Honors Projects


Gracie HayesFollow


Historically, soloists from the Western art music tradition were expected to improvise a virtuosic passage during their performance of a concerto—that is, an extensive orchestral work featuring an instrumental soloist. These improvised passages, called cadenzas, were performed unaccompanied by the soloist during a prominent cadence and were derived from the ornamentation that occurred naturally during cadences in vocal arias. Contemporary composers write out these virtuosic passages for performers, who are rarely expected to improvise during a performance, with the exception of jazz musicians. When performing works dating from before the Romantic period, musicians are left with a dilemma. Should they rely on a cadenza that was composed by another performer or composer, or improvise a cadenza of their own? In the case of Mozart's violin concertos, which have no surviving original cadenzas, modern performers most often choose to perform cadenzas composed by nineteenth-century violinist Joseph Joachim, despite its deviance from eighteenth-century performance practice. This project uses primary and secondary sources to create a historically-informed cadenza for the first movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Violin Concerto in A major.


Music Performance Studies


Music Performance

First Advisor

Dr. Eftychia Papanikolaou

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Dr. Penny Thompson Kruse

Second Advisor Department

Music Performance Studies

Publication Date

Spring 4-21-2024