Who or what inspired you to take up the violin and make it your career?

My father is a violinist and my mother a cellist. As a small child I used to play on a spare violin as if it was a cello. When I was eight my father gave me my first five-minute lesson on how to play the violin ‘the right way round’. I liked it so much better and knew that I had to learn this instrument so I could play just like him! In the end, the inspiration to make violin playing my career came from my experience in the National Youth Orchestra. The feeling of being in the middle of such an extraordinary sound was one that I wanted to be a permanent part of my life.

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My violin teachers have all been hugely influential on my outlook. My childhood teachers Joan Penrose and Susan Collier taught me how to love my playing and how to practise effectively and efficiently, as well as giving me a really solid technical start. I always hear the voices of my two music college teachers (Yossi Zivoni and Richard Deakin) in my head while I practise and feel immense gratitude towards them for their great wisdom and encouragement. My parents’ continual love of music and performing for others is a constant inspiration.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

The greatest challenge was overcoming a long period of performance anxiety. This is something that many performers shy away from talking about, which is a shame. I think we could all help one another if we talk about it more. A few years on, I feel a much stronger and more resilient musician as a result of the experience.

More recently, I performed in Aurora Orchestra’s Prom. We played a Mozart symphony from memory. It was at once completely terrifying and exhilarating.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

Ensemble Matisse gave its Southbank Centre debut in January performing Triada by Christobal Halffter. I doubt I will ever come across a piece of chamber music so techinically challenging. We rehearsed the piece for more that forty five hours! The performance, in the presence of the composer himself, went brilliantly. We all had an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I choose repertoire based on two things: what does the concert promoter/ music society want? Which pieces am I longing to play? Then I also try very hard to programme creatively and intelligently so that there is a sense of balance, continuity and variety in every concert. Whenever possible, I try to stretch myself technically and step outside of my comfort zones.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

I absolutely love playing at the Albert Hall. I think this is mainly because I have many wonderful memories of going to listen to BBC Proms there as a teenager and longing to be on stage. Now that I am often given the opportunity to perform there, I feel so lucky! There is no feeling quite like a standing ovation at a packed Albert Hall.

For chamber music I really enjoy playing house concerts. It can be great to be so close to the audience as you get very direct feedback while you are playing. Large concert halls can feel really impersonal sometimes.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

Both to perform and listen to: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. I don’t think I could ever get bored of it.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Leonid Kavakos, Janine Jansen, Ella Fitzgerald, Roby Lakatos…

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Well – I’m afraid this one is memorable for all the wrong reasons and mainly because it was completely ridiculous…

I once accidentally got involved with a performance at an experimental art exhibition. We ended up having to perform one of Brahms’s sublime string quartets a with our wrists all chained to one another’s. It was impossible and impossibly funny. Sorry Brahms.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Some things I wish I had discovered/ realised sooner:

  1. Performing should be about your audience’s enjoyment. Getting too sidetracked by minutiae could be at the expense of them having a good time. Get your priorities in order!
  2. The most important things your teacher will teach you are the things you didn’t even know were a problem. Your teacher should be teaching you to practise. A ‘good’ lesson is not necessarily a lesson where you play well.
  3. Practise is an art. Be proud of being an amazing practiser. I love practising. I wish I had more time for it.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am preparing to give five world premieres written for my group Ensemble Matisse at the New Dots autumn event “Interference Patterns” at Kings Place on the 3rd of November. We will play four works composed in collaboration with film makers by Lisa Illean, Daniel Kidane, Ewan Campbell and Liam Taylor West. We will also give the first performance of ‘Degrees of Freedom’ by renowned Dutch composer Jan Vriend.

What is your most treasured possession?

The most treasured object in my life is definitely my violin, but this does not feel like a possession- rather more that I am its caretaker for a while. Apart from that I think my most treasured possession is my good health.

