Taking on Dvořák’s Cello Concerto: Five questions for Urška Horvat

Amarilis Junij 2012 37

Slovenian cellist Urška Horvat is this year’s featured soloist with the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra, after the winning the fiercely contested Trinity Laban soloists’ competition. She will perform Dvořák’s ‘Cello Concerto in B Minor’ at Cadogan Hall on Thursday 16 June. We asked her some questions about her experiences and this upcoming performance.

  1. Why did you choose this piece?

I feel really close to Dvořák. His music is very close and dear to me because of its Slavic folk rhythms and musical tunes, but also because its sense of nostalgia, homesickness and love. The special energy of his music suits my temperament which makes storytelling on stage natural and enjoyable.

  1. Is it something you’ve been playing for a long time?

It’s always been my dream to play this concerto with an orchestra. The first time I came across this work was four years ago but this year I decided to study it more in depth and the Trinity Laban soloist competition was the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s great, I’m really happy to have this opportunity.

  1. How are you preparing for the performance?

The Dvořák concerto contains a considerable amount of technical difficulties which require time and attention. At first, I focused more on the technical aspects of the piece but after a while I began to go deeper into the music and its meaning. Dvořák’s music has lots of changes in character, so it’s important to search for the right colours and the right sound. It’s quite a long process to prepare for the whole concerto. I am also studying the orchestral score, because the orchestration is so huge and you discover new things about the music. Besides this there is also the mental preparation for the stage and I want to feel comfortable. I’ll probably do practice performances for my friends, colleagues and professors, because it’s important to play through the piece many times.

  1. How did you end up studying at Trinity Laban, and how have you benefited from your time here?

I came to Trinity Laban because of my professor David Cohen. I studied with him before, for two years when I did my masters in Belgium. In the final year of my masters I realised that I wanted to study another year with him, because he’s an amazing musician and cellist. Having found the Postgraduate Artist Diploma programme, I applied and took the entrance exam. London is also a very multicultural and inspiring city, so it wasn’t exactly a hard decision to come here!

Studying at Trinity Laban has helped me to improve a lot as a performer. Having so many chances to play has helped me to become very comfortable on stage. I’ve also learned a lot from masterclasses and from studying with different teachers.

  1. What’s next?

I’m considering taking an Independent Study Programme here at Trinity Laban, in order to work with David Cohen for another year. I also have a piano trio called Tamesis Trio. We want to continue playing together and establish a career as a chamber group in the professional circuit. I plan to enter lots of competitions as a soloist as well, and to apply for auditions with certain orchestras. In London there are so many possibilities, so I will stay here and try to find my path.


Marlowe Thornes-Heywood

Graduate Intern – Press & PR