Those with refined tastes in food and music have an opportunity to savor both Sunday when two accomplished concert violinists perform at Halyard’s with Coastal Symphony of Georgia musicians.
Dr. Sinisa Ciric, concertmaster of the Savannah Philharmonic, and Micah Gangwer, assistant concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. at Sound Bites, a fund-raiser for the Coastal Symphony.
They have played solo in the U.S. and Europe and have occasionally played together since they met in 2006 through a mutual friend, Gangwer said. At the time, both were in grad school, Sinisa at the University of Georgia and Gangwer at the University of South Carolina.
Ciric, who has been playing violin since he was 8, had wanted to play guitar or clarinet, but an elementary school audition committee intervened.
“They told my parents that I have a very good musical hearing, sense of rhythm and musical intuition, that it would be a shame if I didn’t try to start with a violin. The rest is history,’’ he said.
He began playing at 8, but didn’t begin practicing seriously until he was at least 12. After his first competition and sharing a prize with a couple of other kids his age, Ciric said, he decided to put more effort into his preparation.
Admitted to a Music High School in his native Serbia, he continued to improve and won firsts and seconds in national competitions.
“I always say I am a product of a very good educational system that was in place in my home country of Serbia at the time. Without that support from teachers and my parents I’d never [have made] it this far,’’ Ciric said.
He now holds a doctorate in violin and viola performance from the University of Georgia.
Gangwer said he came to the violin as a child when his mother read him a Dr. Seuss book in which a monkey played a violin, “and I decided I wanted to try that for myself.” He began studying at 4 and decided to make it his career with plans to “teach in academia after college.’’ The music, however, took him elsewhere.
He still has a couple of students, but Gangwer said he really enjoys rehearsing and playing classical concerts each week as a professional.
When he was younger, jazz and bluegrass played a large role in his life. Asked about his favorites in those genres, Gangwer said that in jazz he liked anything in big band and that he likes Stuff Smith among current performers and Miles Davis and John Coltrane as classic jazz musicians.
As for bluegrass, Gangwer says he likes it all but that, growing up, “Boil Them Cabbage Down,’’ was a favorite. If pressed to perform a bluegrass fiddle tune, “maybe I will dust that one off,” he said.
Now, Gangwer said, he confines his public performances to classical music.
“I like performing anything really, but I really love playing symphonic music, the feeling of performing it live is unlike anything else,’’ he said.
Asked for a specific composition that he favors, Gangwer said it would choose “anything symphonic with nice concertmaster solos,’’ such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade or Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben.”
Coastal Symphony also promises some of Ciric’s arrangements of traditional Eastern European melodies Sunday night as he and Gangwer play with the Coastal Symphony. Ciric is a founding member of the Balkan Quartet, which includes several of those arrangements in its repertoire.
Christine Emde says the event is a fund-raiser but also an opportunity for the Coastal Symphony to “showcase our talented musicians.”
The performance will be a first of sorts for Ciric and Gangwer. Although they have played together many times in orchestras, Ciric said it is the first time they will play as a violin duo.
“Micah is a wonderful violinist and, above all, a dear friend. I may very much looking forward to playing with him and exploring this repertoire,’’ Ciric said. “Who knows? Maybe we drop everything that we are doing right now and go touring.”
After the performance, the audience will be treated to some of appetizers and drinks “as only Halyard’s can create them,’’ Emde said.