Laraine Kaizer '98 Performs with Celine Dion Orchestra in Las Vegas

September 28, 2011

Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsev '98 is currently on a three-year contract to play violin in Celine Dion's orchestra, performing at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The orchestra includes 10 violins, three violas and three cellos, whose players are featured on moving risers during the shows.

"There is one number where we are all on stools snapping our fingers and singing, and at the end we are running out on stage with our instruments, dancing and playing at the same time," Kaizer-Viazovtsev said.

The sound check for a show begins at 5:00 p.m. After this, the performers get an hour and a half to do their own hair and make-up and also to get dressed in custom-made outfits.

"Celine's production is extremely respectful and attentive to all the needs and concerns of the musicians," Kaizer-Viazovtsev said.

Even with this hectic schedule, she is ecstatic to be a part of such a high-profile show.

"This is one of the few shows showcasing live musicians, so it is a rare treat to be a part of this production. I feel very lucky to have this great job," Kaizer-Viazovtsev said.

But because there are only 70 shows each year, Kaizer-Viazovtsev has not quit her many day jobs, which include teaching at various schools in the Las Vegas area and playing in various well-known groups such as the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Venetian/Pallazo Wedding Services and the Bishr Hijazi Arabic Ensemble.

So how does she balance everything?

"I generally focus heavily on whatever is coming up next, leaving me with three of four things at once. For example, this week I spent most of the time practicing for my upcoming solo recital at UNLV, but I taught private students, had classes at the Las Vegas Academy, Nevada School of the Arts and UNLV and played two weddings at the Venetian and Mandalay Bay," Kaizer-Viazovtsev said.

In being able to do all of this, she credits what she learned at Bradley University, Marcia Henry-Liebenow, music faculty, professors she had outside of the music department and her parents.

"Getting a well-rounded education at Bradley helped shape and improve me as a human being as well as a musician. I learned the most from the two greatest teachers in my life who happen to work at Bradley, my parents, Dr. Edward Kaizer and Janet Kaizer," Kaizer-Viazovtsev said.

Kaizer-Viazovtsev has a very busy life, but achieves a visceral fulfillment through her work.

"I love sharing music and art with people, and I love being presented with new problems that need solving," Kaizer-Viazovtsev said.

Story by Ivy Hillman '12