Zoe Wolfe: Winter concert wonder


Memphis Youth Symphony Program

Soloist Zoe Wolfe fingers her way through the intricate and emotional notes of the Lalo violin concerto in concert. Months of preparation went into the performance, including Wolfe’s participation in the Memphis Youth Symphony’s concerto competition, which won her spot in the concert season.

For concerto competition winner Zoe Wolfe, performance is nothing new. After 14 years of playing the violin, it becomes the norm. Still, playing as a soloist is something new entirely. 

“I had never played so much as a solo, so to be on stage as a soloist was a sudden change, to say the least,” Wolfe (11) said.

Even getting to the point of playing in front of an audience is difficult as well.

“There were times I thought I should give up, that I couldn’t do it,” Wolfe said. “Before the first rehearsal, even, I was plagued by thoughts that I wasn’t good enough, that by some chance they had chosen wrong.”

Still, the passion and euphoria that playing the violin has given Wolfe was enough to drive her through any initial nerves.

“My heart beat faster than I thought it could, and my mind almost cleared. I realized that I had to perform, not focus on what notes I missed, not worry about an upcoming passage, just play in the moment. At that moment, I didn’t want to do anything else,” Wolfe said.

All the emotions involved in giving away part of oneself to the audience have driven a number of soloists and even non-solo artists as well, and Wolfe was none too different come her time.

“Honestly, if someone could put that feeling in a pill, the whole world would be addicted,” Wolfe said. “When I was playing, fear, elation, worry, wonder, and absolute joy coursed through me…Playing the Lalo violin concerto with the Memphis Youth Symphony was one of the best experiences of my life.”