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Young Owatonna musician to have first live concert since pandemic began
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For over a year, a young local cellist has been longing to play in front of a live audience, now this week she finally has the chance to do just that.

Owatonna resident Ingrid Tverberg will be performing her senior concert at 7 p.m. Friday at St. John Lutheran Church in Owatonna. The 17-year-old is inviting the public to her first live audience performance since February 2020, a performance she is very much looking forward to.

“I’m excited, this will be the first actual audience that I’ve played for a year,” Tverberg said.

The accomplished musician has earned a number of accolades over the years, most recently this year’s Edith Norberg Award through the Minnesota Orchestra’s Young People’s Symphony Concert Association’s (YPSCA) annual concerto competition. This isn’t her first time being recognized for her talent. Last year Tverberg was a ”Featured Artist” on Classical Minnesota Public Radio and soloed at Orchestra Hall with the Minnesota Youth Symphonies.

With limited ways to rehearse as an ensemble this year, Tverberg and her fellow musicians in the Minnesota Youth Symphonies held virtual rehearsals through Google Classroom. The ensemble of nearly 90 to 100 students were broken into smaller groups of 10 to 20. These smaller groups would virtually practice Saturday mornings, but due to varying internet speed and lag time it was impossible to play together. Instead individual students were asked to unmute their microphone and lead the group through the piece, while the others remained muted and played along.

“It was just basically playing by yourself to the screen for a couple of hours every morning,” Tverberg said about the less than ideal situation.

In January, they began meeting in person, but with social distancing between players, it made it difficult to hear other instruments and listen for musical cues. It wasn’t the same, Tverberg said.

Because the Minnesota Youth Symphonies was not rehearsing in person this past fall, Tverberg decided to join a chamber group through the St. Paul Conservatory of Music. Doing so allowed her to rehearse in person with a violinist and pianist. The Rivendell Trio advanced to the quarterfinals in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition this year.

“It’s really been a lot of fun. It’s kind of saved my sanity getting to play with actual people like that. I haven’t been able to do that for a year,” Tverberg said.

This year the YPSCA’s Concerto Competition required participants to enter via video submissions. Tverberg recorded the fourth movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in the living room of her pianist’s home. Her submission brought her to finals, which is typically hosted at Orchestra Hall, but the pandemic deterred those plans. Once again finalists were asked to record a new submission for the finals.

“I only had a week of time to then record a shorter cut of my piece,” Tverberg said.

With a very short timeline, Tverberg scrambled to find an open venue with good acoustics and a tuned piano to record her final submission. Fortunately things fell into place, she found a church in Minneapolis and some time in her pianist’s busy schedule to make the trip to the city. Over the course of a few hours the two played, recording multiple takes. Tverberg then had to determine a way to shorten the 11-minute long piece down to eight minutes, without compromising its musical integrity. In the end it all worked out and she was recognized for her work.

“A lot of the adrenaline you get from the audience, that definitely makes a difference as to how well you play,” Tverberg said. “One thing with playing in front of a camera is you have pretty much an infinite amount of times to record. Especially if you’re a stickler, which I feel like I am, it takes so long to record something.”

Performing for a camera can also be very dry, she said. With an audience, she is able to see their reactions as well as the judge’s reactions. With a recording device, subtle nuances in her performance are lost. But soon she will perform before a public audience again. On Friday, she will be playing a variety of pieces, including the piece which won her the Edith Norberg Award.