LITTLE ROCK — Conway residents who keep up with talented musicians in the area may already know about Charlotte Crosmer.
From the time she was 8, Crosmer, now 18, has wowed audiences with her prowess on the fiddle, often performing with her family asthe "Fiddlesticks." She appeared on Prairie Home Companion when the National Public Radio show came to Hot Springs in 2004. Crosmer was also the winner of the Arkansas State Old Time Fiddle Championship held in the fall of 2003 in Mountain View. She won her age group and then the overall championship.
Crosmer is still wowing audiences with the same instrument, but she's changed her style of music. She is now a violinist, and will perform a solo Saturday as the Conway Symphony Orchestra takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. at the Donald W. Reynolds PerformanceHall at the University of Central Arkansas for "Popular Classics," its main-stage season finale.
Crosmer, a music major in her second year at UCA, will perform Saint-Saens' "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for solo violin and orchestra" as the last selection of the first half of the concert. "I really love this piece," she said. "I've wanted to play it with an orchestra since I first heard it."
CSO Music Director Israel Getzov describes Crosmer as "quite the talent.
"I've watched her grow into a fabulous violinist - one of the rising stars in Arkansas who now has risen," he said.
CSO Concertmaster Linda Hsu, who is Crosmer's violin instructor at UCA, agrees. "She's very talented," Hsu said. "She has great tone, very warm. She's very musical. She's also multitalented; she sings and plays flute."
"I hope to take the opera workshop next year, as well as perform with the orchestra," said Crosmer, adding that shealso plays in the UCA Chamber Orchestra, which she serves as concertmaster. She won the UCA Concerto Competition last year, which allows her to perform solo on Saturday with the Conway Symphony Orchestra.
"I'm nervous about the performance," Crosmer said. To prepare for a performance, Crosmer said she warms up a little, gets some water and tries to relax. "I actually do better under pressure," Crosmer said with a grin. "Nervous, for me, is a good thing," she said.
Crosmer will not play with the orchestra during the first half of the concert. She said she would perform her solo "in a pretty, green dress," then rush back stage at intermission to change into her traditional black dress in order to play with her fellow CSO members during the second half of the concert.
Crosmer won the Carl Forsberg Outstanding Musician Award at UCA and is attending UCA on a Baum Scholarship for students with a 4.0 grade-point average. She and several other CSO members are going to China for two weeks to visit andperform through an exchange program with the East China Normal University. Getzov will accompany the group.
Crosmer, a daughter of Paul and Janet Crosmer, has two older brothers who played with the CSO. Jonathan Crosmer, 23, plays the viola and is working on a doctorate in music at the University of Lincoln. Jeremy Crosmer, 21 plays the cello and is working on his master's degree in music at the University of Michigan. Both are graduates of Hendrix College. The youngest member of the Crosmer family, 16-year-old Annalisa, is still at home; she plays piano and violin. All of the Crosmer children have been home-schooled.
Getzov said Saturday night's concert would feature familiar music everyone has heard, not pieces someone else "thinks" they should know. He's chosen popular classical tunes like the love theme from Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet," the overture from the "Barber of Seville" - made famous by Bugs Bunny - and the first movement of Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" because they are recognizable by everyone.
"These are catchy tunes, great pieces that have found their way into popular culture," said Getzov. "Concert-goers will get a chance to hear the music in its original context; they'll experience it with the excitement of a live orchestra. With the overture from the "Barber of Seville," they'll be surprised how many popular tunes come from the same piece."
Tickets to Saturday night's concert are available at the Reynolds Box Office, by phone at (501) 450-3265 or toll free at (866) 810-0012, and online at www.uca.edu/tickets. Prices range from $5 to $35, with discounts for children, students and the UCA community. First Security Bank sponsors the concert.