 

Violinist Francesca Barritt recently graduated with destinction as a Master of Arts from the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied with Richard Deakin and was previously a pupil of Yossi Zivoni at the Royal College of Music. Francesca was chosen to lead the symphony orchestras at both the RCM and the RAM. She has held the position of principal 2nd violinist in the prestigious Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists ensemble for the entirety of her time at the Academy and has appeared with the group at Wigmore Hall and Seoul Arts Centre, South Korea.

She has been the recipient of awards from The Stephen Bell Charitable Trust, Arts and Humanities Research Council and has been awarded the Ian Anderson, Leverhulme Orchestral Mentorship and Marjory Bunty Lempford awards by the Academy. Francesca recently participated in a masterclass with Maxim Vengerov.

Francesca has given chamber and duo performances in venues such as the Purcell Room, St. James’s Piccadilly and the Kings Place, Bath, Norfolk and Norwich and Lake District Summer Music festivals. She is also much in demand to perform with established chamber groups and has recently collaborated with section leaders of the ECO, Halle, LPO and past members of both the Allegri and Lindsay string quartets. In 2011, Francesca performed 1000 bars by Kevin Volans as part of a BBC Proms composer portrait, which was broadcast on Radio3. More recently her performance of Hugh Wood’s Horn Trio at the Bath Festival was broadcast on Radio3.

As a freelance orchestral musician, Francesca is gaining much experience through extra work with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, English Touring Opera and Opera North and her regular work with the much-acclaimed John Wilson Orchestra has included performances at the BBC Proms, various tours of Britain and several recordings for EMI.

Francesca’s recent concerto engagements have included performances of Sibelius and Brahms concertos and a series of five performances of Beethoven’s triple concerto. This season she will perform Beethoven’s violin concerto with the Stamford Chamber Orchestra.

Francesca is a member of Ensemble Matisse.

Meet the Artist……Rozenn le Trionnaire

Ensemble Matisse

 

rozenn

Who or what inspired you to take up the clarinet, and make it your career?

My parents, who are not musicians, pushed me to learn music thinking this was something I could enjoy and be good at. I took the clarinet as it was the only instrument available at my music school and luckily I loved it when I started playing in an orchestra after six months.

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing/composing?

I think my teacher at Paris Conservatoire (CRR) was the greatest influence as I entered his class as a passionate amateur and he taught me to have professional expectations.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Performing as a soloist with orchestras has always been a big challenge – not for the work I had to do on the clarinet but due to the psychological preparation required.

Which performances/compositions/recordings are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of having recorded Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and Mahler 4 for chamber ensemble with Leporello Quartet under the baton of Trevor Pinnock. I haven’t heard the result yet: it will be released in May 2013 (Linn Records).

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?

I like to play in unusual places (pubs, warehouses etc). I also enjoy very much Salle Pleyel in Paris and KKL in Lucerne where I have performed with several different orchestras.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I discovered the Finzi Concerto when I came to England. I think it is one of the best clarinet concertos ever written and I love both playing it and listening to it.

The Quatuor pour la fin du Temps by Messiaen is one of my favourite pieces of chamber music to perform. The intense and physically demanding fast and very slow movements one after the other drive me into a different state.

As an orchestral player I love to play Strauss, Debussy, Ravel and really enjoy playing Harvey, Manoury, Ives, Eotvos, Jarrell and Riley.

I’m also a contemporary music nerd and performing disturbing music is something I really like! I often go to concerts, but I have to be honest: when I’m home I listen to pop, indie, world music and French songs.

Who are your favourite musicians?

I have great respect for clarinettist Andrew Marriner who is one of the best teachers I ever met as well as being an amazing musician.

Jacques DiDonato, who was initially a drummer, and plays contemporary music like no one else.

Alain Billard for his craziness on contrabass clarinet.

Conductors: Semyon Bychkov, Peter Eotvos, Susanna Malkki.

