'You don’t get better if you don’t practice'
It was her first competition and Liliana Belluk-Orlikow had been nervous. But when she heard the other six cellists in her category perform, she knew she had a chance to win. “Some of them were better than others,” Liliana said. “but a few hadn’t practiced that much and were struggling with the notes.” Liliana is 10 years old and on Wednesday, April 11, she was awarded the first prize in the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival’s 10 and under Unaccompanied Bach category. She played Suite No. 1 in G Major, Prelude, by J.S. Bach. The adjudicator said that her playing had been “thoughtful” and “gentle.”
Liliana has been playing the cello since she was six years old. At that time, she had been signed up for violin lessons but, when she heard another girl play the cello, she asked to switch. “I really like the sound of the cello,” she says.
Liliana practices twice a day, half an hour in the morning and half an hour in afternoon. “I try not to miss a day,” she says with a smile. “You can’t get better if you don’t practice.” With a schedule like that and added trips to the mainland for her lesson, Liliana is glad to be a student at the Island Discovery Learning Centre where her classes allow her more flexibility and time. “Otherwise I would have to get up at 6:30 a.m. and practice before school,” she says.
Liliana moved to Bowen Island with her family in June, 2010 from King Township, Ontario. Her first cello teacher was Tricia Balmer in Toronto. After that, she studied with Ariel Barnes in Vancouver. Since August 2011, she has been signed up for lessons with Bo Peng in North Vancouver. “ My first teacher in Ontario focused a lot on posture,” Liliana recalls. “She was strict but nice about it. My second teacher wanted me to feel the music – that was quite a change for me because my first teacher basically told me how to play it. My third teacher tells me to play what’s on the page but to feel it too. So this is a bit of both.”
In addition to playing the cello, Liliana enjoys reading, horseback riding, skiing and bicycling. She also likes to listen to cello music played by a variety of performers to get a sense of the different interpretations. “Some do it in proper time but others do it faster or slower in different parts,” she says.
Liliana is not the only one in her family who loves to play music. Her brother Nicolas, who is turning 13 this Saturday, plays the violin and they like to play chamber music duets together. Her mom, Lois, plays organ and piano is on hand to accompany them.
This year, Liliana prepares for her Grade 6 cello exam in June.