Health Sciences Campus

He fine-tunes teeth by day, a violin at night

The ECU School of Dental Medicine's Dr. Waldemar de Rijk will play in an orchestra concert Oct. 11

By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

Dr. Waldemar de Rijk
GREENVILLE, N.C.  (Oct. 6, 2011)  —  When the Pitt Community College Symphony Orchestra takes the stage for its fall concert next week, there with his violin will be one of East Carolina University's newest faculty members: Dr. Waldemar de Rijk.

"When you're sitting in the orchestra, it's the best stereo you can have," de Rijk, a clinical associate professor at the School of Dental Medicine, said recently. "You're hearing all the parts."

Born and raised in the Netherlands, de Rijk (pronounced de-rake) began playing violin as a boy, encouraged by his father, who also played. He played trombone at his high school, which didn't have an orchestra.

"They say if you can't do anything else, you become a second trombone," he said with a laugh.

He came to the United States to study physics at the University of Nebraska, receiving his doctorate in 1974 and a dental degree in 1977. After moving to Maryland, he learned of a county symphony, and began playing violin with the group. He has also played in orchestras in DuPage County, Ill., and Germantown, Tenn.

When he moved here earlier this year, he was glad to learn his new home had a community orchestra. "I've always enjoyed community work," he said.

The PCC orchestra, he said, is "just about at the same level (as his previous orchestras), and the only reason I say that is it's such a young orchestra," de Rijk said the PCC group.

In its fifth season, the orchestra has approximately 70 members, said conductor Larry Spell.

"He plays wonderfully," Spell said of de Rijk. "The first violin section is usually the more challenging parts for the violin."

De Rijk had similar praise for Spell, saying the conductor knows how to help players improve without criticizing their play.

"I'm still always trying to get better," said de Rijk, who plays the same German-made violin his father played. "There's always room for improvement."

De Rijk said his favorite composers are Haydn and Tchaikovsky. His dental specialty is prosthodontics, which deals with the restoration and replacement of teeth. He joined the School of Dental Medicine in February.

The PCC orchestra's fall concert is Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Faith Assembly of God Church, 5005 Corey Road in Winterville. Tickets are $7 each and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Students (PCC, ECU and grade school) are admitted free. For more information about the orchestra and its concerts, call 252-493-7789.

Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2482