And then Mayra Andrade, Elis Regina, Amy Winehouse, Emiliana Torrini, Feist, Buena Vista Social Club, Kings of convenience, Alt-J, Race Horses, French singers Camille and Claire Diterzi……….should I go on?

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Playing in New Delhi and being congratulated at the end by Ravi Shankar was quite something.

Pierre Boulez conducting during a general rehearsal at KKL Lucerne when he decided he was not going to do the concert and gave the baton to someone else.

Those I remember the most are not necessarily the prestigious ones. I remember better those performances that were unusual, special or amusing in some way. I have a long, long list of those.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

I’m not sure yet. I once heard “be your own best teacher.” I’m still working on that but I think it’s a good one.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am preparing an opera by Karol Beffa called Equinoxe, premiered in Mexico in March. I am also working on the next concert with Ensemble Matisse, at The Forge on the 21st of April, and will feature pieces by Steve Reich, Huw Watkins, Alfred Schnittke and Khachaturian.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Living between Paris and London, the way I do now.

What do you enjoy doing most?

I love travelling, especially when it is to give concerts. But professionally speaking I am happiest so long as there is a balance between my creative ensemble projects, orchestral work and teaching.

Ensemble Matisse perform at The Forge, Camden, London on Sunday 21 April in a programme of works by Reich, Schnittke, Watkins and Khachaturian. Further information and tickets here

Ensemble Matisse: www.ensemblematisse.com

Ensemble Matisse on YouTube

Recording of Rozenn’s duo with accordion, playing Piazzolla:

A graduate of the Conservatoire de Paris (CRR), Paris Boulogne-Billancourt (PSPBB) higher arts education centre, the Sorbonne, and the Royal Academy of London, Rozenn le Trionnaire is a keen exponent of contemporary music whose career is gaining recognition on both sides of the Channel. Previously associate principal clarinet in Ostinato Orchestra, she is now regularly invited to play with orchestras such as Donna Musica, Prométhée, the Star Pop Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, which she joined in 2012. Rozenn has also worked with various acclaimed conductors including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eotvos, Semyon Bychkov, Jac Van Steen, Susanna Malkki, Pablo Heras-Casado and Clement Power.

Rozenn has a strong interest in 20th-century repertoire, and has featured as a soloist in performances conducted by Heinz Holliger and Kaspar Zehnder, as well as a rendition of Maratka’s Concerto for clarinet with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, in the presence of the composer himself. In 2012 she recorded a chamber version of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Debussy’s ‘Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune’, under the baton of Trevor Pinnock.

In addition to her involvement with orchestras, Rozenn is a devoted chamber musician. In 2010 she co-founded the Ensemble Matisse and the Duo Kadañs, which went on to win the Woodbrass prize at the FNAPEC European competition. She has since been invited to play at a large number of festivals including London’s Kings Place Festival, ‘La Folle Journée’ in Nantes, and Musique en Velay, where she performed the French première of Eliott Carter’s clarinet quintet with strings. Other venues include the prestigious Salle Pleyel, Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, and KKL in Lucerne.

Rozenn actively seeks new opportunities to expand her contemporary repertoire, and she is particularly passionate about solo clarinet music. In 2011 she was invited to perform Pierre Boulez’s ‘Domaines’ for solo clarinet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Her performance, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, was a success and she was hailed a “prodigiously gifted young clarinettist” (The Times) showing a “dynamic and fascinating” playing (Musicalcriticism). Rozenn was also invited to perform a live broadcast of Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Abîme des Oiseaux’ on France Musique, and Steve Reich’s ‘New York Counterpoint’ at the Louise Blouin Institute. Her continuing commitment to contemporary music has also seen her work with composers such as Philippe Manoury, Michael Jarrell, Isabel Mundry, Elena Firsova, Dan Dediu and Philip Cashian.

Having studied with the likes of Richard Vieille, Mark Van de Wiel and Alain Damiens, Rozenn has recently begun teaching at King’s College London.