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Faculty Friday with Sandra Nikolajevs

Happy Faculty Friday, everyone! Each Friday we will feature one of our many amazing faculty members at Luzerne Music Center. We asked all of our instructors to tell us a little bit about themselves, and to share their favorite things about LMC.

This week we're checking in with Sandra Nikolajevs, LMC bassoon instructor. Sandra hails from Charleston, SC, and this will be her second summer at LMC!

Share with us some of your professional accomplishments.

As a young bassoonist, my dedication and passion for music help get me into some incredible music schools, such as the Juilliard School of Music and the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris. During these formative years I studied chamber music with pianists Andre Previn and Peter Serkin, flutist Ransom Wilson and oboist Neil Black and performed major orchestral works under the baton of such esteemed conductor as Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa and Robert Spano.

As a professional musician I held principal bassoon positions in a number of orchestras, most notable the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Savannah Philharmonic. In 2006 I founded the nonprofit organization Chamber Music Charleston, which is now celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season with over 65 performances including a return to Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in May, 2017.

What excites you about Luzerne Music Center?

The Luzerne Music Center is a unique place where one is allowed to focus solely on music. There are no distractions from the outside world, instead one is provided with a community of musicians who support each other in the creation of great music. As a faculty member, I look forward to both working with the other professional musicians to prepare for the faculty chamber concerts and working with the students to help them master their own concert repertoire.

What can campers expect to learn while working with you this summer?

At LMC students are provided with the tools needed to move forward in perfecting one’s music making, to work with colleagues to bring a chamber work to life and to manage one’s time to be able to learn challenging orchestral and chamber repertoire in a short span of time. That said, I feel it is important for young bassoonists to understand how to produce a beautiful bassoon sound with a variety of colors – from a strong, solo sound necessary to project over an orchestra to a warm, blending sound needed in chamber music. While we certainly work on technique, specifically related to the current orchestral and chamber needs of LMC, we will always go back to the basics of sound.

Students should come to LMC with at least 6 working reeds to be able to withstand the rigorous practice and performance schedule. Students are also encouraged take reed-making lessons, to learn either the basics of working on reeds or to perfect any skill they may have already learned from their year-round teacher.

Sandra performing the Poulenc Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, mvt. 2 with Chamber Music Charleston!

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