Violin to play into concertmaster’s future

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Violin to play into concertmaster’s future

Kate Marani performs with the Grady Orchestra at the third day of the Winter Concert Series.

Kate Marani performs with the Grady Orchestra at the third day of the Winter Concert Series.

Kate Marani performs with the Grady Orchestra at the third day of the Winter Concert Series.

Kate Marani performs with the Grady Orchestra at the third day of the Winter Concert Series.

The Southerner

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By Grace Power

Toddlers’ life aspirations and career choices rarely last more than a week—most last less than a few minutes. Kate Marani, however, has pursued a steady goal throughout most of her lifetime: to become a professional violinist.

Ever since a visit to the symphony 13 years ago, Marani has held violin with consistent fondness.

“I saw a beautiful woman [playing violin] in a solo. … I was enamoured by her,” Marani, now 18, said. After persistently pestering her parents for a violin, she was met with a denial.

“They said, ‘Tomorrow she’ll want to be an astronaut,’” Marani said.

After a year of begging for a violin, however, Marani got one, and new life ambition began to take shape.

Fast forward 13 years. Kate entered her senior year at Grady as concertmaster and first chair for the philharmonic orchestra, the advanced orchestra class. She plans to continue feeding her appetite for music in college and perhaps afterwards.

Despite her interest in violin, Marani did not apply to any conservatory schools because she did not want to be retricted to only one interest.

“I definitely want to start my years after high school with a focus on violin but also focusing on anything else that interests me,” Marani said.

Marani has applied for music programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Miami University, the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina, Boston University and Belmont University, the last of which she applied to early action and has already been accepted. Since admission to Belmont was not binding, Marani is still waiting for other acceptances.

“The more I do it, the more I see it in my future,” Marani said. She currently participates in the philharmonic orchestra at Grady, the Grady Knights String Five, the Emory Youth Symphony and a Vega chamber quartet at Emory University as well. She also runs a performance business with a friend.

Marani serves as the concertmaster for the school’s philharmonic and full orchestra. This position is the first chair of first violin and an important leadership role in the orchestra, described as “the conductor’s second command” by sophomore Mary Claire Morris, violinist in the philharmonic orchestra.

“She’s the strongest leader; she’s so committed to music,” said Sergio Rodriguez, the music director at Grady. “It is very important to know that we can count on her assets.”

Rodriguez is not the only one who recognizes and admires Marani’s commintment.

“Kate is an amazing player,” Morris said. “She is devoted and has been playing a long time … Her playing is very strong, making it easy to follow her lead when playing.”

The position of concertmaster includes giving cues when performers need them and clarification of points that Rodriguez makes, as well as tuning the whole orchestra before concerts.

This year, to create a smaller orchestra more available for school events, Marani and Rodriguez organized a quintet comprised of Marani, junior Alice Anita,  senior Javier Carbajal and freshmen Justin Oliver and Uzuki Kakinuma. Dubbed the Grady Knights String Five, or GKS5, the quintet meets once a week.

Marani routinely shares her talent with crowds through her business, K Squared. The name comes from the two founders’ names: Kate and Kelly Hagan, who formed their group in fifth grade. The duo plays as background music at weddings, showers, galas, fundraisers and garden parties.

“We really learned a lot: everyone wants something different,” said Marani, who explained that one of the biggest challenges is to reach the right volume to be heard throughout the event but still be background music.

K Squared has played at events held at the Atlanta History Center and the High Museum.

“Whatever she does in other groups helps us, too,” Rodriguez said. “She’s always motivated and sharp on skills. She’s a very strong leader.”




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