ROSWELL, Ga. – When the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra plays its spring concert Saturday, April 27, it will welcome back an old friend.
Zach Mansell was always interested in music. Not surprising since his mother is an accomplished musician and music teacher.
It seemed natural when she pushed a violin in front of him at age 7 to learn to play. Soon, however, the Roswell High School and Indiana University graduate put down the violin for the larger cello.
“It wasn’t a really complicated reason,” Mansell admitted. “I just noticed that when the violinists in class played, teachers had them play standing up. The cellists got to sit down.
“I got tired of standing up all the time,” he said.
Who can say how destiny brings the right person to the right instrument, but it certainly seems to have happened.
As a young student musician, Mansell was invited to play with the North Fulton-based Ludwig Symphony.
“He was a sensation even as a student,” said Maestro Thomas Ludwig, the former director of the New York Symphony. “He is a really special musician, and we are so proud to have him back as a soloist. He played for us about six years ago as a soloist.”
Asked if one could tell he was gifted at an early age, Ludwig said it was obvious to all.
“There was no doubt he would be good. Some people just stand out at a young age. He was always so gifted, you knew this was a special talent,” he said.
Mansell is about to graduate from the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music with a graduate degree in cello performance.
He has been invited to play almost every summer in orchestras in several festivals, including the University of Maryland, Ithaca, N.Y. (cello only), the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany and the Round Top International Festival in Texas.
Mansell said he was looking forward to a homecoming playing with the Ludwig Orchestra.
“I’m really looking forward to coming home,” he said.
He will play Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme,” which is very much in the form of his ballet music, he said. It is a piece that will demonstrate so many of the technical facets of the cello in a short period of time – about 18 minutes.
“It’s really a dazzling piece,” Mansell said.
The Ludwig Symphony Orchestra concert is billed as “A Cherry Blossom Spring Fling” for the closing concert of its 15th season.
The evening’s performance also features internationally acclaimed Norwegian pianist-John Chen interpreting Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor and local Atlanta soprano-Perri Montane performing arias by Mozart and Wagner.
This article was published in the Revue & News April 25, 2013 edition