to Bryn for a quick behind-the-scenes Q&A.
The Chelsea Symphony: Can you tell us about your first time playing with TCS?
Bryn Digney: I had recently arrived in New York for my studies, and a friend in the graduate program at New York University told me about TCS. I was delighted to be invited to play with the orchestra, and to have found such a welcoming community of people who genuinely love making music together.
TCS: What is the most challenging part of playing a concerto?
BD: The preparation process needs to be quite intensive - not only practicing the solo part but studying the score and understanding the big picture.
TCS: What about the most fun part of playing a concerto?
BD: It’s thrilling to hear the sonorities and colors of the full orchestra, and a privilege to have so many wonderful musicians helping you tell the story.
TCS: What feelings come up for you when you are playing this piece?
BD: When I play this piece, I am always compelled to evangelize for Chausson’s music, with which many people aren’t familiar. Chausson tragically died quite young, so his body of work is not as large as one might wish for—I think that’s the only reason he isn’t really considered a major composer. In the Poème in particular, you can really hear the transition from the harmonic language of Wagner and Franck into this coloristic French style that we associate with slightly later composers, like Debussy and Ravel. And he had an incredibly direct way of communicating emotionally—the Poème runs the gamut of emotions from despair to ecstasy to resignation, and all in a relatively short work!
TCS: Is there anything else you would like to share about your upcoming solo feature?
BD: The Poème was inspired by Ivan Turgenev’s short story “The Song of Triumphant Love.” It’s an otherworldly story about an Italian nobleman who travels the world, dabbles in the dark arts, and finally determines to bewitch the woman he loves by playing the violin!
Join us at 8pm on Friday, March 3rd at St. Paul's Church at 315 West 22nd Street for Bryn’s performance of Chausson’s Poème!