Talking with Sarah Moon

On April 27th, Sarah Yunji Moon comes back to Saskatoon for one final farewell.  Sarah was the SSO’s Principal Flute for two seasons, and while we’re sad to see her go, we’re thrilled to have one last chance to make music with her!

She’ll be performing the dynamic flute concerto “Departures”, by Canadian composer Christos Hatzis.

We had a chance to ask her a few questions about this departure:

SSO: Being that the piece is called Departures, and sadly you’re departing the SSO, does this give extra special meaning to this performance?

SM: It certainly does, although when we chose this concerto together in March last year, I had no idea that I was going to be leaving. I am sad that this is going to be my last performance with the SSO after two seasons, but I also feel lucky to have another chance to connect and share this amazing Canadian concerto with the audience that have been so supportive.

SSO: What is your favourite memory of your time with the SSO?

SM: Since I originally moved to Saskatoon to join the SSO, I will miss being part of the orchestra the most. The SSO’s various concert series really pushed me to grow as a musician- I got to perform a lot of chamber music that required intimate and delicate musical communication with my co-workers, and also had to get better at speaking to younger audience members in elementary schools. I also loved performing a lot of contemporary music to an eager and/or slightly intoxicated audience at After Dark.

If I have to pick just one memory, it would be when a little boy from one of the school shows quietly raised his hand to ask an innocent question that blew all of our minds. We had just performed a mini version of John

Cage’s famously silent 4’33’’, and had a discussion about how every sound can be used to make music. The innocent question was, ‘if every sound is music, when does the music stop?’

SSO: What drives you towards challenging modern repertoire for the flute?

SM: I love playing modern repertoire because I often find it more relevant to my life, as a Korean immigrant living in 21st century Canada, specializing in western European classical music. Performing modern repertoire helps me find relevance as a performer in the community I live in. It can simply mean asking my composer friends if they have written any flute music I can program at my next concert. I commissioned a student composer to write for the school flute choir, because she is a living Canadian female composer who had a chance to have her work premiered by her colleagues. Listening to Departures for the first time on the internet was such an exciting experience, I can only imagine it must be how the Beatles fans felt when they listen to the new record for the first time. I hope to share my excitement for the concerto with the audience.

SSO: The flute is often seen as a “sweet” and “gentle” instrument, but in Departures we see many sides of this expressive instrument – do you this it will catch the audience off guard?

SM: Oh, yes! This concerto is full of sweet and gentle melodies, and explosive jazzy licks and bluesy tunes as well. Imagine what kind of music Mozart or Beethoven would have been written if they grew up listening to Michael Jackson, indigenous music from every corner of the world, Celine Dion and jazz. Departures is the perfect example of 21st century Canadian classical music that demonstrates the perfect balance of the traditional and new music.

SSO: What are you going to miss most about Saskatoon?

SM: Perogies, the sky, and Saskatoon Berry pies!

Catch Sarah in action with the SSO April 27th in our concert featuring Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony.

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