December 1, 2023

Korff School viola student performs with Michael Bublé

Andrea Alvarado Troncoso backstage at the Michael Bublé concert in Mexico City in October. Troncoso was principal violist of the strings section at his three Mexico City concerts. Courtesy photo.

Andrea Alvarado Troncoso backstage at the Michael Bublé concert in Mexico City in October. Troncoso was principal violist of the strings section at his three Mexico City concerts. Courtesy photo.

Glenn Korff School of Music student Andrea Alvarado Troncoso, a first-year doctor of musical arts student in viola performance, crossed an item off her bucket list when she performed with Michael Bublé in Mexico City.

Troncoso was invited to perform with the four-time Grammy Award winner for a set of three concerts in Mexico City, Mexico, Oct. 12-14 that concluded his “Higher Tour,” which has been ongoing since the spring of 2022.

Bublé’s tour orchestra includes female string players who change in every country, along with his regular tour band. Troncoso was the principal violist of the 12-string ensemble in Mexico City, which included four first violins, four second violins, two violas and two cellos.

“It was exciting and fulfilling and full of energy,” Troncoso said. “I was feeding off the level of the show, the musicians. It was tough, and that was amazing to experience and participate.”

It had also been a dream of hers to play with Bublé.

“This is a dream that I have just playing specifically with Michael Bublé,” she said. “I wasn’t sure it would happen. It was so specific, and it was because my Mom said one day, ‘I want you to play with Michael Bublé.’ And I said, ‘yes, I will do it,’ as if it were that easy. It was there in my heart. And then when I got this message, I was very excited.

“I’ve liked his music since I was quite young, and my parents as well. They live in Mexico City, and they were able to go to one of the concerts, so that was truly special. They were just having the time of their lives.”

Aside from playing with his band, she also joined in singing with Bublé on “When You’re Smiling.”

“In the middle of the song, there is a chorus dialogue in which we would all put our instruments down and sing,” she said. “All of a sudden, he jumped next to my chair, looked me in the eyes and leaned the microphone to me for those lines. So I can not only say that I played with Michael Bublé, but also sang with him in front of 15,000 people. That was fun.”

Troncoso previously has played in Mexico City with Latin American pop and rock artists, but those opportunities dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sometimes they would need strings,” she said. “People knew I was playing. I was good at it and had a presence.”

The Bublé shows were surreal at times, and the energy of the crowd was felt on stage.

“Being there with everyone with so much high energy and screaming and smiling and all of that — it’s just instantly contagious. It’s similar to that when one is watching a concert, but I also felt particularly privileged to have the experience of watching from the stage. I also get to see the audience. When they turn their phone lights on, it’s like the sky turning on with hundreds of stars.”

Troncoso gained a lot from the experience.

“I got to meet new people and make connections and new friends around the world,” she said. “I had this thought of maybe if I get to tour with someone for a long time, I will get tired and will hate playing the same music so many times in a row. But then this musician, who has been with Michael Bublé since the very beginning, since 20 years ago, he mentioned that he doesn’t get tired of the music. He might get tired of being homesick or missing his wife, but the show just brings him so much joy even after 20 years and even after a year and a half of touring. That just brought peace to my heart knowing that I could do this.”

Troncoso received support from the Glenn Korff School of Music and Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts to be able to do it.

“They were really supportive, and if it had not been for them, I don’t know if I would have had these experiences,” she said.

Clark Potter, professor in the School of Music, said this was a great experience for Troncoso.

“It was quite an honor for Andrea to be asked to play with Michael Bublé, which is a testament of how hard she has worked to attain that level of expertise,” he said. “Andrea has made a mark on the School of Music in a very short time. She is a marvelous addition to the group of violas we have here, and she is showing excellent leadership with them. She is obviously very skilled as a violist and is an even more pleasant person.”