Elizabeth Messier, Viola: 2022 Senior Spotlight

Photo by Keith MacDonald

Elizabeth Messier, viola
Essex High School

VT Youth Orchestra – 5 years
VT Youth Philharmonia – 2 years
VT Youth Strings – 2 years


We are excited to start off our Class of 2022 Senior Spotlight series with violist Elizabeth Messier! Elizabeth has been with the VYOA since fourth grade when she auditioned into VT Youth Strings after participating in Music Day Camp (now Summer Symphony Camp). Always conscientious and responsible, we could always count on her to come in and mentor our younger string students; she inspired other students to work hard by leading by example. Elizabeth is one of our four Senior Soloists this season and will be performing Bruch’s Romanze for Viola and Orchestra on the VYO Concert, Something Suite, on February 13 at 3pm at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts.

Why do you like your instrument & how did you choose it?
I love the viola because of its dark, rich tone. It’s an extremely versatile instrument, capable of reaching both high and low notes, and is the perfect mix of the violin and cello. Prior to hearing a viola in concert, I was unsure about what other instrument I wanted to play (I already played piano), but after I heard the beautiful sound of the viola, I knew it would be the perfect instrument for me.

What role does music play in your life?
Music has played a huge role in my life. It has opened up so many doors for me and connected with me with an amazing community of people both inside and outside of Vermont. Music can be taken in so many different directions, and one of my favorite things about being a musician is sharing my passion for music with others and watching the impact music has on others. After graduating, I hope to continue exploring new ways to use music to form connections and advocating for the importance of music education.

What was your favorite concert as a performer with the VYOA?
My favorite concert as a performer with the VYOA was the final performance of the 2017-2018 season, where the VYO performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in its entirety. That was the first time I had played a full symphony, and after working on each movement individually throughout the season, it was an extremely gratifying experience to play the complete work. As an eighth grader in my first season in VYO, I was grateful to have the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of a prominent orchestral work, and that season really set the tone for the rest of my time in the VYOA.

A note from Music Director Jeff Domoto






“After a few quiet weeks following the VYO’s return from our Icelandic tour, the VYOA’s 2015-16 season kicked off at the start of August at hyperspeed, filling Elley-Long with fantastic music making, teaching, and communityIMG_0006 building. The first week of August featured the launch of our new Discovery Strings day camp for students in Grades 1-5 who have 6 months of experience on their instrument. Under the direction of Kathleen Kono, the fifteen students had a fun and enriching week working with super teachers and VYOA alumni Martha Ellerman and Amanda Milne. We learned that a participant level of fewer than 20 students makes for an ideal learning environment and will make this a feature of the camp going forward.

The following week saw the return of our VYO and VYP students (alongside many new members!), starting with our new twoIMG_0061-day chamber music intensive. Between working with coach Emily Taubl and me, the students received 10 hours of coaching and gave excellent performances of their pieces at the end of the second day. In the future, we’ll be looking to offer these experiences throughout the year. Reveille started onIMG_0060 Wednesday, featuring intensive full rehearsals, sectionals, and activities that help the orchestra members get to know each other and form a strong sense of ensemble identity. The VYO and VYP fall concert weekend is only 5 weeks away, but both ensembles are already well on their way to presenting polished and spirited performances!

This past week has been dedicated to our two -day VYS and VYO Chorus mini-camps, setting up both groups to begin regular rehearsals next month at full speed.

In our efforts to improve our visibility in theBusy Hallway community and increase performance opportunities for our students, we have launched the VYO String Squad, an ad hoc orchestra performing fun and only moderately challenging music; with at least 20 students participating at launch, we expect to have enough players available to field a strong group for each ofthe performing opportunities we’re looking at, including Church Street, the VYOA Autumn Promenade, University Mall, Farmer’s Night, and Wake Robin. Caleb Pillsbury, our new VYOC conductor, is developing similar additional performance events for that group.

Looking forward to seeing you at our IMG_0045concerts this year!


Best regards,


Jeff Domoto, Music Director

Vermont Youth Orchestra Association”


Ruslan & Lyudmila Overture

Composer Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), Russian
Full title Ruslan and Ludmila (Руслан и Людмила)
Excerpt title Overture
Date 1842, St Petersburg
Score Click here to download;
For purchase (Eulenburg mini score), Sheetmusicplus or Compumusic
Recordings Listing here
Tempos Our target: half=80/quarter=160
Source Based on Pushkin’s poem
Setting Ukraine, 10th century
Genre Magic opera
Plot in brief On the day of her wedding to the Russian knight Ruslan, Lyudmila, daughter of the Grand Prince of Kiev, is kidnapped by the sorcerer Chernomor. Ruslan battles many foes and overcomes many obstacles to rescue her.
Context Glinka was the first Russian composer to gain international prominence. This was his second and final opera.











Valery Gergiev and the Maryinsky Orchestra – very fast!


Paavo Järvi and the Israel Philharmonic

Yevgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic – audio only, one of the greatest conductor/orchestra combinations of the 20th century

Zubin Mehta and the Berlin Philharmonic at the Waldbühne