"Carnaval" concert to feature Department of Music Concerto Competition winner, Cristian Kasinski

Music student, Cristian Kasinski, reveals his secret to winning the opportunity to perform as a featured soloist with the University Symphony Orchestra.

Erik Einsiedel - 3 April 2019

On Friday, April 5 at the Winspear Centre, the University Symphony Orchestra (USO) presents Carnaval, the final MainStage concert of the 2018-19 season.

Cristian Kasinski, who will be graduating with his degree in Music Performance in clarinet this year, will be a featured soloist after having won the annual 2018-19 U of A Department of Music Concerto Competition. He will perform Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 74(1813), alongside the USO.

Arts News caught up with this talented musician to find out how he prepared for the competition, and why audiences won't want to miss this concert.

ARTS NEWS: What is the U of A Concerto Competition?

CRISTIAN KASINSKI: The Concerto Competition is an annual event that takes place in early November every year, open to U of A music students.

The great thing about it is the range of ages and levels of students competing: everyone from first year undergraduates to late doctoral candidates. It's really an opportunity to show off yourself and your instrument, demonstrating both musicality and virtuosity. The two winners of the competition receive the opportunity to perform their chosen concerto with either the Symphonic Wind Ensemble or the University Symphony Orchestra.

I was given the honor to perform Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 74 with the University Symphony Orchestra. This has been a dream of mine for a very long time and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

AN: How did you prepare for the competition?

CK: I decided to choose a piece that I have had in the works for years, and to dedicate several months in advance to methodical and disciplined practice so I could be as comfortable in the performance as possible.

You are not allowed to use any music in the competition, so I started the memorization process very early. The night of the competition was the most prepared and comfortable I have ever felt on stage, and I think that was one of the main keys to winning. I was so prepared and comfortable that I was able to take risks and make it a truly extraordinary performance.

AN: Why did you choose that particular concerto?

CK: It's a very pleasing piece to an audience's ear, full of long beautiful melodies as well as brilliant, virtuosic passages. It is a great example of stretching the clarinet to its limits in both range and technique.

AN: What do you think audiences will enjoy most about the Carnaval concert?

CK: I think the audience will really enjoy and appreciate the fact that there are two very well known works with many recognizable melodies. The two pieces being, Saint-Saëns' Le carnaval des animaux and Stravinsky's famous Firebird Suite.

This concert will demonstrate how the U of A Music Department students collaborate with world renowned piano artists such as Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp and Jacques Després. Firebird is a very technically demanding piece for the entire orchestra and requires a level of maturity which the USO is able to demonstrate.

It will be a great night all around, showcasing both professors and students of the music department! I am very excited to be part of this amazing concert and share my love of performing with the USO. Conductor, Petar Dundjerski, has been phenomenal to work with in this process and my entire time at U of A, and I can't wait to share this music with each and every person in the audience!

Don't miss Cristian and the University Symphony Orchestra perform live at Carnaval on Friday, April 5, at the Winspear Centre! Get your tickets today!


April 5, 2019 at 7:30 PM

Winspear Centre

The University Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Petar Dundjerski) closes the MainStage concert season with an evening of light favourites, including Le carnaval des animaux by Saint-Saëns. Beloved by families, this fun and witty piece features special guest pianists Jacques Després and Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp, performing with the orchestra on two pianos.