Around the Island

A young cellist entertains at Senior Center

JO ANN KIRKLAND PHOTO | Katya Wolosoff playing cello at the Senior Center.
JO ANN KIRKLAND PHOTO | Katya Wolosoff playing cello at the Senior Center.

A hush fell over the room as a young cellist mesmerized the members of the audience. Islander Katya Wolosoff, a junior at the Ross School and recently elected student body president, played a program of classical music — all Bach — entertaining the members of the Silver Circle Social Club at the Senior Activity Center on April 29.

In the audience were her proud parents, Margaret Garrett, a fine arts painter, and Bruce Wolosoff, a concert pianist and composer.

Katya spoke about how she came up with the idea.“It hit me one day that the beautiful thing about music is that it can communicate very deep feelings. I can play the cello in my practice room by myself, but how much more meaningful would it be if I played it for people who don’t get to hear live music very often? I came up with my idea for the program “Share The Joy” because I felt like I wanted to make some sort of contribution to the community and playing the cello is something that I know how to do.

“When I call the senior centers to talk about my idea, the ladies who answer the phone are always so surprised and thrilled that a teenager wants to do this for them. I feel like more of us should be helping out and giving back to the community in any way we can.

“I have played at the East Hampton and Bridgehampton senior centers. Both were really great places; the audiences were very engaged. And I loved playing on Shelter Island for the people I grew up around.

“While I’m playing, it can be both frightening and exhilarating. I can see people’s faces while I play, and when someone smiles, it just feels like I’m doing something right.

“The feedback I’ve gotten from the seniors has been mostly questions about my age, schooling and cello training. People sometimes tell me stories of when they learned instruments, or how their children or grandchildren study music. A frequent comment I get is that they played when they were younger and wished they hadn’t stopped.”

During the question and answer period following the concert, when asked how many hours a day she practiced, she said, “I don’t practice as much as he wants me to,” pointing to her dad in the audience.

She said she started when she was five years old and has a strong memory of laying in a basket as an infant and listening to her dad play the piano. She loves Bach and played her favorite pieces, movements from the Bach Cello Suites, including the prelude from Suite 1 and concluded with the gigue from the 3rd suite.

An audience member asked Katya what her cello bow was made of. She answered, “Horsehair, but not from any horses around here.”