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Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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‘Faust’ and Foremost

Temptation will be in the air as the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra presents “Faust Times Six,” featuring 21-year-old Grapevine native Sarah Vendsel on violin. Vendsel, a junior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, will perform Concert Fantasy on Gounod’s Faust by Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate. The piece is based on a theme taken from 19th-century French composer Charles Gounod’s opera Faust, based on the legend of the 16th-century doctor said to have bargained away his soul for knowledge and power.

“It’s very operatic, very showy,” Vendsel says. “It is about temptation, and the music dramatizes the experience.”

Robert Carter Austin, music director for the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, says “Faust Times Six” will feature six renditions by different composers of the fabled character’s struggle. The audience can interpret from the music if Faust succumbs to temptation or wins redemption in the end.

Vendsel has been gaining recognition as a gifted violinist. Her honors include winning the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition in 1997, and winning the Dallas Music Teacher’s Association Competition in 1998.

She has been studying violin since she was 5 years old.

“The story is, I was watching Sesame Street on television when I saw Itzhak Perlman playing violin, and I was just captivated by it,” Vendsel says. “I told my mom I wanted to play and she started me on lessons.”

Vendsel says she also enjoys passing on her skills to children.

“Teaching is more about giving to someone,” she says. “There is something about taking what you’ve learned and showing someone else.”

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