Victoria Luperi will perform Kovacs Hommage a Manuel de Falla for Solo Clarinet for the April 24 Front Row concert.
By Victoria Luperi, PSO Associate Principal Clarinet
My musical journey started in Córdoba, Argentina. I grew up in a music loving family, and although my parents were not classically trained, my siblings and I were always encouraged to follow our musical curiosity. When I was five my older sister began piano lessons and I asked if I could join also. We continued our musical education with recorder and guitar lessons, elementary music theory courses and our local children’s choir practice. There was constant musical activity in our home.
One day, when I was eight years old, as we were listening to the classical music radio station, I heard a mesmerizing sound.
I had no idea what instrument it was, but I was completely taken by it and knew I just HAD to play it. In order to identify it, my parents took me to a youth orchestra rehearsal. I heard it again and practically jumped out of my chair! It was the clarinet, and it made my made my heart sing. I was very fortunate to be able to start my clarinet studies with a fantastic teacher, Oscar Gieco, at the conservatory in Córdoba. Our lessons were so interesting and fun, and he made learning repertoire like a game. Practicing was a beautiful process of discovery.
What followed was a whirlwind journey across the world. I had the opportunity to study with John McCaw in London for a month when I was 15.
I spent a summer at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and loved it so much I decided to audition for their year-round boarding school without telling my parents!
Before heading to the Interlochen Arts Academy for my senior year, I spent my junior year of high school as a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student in Madison, WI, where I lived with three amazing—and very different—host families. After spending a magical year at Interlochen, I attended the University of Southern California where I studied with Yehuda Gilad for a year, followed by four years at the Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia, where I trained with Donald Montanaro. Sprinkled in the mix were summers spent performing at Tanglewood, the Marlboro Festival in Vermont as well as tours and residencies in Europe.
Those years were the foundation of my professional career, which began with my first full time appointment as Principal of the Winnipeg Symphony, followed by ten years as Principal Clarinet of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Incidentally, it was in Fort Worth where I met my husband, Andrés Franco, in my first season with the orchestra. We dated for six weeks before he proposed, and ten days later we were married. Seven years later we made our journey to Pittsburgh. He was appointed associate conductor of the PSO in 2015, and in 2016 I began my tenure in the PSO as Associate Principal and Principal E-flat Clarinet.
We both feel so fortunate to be in this great city and our experiences in the orchestra and in the Pittsburgh community have been incredible!
This last year has been challenging for everyone. I especially miss making music for our amazing friends in the audience. I look forward to being able to spend an evening Heinz Hall together joined by our love for this powerful art form, letting the music lift all of our spirits. I get a bit teary eyed just thinking about how special that moment will be. Until then, I hope you are all safe and well. Take good care… and see you soon!