Lucie Ticho didn’t have to be pushed into playing at age 2 when her parents gave her a small cardboard cello.
Now 16 and a sophomore at Hinsdale Central, Ticho was quite pleased to have a musical instrument to play.
“My brother played the violin, and I always looked up to him,” she said. “My dad played the violin, and my mom played the viola, so there was always music around our house. We had a family string quartet.”
Ticho’s brother, Gideon, is now a freshman at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and only plays on a recreational basis. But his little sister hasn’t stopped playing the cello.
“I never would have started her that young, but she was so interested; she was always at her brother’s lessons,” said Ticho’s mother, Kathy Ticho.
Along with playing in the orchestra at Central and being involved in several symphony orchestras, Ticho has attended several summer orchestra camps and has participated in many competitions.
Jeff Wirtz, director of Central’s music department and the school’s orchestra director, called Ticho “the most talented musician I’ve had the pleasure of teaching.”
“She’s an incredibly gifted cellist,” Wirtz said. “She is just so talented and humble about it.”
As the recipient of a 2013 New Horizons Fellowship, Ticho attended the Aspen Music Festival’s eight-week summer program in 2013. Her 2014 summer already is scheduled to include a trip to China with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Ticho’s next competition is the national level of the Music Teachers National Association March 22-24 in Chicago. She earned a spot in the national competition by winning the East Central Division competition in Ohio in early January and the Illinois state competition in November 2013.
“I do enjoy the competitions; it’s a way to get my name out to musical instructors,” Ticho said. “I am competitive, but I keep a good spirit about it.”
Ticho, who also has studied classical ballet, said her experiences in the Central orchestra and attending summer camps have done more than offered her someplace to play.
“Most of my close friends are in the orchestra,” she said. “The camps are great because I improve most when I’m around other great musicians.”
Ticho said she believes to be an outstanding cellist, you need the technical ability to convey what the composer wants, but you also have to bring the audience into the experience.
Ticho recalls loving the experience of music from a very young age.
“Most people around my age don’t get exposed to classical music, but I’ve always liked it,” she said. “I really like all kinds of music, except for rap and country.”
Ticho said she usually spend about two hours each day practicing her cello.
“It is a lot of time that I put into it, but I love it. I enjoy being able to interpret the message of composers I play. I love the cello because it has a huge range for a string instrument; it can convey a huge range of emotions.”
Ticho said her career goal is to land a job with an orchestra that plays for operas, musicals, or film scores. For now, she’s enjoying playing wherever, and whenever she can.