Heather Konietzki, the co-concert master of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point orchestra, has a long relationship with the violin that blossomed out of practice and drive.
Konietzki plays violin in the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and a string quartet she created with UWSP students.
“It’s a fiery passion,” Konietzki said. “You have this little fire you need to keep rekindling and burning inside you.”
Konietzki began playing violin in fourth grade. By the end of eight grade, she was taking private lessons at the Lawrence Academy of Music in Appleton with Professor Barbara Beechey.
“Once I started getting into it,” Konietzki said “I realized it was something I wanted to do for a living.”
This passion caused Konietzki to strive for high school leadership roles like concert master. Instead of being intimidated by the challenge, she embraced it.
Beechey taught for 15 years at the Lawrence Academy of Music and came to UWSP in the fall of 2014 to teach viola. Beechey has witnessed Konietzki’s determination to become a great violinist.
“She worked very hard in high school in order to be ready for college auditions,” Beechey said.When Konietzki was a senior in high school, she sat first chair in violin.
Another person who attested to Konietzki’s drive was Professor Steven Bjella, the coordinator of strings in the Music Department. Bjella was privy to Konietzki’s transformation from high school to college.
Many music students pour their hearts into their performances. What set Konietzki apart from the other students, though, was her choice of music. Bjella was amazed when Konietzki selected pieces that were seldom played due to the technical aspects.
“She is drawn to pieces that are more technically challenging,” Bjella said.
Due to the demand of consistent practice, Konietzki is engulfed in music. In her studio class, she receives support and criticism from students and professors to help her hone in her skills.
Every music performance major at UWSP attends studio classes where they perform weekly repertoires in front of the class. Bjella noticed that in studio classes, Konietzki serves as a role model for her peers.
“She always has good observations to share about her colleagues’ music,” Bjella said.
Bjella said Konietzki supports students with friendliness and a keen ear for music.
Even though Konietzki has outstanding leadership abilities, Beechey said she is humble when it comes to her musical talents.
Konietzki wants to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado-Boulder. After graduate school, she wants to spread her love of music by operating her own private music studio.
She hopes she will be teaching but will still touch the ears of her audience by performing in various symphonies. Wherever Konietzki goes, she will take her music with her and teach its importance to the soul.
“Music and I,” Konietzki said. “We’ve had a history.”