Rochelle Walton – Grand Dame of the Violin on the Monterey Peninsula

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Pianists Adam & Terri Petrocelli, and violinists Edie Ellison, Johnny Lim, Rochelle Walton, Steve Yoo and Peter Mellinger

For anybody to say that they are now, or have been in the past, a pupil of violinist/teacher Rochelle Walton says a lot about the student. As a graduate of the Juilliard School and one-time assistant to the legendary Ivan Galamian at Julliard, Walton’s former students can be found in successful careers as soloists and principal players in string quartets and major orchestras throughout the world.

Now in her nineties, Walton has the energy and stamina of a teenager and is well known always to give 100% to her students. Last Thursday evening at PA 125 at Hartnell College, we had an opportunity to hear four of her outstanding teenage students, three of whom are graduating from high school in June: Edie Ellison headed for Brigham Young University, Johnny Lim enrolled in Cornell in September, and Peter Mellinger still debating whether to attend Oberlin or Pomona. Also appearing in this concert was the very talented Steve Yoo, only a 10th grader at the moment, thus he will be staying with Walton for another two years before departing for college.

In case you are thinking that since this was a “Student Recital” we were hearing staples of the violin teaching repertoire — studies by Henryk Wieniawski and recital bonbons by Fritz Kreisler — you would be very much mistaken. Instead, we heard major works from the violin literature: Edie Ellison in the Sarabande from Bach’s Suite No. 2 in D Minor for unaccompanied violin, Edie Ellison and Peter Mellinger in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major, Johnny Lim playing the third movement from the Brahms Violin Sonata in D Minor, Steve Yoo playing the first movement of Cesar Franck’s great violin sonata, and Steve Yoo performing an arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise.” Most importantly, these were not just student performances, but highly polished and artistic playing by mature young artists.

A great asset to this concert was the participation by the talented pianists Adam & Terri Petrocelli collaborating in some difficult repertoire with distinction. They are formidable pianists and uncompromising musicians, who although only having arrived on the Monterey Peninsula approximately ten years ago, have already begun to earn an significant reputation for their artistry.

This concert must have been a bittersweet occasion for Walton, for to be losing three such talented young students as they depart for college is a difficult loss. However, knowing Walton, we can assume there are more talented young students coming up from the ranks.

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Archived in these categories: Chamber music, Classical Era, Concerto, Romantic Era, Strings, Violin, Youth.
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