f you’re expecting a hearts-and-flowers Valentine’s concert to be marked only by lush, sweet, slow arrangements, then hold onto your box of chocolates when one of the nation’s top emerging violinists raises an energetic bow to love.
Ariel Horowitz, 21, will join the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic on Feb. 3 for one classic piece guaranteed to make a heart or two race with excitement. Part of the The Carmen Fantasy op. 25, by Pablo de Sarasate, could leave listeners as breathless as a budding romance.
“One of my old music teachers used to call it being a really hot fiddle player,” said Horowitz, laughing as she spoke by phone from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in music.
That colorful tag would begin to describe Horowitz, who won top prize at the Stulberg and Irving M. Klein international string competitions, as well as the prestigious Juilliard School’s Violin Concerto Competition. Her instructors have included such notables as famed violinist Itzhak Perlman.
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She will join soprano Cathy Berns Rund for several numbers, including “My Funny Valentine.” The pair teamed with Philharmonic Music Director David Bowden on this program four years ago when Bowden also led the Carmel Philharmonic. Horowitz calls it “a wonderful experience” to work with a vocalist “with such a gorgeous voice” as Rund.
“That concert taught me a lot about collaborating with another musician,” Horowitz said.
Bowden, a veteran in the orchestral world, admires Horowitz for more than her musical gifts.
“It’s very easy in the world of classical music to be very self-centered,” Bowden said, adding that a life of success must be marked by hours and hours of “selfish” practice, often leaving time for precious little else for touring musicians. “But Ariel keeps looking for opportunities to make a difference in the everyday lives of others.
“In fact, I would say that she is consistently very others-oriented,” he added.
Horowitz’s selflessness began with volunteering in soup kitchens as a high schooler. She followed that form of outreach with a food drive and fundraising recital for the needy she and a few friends organized in her first semester the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City. Then, inspired by her mother’s work on a Navajo reservation in Crown Point, New Mexico, she launched The Heartbeat Project, through which she teaches music at a day camp for the Native American elementary school students.
No wonder one of Horowitz’s photos shows a sticker affixed to her violin case with the message: “Being nice to people is a really good idea.”
“Social issues are extremely important to me,” she said.
Horowitz has begun creating multi-media performances using her multiple skill set — she is a passionate poet, a talented painter and also a dancer — to benefit the needy and others.
“That has been really intellectually and artistically stimulating in a different way than just playing a concerto,” she said. “And it feels much more relevant, too.”
Horowitz mentioned that, if she seems solidly grounded, she can thank her mother, who demanded Horowitz live the life of a normal young person by cleaning her room and going to peers’ events and avoiding a sour attitude or ungratefulness, even though her gift surfaced soon after she began the violin at age 4.
She sounds more like an everyday college student when Horowitz highlights the music she’s recently been listening to: the classic rock of Queen and The Beatles. Plus, Bowden has heard her improv sessions that whimsically include Harry Potter soundtrack music.
“My Spotify account is one of the best investments I’ve made in myself,” Horowitz said.
As a young musician listening to contemporary tunes, she regularly notices orchestras still working to attract the younger generation.
“I think a lot of orchestras and established music presenters and organizations can get far too concerned about drawing in diverse youth more than they are concerned about reaching out to diverse youth,” Horowitz said. “Often, we have been going about audience diversity in a little bit of a backward way, trying to tell young people, ‘Brahms is important. You must come hear Brahms.’
“And they’re thinking, ‘This not relevant to my life experience.’ I feel like it’s up to especially the young people in the music field to look and ask, ‘How can we make our music and performances more accessible? And how can we explain what we’re doing with our music in a way that helps people to feel all the emotions that we take for granted when we think about a work by Brahms or Bach?’” she added.
Who: Violinist Ariel Horowitz and vocalist Cathy Berns Rund performing with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic in “All For Love.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3.
Where: Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St. in Columbus.
Musically speaking: With Philharmonic Music Director David Bowden, Rund and Horowitz at 6:45 p.m.
Tickets: $5 to $50, available at the cip.org.