The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra is one of the busiest groups of artists in Charleston during the annual 17-day Festival. Their daily schedules take them from rehearsals to performances—sometimes on repeat! We caught up with violinist, Maria Semes, and asked her a few questions about her experience so far.

NAME: Maria Semes


1. What performance that you are not performing in are you most excited to see this Festival?

I just saw Kát’a the other night, and I really enjoyed it!

2. What prompted you to audition for the Spoleto Festival Orchestra?

I have had many friends that have attended in the past and I had heard so many great things about it, that I wanted to be part of the festival too!

3. What inspired you to start playing the violin?

My mom used to play the harp and my dad used to play the bass, and I wanted to play an instrument, but something that was easier to carry around!

4. What is your favorite piece you are playing and why?

I had a great time playing and working on Michael Nyman’s string quartet no. 3.  It was an exciting opportunity to be able to meet and talk to him after the concert. 

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CLICK HERE to learn more about the Orchestra’s audition process. The final orchestral concert lead by Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy, Beethoven Transformed, is this evening (June 3) at Sottile Theatre. Members of the Orchestra will continue to perform for Kát’a Kabanová (June 6), Facing Goya (June 4 and 7), and Music In Time (June 5).