Isabel Tweraser, winner of Southwestern University’s 2017 concerto contest and a member of the Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO), is a guest soloist at the orchestra’s Feb. 3 concert, An American in Paris. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. and features Tweraser’s performance of Hungarian Rhapsody for Cello by David Popper.
In the following Q&A, Tweraser shares her thoughts on her recent success and future plans.
Tell us about your experience competing in the concerto concert. What was the highlight?
Because Southwestern is a relatively small school, I was close friends with every single one of my fellow competitors and was deeply aware of how talented they all are. I thought it would be difficult to compete against my friends, but we were all so supportive of each other throughout the process. I am very grateful to my fellow music students, and I think they are all deserving winners as well. I’ve learned that making music is not about winning competitions; it’s about forming communities and bonds with other people.
What inspires you as a musician?
The power of music to bring people together inspires me every day. In my experience, there is no feeling quite like playing music with a group of like-minded people. I am motivated by my friends, my professors, and the people who come out to concerts and support the arts.
How do local arts groups impact the community? Do you hope to support these as your career moves forward?
The arts are a big part of what makes a city’s culture vibrant. Austin in particular is defined by music. The incredibly diverse artists and music groups in Austin bring in revenue and publicity, help communities form, and bring more life and color to the city. I hope to support and advocate for the arts in one way or another for the rest of my life, and would love to continue playing in orchestras like the ACO.
What excites you most about performing with the Austin Civic Orchestra?
The Austin Civic Orchestra is such a great group. All of the members of the orchestra are talented, dedicated, warm, and friendly. Community orchestras are so special because everyone is participating of their own accord — without pay — simply because they want to make beautiful music and give it back to the community. ACO is not just an amazing group of musicians; it’s also an incredible group of human beings. I’m so honored to be playing with them.
What do you enjoy about performing David Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody for Cello? What’s difficult?
Hungarian Rhapsody is technically difficult because Popper was a world-class cellist who knew the ins and outs of the instrument. However, this piece is so entertaining — it has several distinct sections and changes in mood that keep listeners (and the accompanying orchestra) on their toes. I’m hoping to have lots of fun and make people in the audience smile!