Colorado Symphony’s Claude Sim On The ‘Joy and Gratitude’ Of Playing Violin

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5min 35sec
Photo: Claude Sim, violinist
Claude Sim, associate concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony

The Colorado Symphony’s Claude Sim moves this weekend from his regular seat as the orchestra’s associate concertmaster to the front of the stage at Boettcher Concert Hall.

Sim plays Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto in a concert that will air live on CPR Classical at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The concerto, a fiery showstopper written in 1940, requires "35 minutes of Olympic-sized stamina,” Sim told CPR Classical's Jean Inaba.

The program, which features conductor Jayce Ogren and will also be performed Saturday, includes:

  • Jean Sibelius: Romance in C major for Strings
  • Sibelius: "Finlandia"
  • Sibelius: "Valse Triste" from "Kuolema"
  • Khachaturian: Violin Concerto
  • Modest Mussorgsky/Maurice Ravel: "Pictures at an Exhibition"

Sim spoke with Inaba about his eclectic musical tastes, his love for the Khachaturian concerto and being a featured soloist. Click on the audio link above to listen.

Interview highlights:

On whether he’s nervous about being the soloist in front of his Colorado Symphony colleagues

“It’s actually a feeling of joy and gratitude that I feel, first and foremost, to be able to stand up and perform for anyone. It’s a great honor and it’s a great responsibility and privilege. Of course, there’s nerves involved. And I think there would be something a little off if there were zero nerves. … I think it just shows a commitment to play something at the highest possible level you can offer.”

On why he loves being a violinist

“I think there’s a reason why so many composers chose the violin to be their vehicle for expressing what they had to say. So the gift of being able to pick up this beautiful piece of wood, some steel, catgut, whatever it may be -- and to resonate it with a horse’s tail -- it’s a glorious feeling.”