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(Posted 3:30 a.m., June 13)

Gifted cellist ready to take on next phase of his life
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Orléans cellist Simon Chow performs during a recent recital in preparation for his ARCT Royal Conservatory of Music exam on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


For the past 11 years, Orléans cellist Simon Chow has been impressing audiences with his unique combination of passion and maturity that has often belied his years.

As one third of The Chow Trio, along with older brothers Stephen and Sebastien, Simon has played in front of every manner of audience from wedding parties to seniors residences.

During the last two years, he’s played an increasing number of solo concerts as first Stephen and then Sebastien pursued their studies further afield.

Now it’s Simon’s turn. In his final year at Gloucester High School, Chow plans to attend the University of Western Ontario starting next fall as part of the Royal Military College ROTP civilian university program under which the RMC will cover the cost of his studies in exchange for a four year commitment to the military.

In joining the military, Chow will be following in the footsteps of his father John who is Commander in the navy.

While at Western, Chow will be studying both business and music. But before he starts the next phase of his life, he must first complete his studies at Gloucester High School and take his ARCT exam with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

The ARCT is the highest level that can be obtained through the Royal Conservatory of Music’s examination process and requires the student to play six pieces of music during a one hour time limit. As well, each student must have already met a number of requirements in musical history and theory.

As a means of preparing for the ARCT exam which he’ll be taking this Saturday, Chow performed his planned program at a special recital at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church on Sunday.

Playing in front of about 100 family and friends, Chow tackled the challenging selection of works with his usual youthful vibrancy and gusto.

After warming up with Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite #4 in E Flat Major, he took on Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major Op. 69, accompanied expertly on piano by Opera Lyra repetiteur Judith Ginsberg before launching into Davidov’s 100 mile an hour Op. 20 #2: At the Fountain.

If you never heard the composition before, think of the runaway train scene in Polar Express and you’ll get an idea of the frantic pace of the mesmerizing piece.

After a short break, Chow returned to perform Sir William Edward Elgar’s Concerto in E Minor Op. 85, demonstrating for all who were lucky enough to have been there his enormous talent and seemingly limitless potential. If the Armed Forces Band is ever in need of a principal cellist they should have a seat reserved for Mr. Chow.

During his performance, Chow’s mother Hilda was sitting nervously near the front of the church.

“I get so nervous when he plays because I know when all the difficult parts are coming up. It’s a typical mother thing,” said Mrs. Chow.

After his performance, Chow took time to acknowledge his music teachers both past and present starting with Sara Loten. He also studied under Rosalind Sartori and for the past four years has benefitted from the tutelage of Margaret Munro-Tobolowski.

But it has been his parents and two brothers who have had the biggest influence on his musical career.

“I have to credit my parents first of all because they always had the idea of us playing as a trio and then my brothers because they always knew what I was going through and kept me going,” said Chow who has a bright future ahead of him no matter which path he ultimately chooses.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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