Sarah Grimes played with LAMF in 2015 and returned for another season in 2017. Sarah grew up in the Twin Cities and picked up the violin at age four, before joining the second violin section of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2016.
You grew up and began your early musical studies in the Twin Cities. What drew you to start playing the violin?
My parents are both musicians, so learning an instrument was on my mind from an early age. My parents took me to kindermusik classes as a toddler, and kids’ concerts at the orchestra when I was a few years older. The violin always appealed to me because of its timbre, vocal quality and virtuosity — but at that age, I think I just wanted to be different from my parents and have my own instrument!
What has your musical journey been, and how did you end up back here in MN?
As I was finishing my degree at Northwestern, I took a substitute violin audition for the Minnesota Orchestra. That led me to move back to my hometown, and during the next few years I was able to play as a substitute with the Minnesota Orchestra, and also spent a year playing as a guest musician in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. I kept auditioning, and joined the Minnesota Orchestra full-time in 2016.
What’s it like performing with your hometown orchestra?
It’s surreal, because as a music kid I went to hear the Minnesota Orchestra all the time, and looked to the musicians for inspiration. In high school, I studied violin with Sarah Kwak, formerly associate concertmaster of Minnesota Orchestra, and got a firsthand look at the extremely high artistic level and work ethic that I always knew was a requirement of the job. The fact that I ended up here feels sometimes like coming home — but most of the time I still have to pinch myself!
What do you enjoy about the program you’ll be playing at the season announcement concert?
I always like playing Tchaikovsky’s chamber works, like the Serenade for Strings and Souvenir de Florence, because he uses so many compositional techniques that wouldn’t have the same effect in a large orchestra. There’s a lot of intricate, playful dialogue between voices, which is one of the most fun things to highlight as a chamber musician. Still, we get to enjoy Tchaikovsky’s hallmark sweeping, romantic melodies and thrilling energy. I’m also really excited to play the Respighi, a piece I was unfamiliar with until I heard Clara Osowski perform it last year, and was completely blown away!
What do you enjoy most about playing at LAMF?
LAMF is not only an artistically satisfying place to play, but it has such a special sense of community that really enriches the experience for us musicians. The audience is so supportive and excited, and that energy is infectious. It’s been so fun to get to know fellow musicians, audience members and our amazing summer hosts as well!