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Meet the Orchestra: Cindy Beard, Violist

Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra (JCSO) is comprised of some of the finest instrumentalists in America, all of whom followed unique paths. In fifth grade, teachers told Johns Creek resident, Cindy Beard, she had to play an instrument, but she said she’d rather have been playing ball. She reluctantly chose the viola, without realizing the impact it would make on her future. 

It wasn’t an organic start, but Cindy was a natural. She continued to play through grade school and eventually decided to pursue a career in music, which led her to the University of North Texas to earn a degree in viola performance.

When Cindy moved to Johns Creek more than 30 years ago, she played as the principal violist with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra but desired to play closer to home. The stars aligned, when she heard a new professional orchestra in her hometown was seeking a principal violist.  That was more than 10 years ago – she’s been with JCSO ever since.

Beard, along with Sarah Kapps (cello), Alison James (violin) and Adelaide Federici (violin), are one of the most malleable groups within JCSO, the string quartet. Their compact size, allows them to perform intimate chamber music, educational programs, fundraisers, and more. One of Cindy’s favorite programs is “Music Around the World,” where the string quartet introduces students at local schools to music throughout the ages. When she’s not performing, Cindy teaches private music lessons to students in hopes it might inspire them put down the ball and pick up strings like she did 5th grade.  

JCSO is a large organization of musicians, but Cindy feels more connected to the community than ever. She’s constantly running into fellow musicians during performances throughout the metro Atlanta. Whether you attend a JCSO concert or a chamber event, it will be an unforgettable performance: April 25 – Johns Creek International Festival – JCSO will perform at the FREE event at 1:15 p.m. located at Heisman Field, across from the Atlanta Athletic Club. May 1-2 – Atlanta Master Chorale – Members of JCSO will join Atlanta Master Chorale, performing Beethoven: Missa Solemnis at Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory.

Listen To This

Cindy's Favorite Pieces

  1. Faure'Requiem: It is French, in a minor key, and most importantly, features the violas.
  2. Mozart Requiem: It's a fabulous piece of work, in the key of d minor. There is a mystery surrounding this piece. Mozart died before it was completed.
  3. Libertango by Piazzola: It makes me want to dance!
  4. Beethoven Symphony #6, #7 & #9: No reason, just love them, I can't choose just one.
  5. Tchaikovsky Symphony #6: It's a very passionate work.

Five Musical Compositions I Love

JCSO Maestro Wayne Baughman

Like most musicians I know, I find it impossible to pick a single favorite composition or even a top-five or top ten, maybe not even a top 100.  Here are five that I have grown to love over many years.

1.      Ein Deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) by Johannes Brahms. Frequently referred to as the “Protestant Requiem” because of its use of selected scriptures from the German Bible rather than the traditional Catholic Requiem Mass.  Many listeners find its message refreshing, soothing and hopeful.

2.      Symphony No. 1 in D minor (“The Titan”) by Gustav Mahler.  In my opinion, the symphonic form achieves near perfection in terms of structure, instrumentation and sheer harmonic and melodic beauty in the first of his nine complete symphonies.  Somewhat underappreciated in his own time, Mahler’s music gained tremendous popularity in the mid-twentieth century establishing him as a true genius.

3.      Der Rosenkavalier Suite by Richard Strauss.  This twenty-four-minute composition condenses everything that’s wonderful about Strauss’s three hour plus comic opera to create one of the most satisfying orchestral suites ever written.  I could listen to this music once a day forever and not get tired of hearing it.

4.      Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light) by Morten Lauridsen.  This setting of portions of the Catholic Requiem Mass is about as close to heaven as one could possibly get.  Lauridsen’s harmonic treatment of chant-like melodies is mesmerizing and other-worldly.  This music is an ideal accompaniment for serious contemplation.  

5.      Cinema Paradiso Main Theme by Ennio Morricone, arrangement by Takayuki HattoriIf you cried while watching the movie, you’ll continue crying when you hear this fabulous arrangement of Morricone’s unforgettable theme.  This arrangement was created for violinist, Gil Shaham, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

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