Sant'Ambrogio, who joins the Columbus Symphony Orchestra for concerts this weekend featuring Dvorak’s Concerto in B Minor (and who has graced central Ohio stages on numerous occasions as a member of the Eroica Trio), told The Beat she treats repertoire the way an actor might treat a role.
“Music for me is always cinematic in my head,” she explained. “It’s something that evokes an emotion in me to then translate to the audience.”
The cellist is considering taking this to the next level, drawing inspiration from the music of Chopin she recorded last year. (Sant’Ambrogio spoke to The Beat from Nashville, where she was participating in the final mixing and editing of this music for release on CD this spring.)
“I’d like to make three short films based on three of the Chopin pieces,” she said. “While I was playing this music on recitals, I was having dreams with the music as soundtrack.
“So I’ve started writing a script and scouting locations. I met (actor/filmmaker) Edward Burns and he said how easy it can be to make a film today. So I figure I aim for the stars and I may fall short and hit the moon.”
Music inspiring visuals is a follow-up to the inspiration for the repertoire itself. Sant’Ambrogio said she has always sought out music to play that would help her express herself.
“From a very young age, it has been almost therapeutic to play music that expressed what’s going on inside of me,” she explained. “I have to play what my soul is crying out for at a particular time, so I’m looking for music that does that.”
Then she proved she’s a cellist at heart, whatever her other interests.
“Cellists are lucky. Because the cello is so versatile, great composers who want to make a profound statement will often give that to the cello.”
The Dvorak is no exception, she said.
“It’s one of the great masterpieces,” Sant’Ambrogio said. “So emotional, so passionate. And it’s fun to play, where the cello comes in as this heroic voice after this lush orchestral opening.
“Sometimes I start crying even before I come in,” she added.
Makes you wonder what pictures might playing in her head.