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Who or what inspired you to take up the violin, and pursue a career in music? 

I was growing up around music. My parents are musicians and they practised at home, so when I received a little Chinese Strad violin for my 4th birthday, I thought music was something every one did. Music eventually turned out to be a big part of my everyday life and naturally progressed into becoming my profession.

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

When I was a child, probably my parents. I was going on tours with my father, who is a clarinettist, and was present at his rehearsals and concerts; he played lots of chamber music and as a soloist. My mother was a cellist in the orchestra of Ljubljana’s Opera House, which was almost like my kindergarten.

Some of my teachers, like the legendary Ruggiero Ricci, influenced me a lot and so did cellist Bernard Greenhouse and violist Rivka Golani. It is amazing how much we learn from other instrumentalists.

Chamber music was for me probably one of the best ways to learn about musicianship. It works both ways; you can be inspired and you can inspire. It is a conversation and a great way of training the intuition! I have been probably influenced by all people I have ever played chamber music with and especially by working and performing with world class artists, particularly Yuri Bashmet and Sreten Krstic.

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

The most memorable challenges have been:

  • Performing half of the concert with someone else’s violin after mine exploded (the tailpiece flew off during the concert with my string quartet)
  • Last minute call to step in for a concert (actually a couple of hours before the beginning, at the London’s King’s Place).
  • Being asked to dance while performing a solo piece with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in China with Tan Dun in front of 5000 people

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?  

Brahms Violin Sonata No.3 from the Wigmore Hall with pianist Simon Lane,

Bach Chaconne, Franck Violin Sonata from the concert in Girona with pianist Maria Canyigueral and Vivaldi double concertos with Sreten Krstic and the Slovenian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Which particular works do you think you play best? 

I believe I play best what I really like. For example: Brahms violin sonatas, Baroque; Bach solo sonatas, Vivaldi concertos…

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

These are a combination of my wish list, my standard repertoire and particular programmes that some concert promoters ask for. I always make a few drafts of various recital programmes and a few concertos.

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

My favourite venue is always the most recent one as I am still feeling the energy from the concert. So, a recent venue my violin particularly liked was the Lisinski Hall in Zagreb. I don’t know the reason why, but apparently my Da la Costa sounded really strong but sweet and warm. I also enjoy playing chamber music in smaller halls; the intimate setting brings audience closer to the performer and that creates a special atmosphere (the Wigmore Hall).

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

Bach Harpsichord concerto in D minor, Schubert String Quintet in C major, Schubert Piano Trio in E flat major, Brahms Piano Trio No.1 op.8, Shostakovich Symphonies, Prokofiev Piano concerto No.2, Prokofiev Violin concerto No.1

Who are your favourite musicians? 

Ivry Gitlis, Martha Argerich, Glen Gould, Janine Jansen…

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

About six years ago I was performing Mozart Violin concerto in Dartington and just before the orchestra tutti  I finished my solo with a big show off gesture and my bow slipped from my hand, flying into the orchestra. Fortunately the tutti gave me enough time to pick it up and return to the position just before my next entrance… Some of the audience thought we were putting on a show and were asking: ”how many times did you rehearse the part where you throw the bow into the orchestra?”

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

We all know it is hard work pursuing career in music. But following our hearts and not giviving up is the key! We are so lucky to be doing something so beautiful; music is a world without borders, where all nations meet and connect with universal language. It is worth it!

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

10 years ago (!)

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Love + Freedom + Creativity + roof over my head = perfect happiness

What is your most treasured possession? 

Generosity. I would never give it away!

What do you enjoy doing most? 

Visiting wonderful places of the world and performing

What is your present state of mind? 

United state

Lana Trotovsek’s new CD of music for violin and piano by Granados, Franck, Finzi and Skerjanc, with pianist Maria Canyigueral, is available now.

Lana Trotovsek was a student of Ruggiero Ricci in Mozarteum Salzburg. In September 2014 she appeared in two concerts with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and made her debut with Valery Gergiev and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in 2012 with Prokofiev Concerto No.1

Recent performances have included a recital in the Wigmore Hall, the Prokofiev Violin Concerto with the LSO and Gianandrea Noseda, performance of the violin concerto by Tan Dun under his baton with Orchestra Teatro Verdi, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Tchaikovsky concerto with RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra and conductor George Pehlivanian, Tchaikovsky concerto with Sarajevo Philharmonic and conductor Uros Lajovic, Brahms concerto with Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Michigan in USA, Beethoven concerto with Zagreb Philharmonic in Lisinski Hall with conductor Hans Graf and Mendelssohn concerto with Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Dirk Brosse in USA.

 Trotovsek has performed in the Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw Frits Phillips in Eindhoven and elsewhere in Europe, China, UAE and USA with a number of orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Moscow Soloists, Slovenian Philharmonic, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, RTS Symphony Orchestra Belgrade, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Concert Verein Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Slovenian Philharmonic among others.

Her performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Arte TV (France) and RTV (Slovenia). Lana has recorded for Meridian, Signum, Champs Hill and Hedone records.

She started to play the violin when she was 4, with teacher Majda Jamsek. At the age of 17, Lana was taken under the auspices of Ruggiero Ricci, who was her mentor for 18 months at the Academy Mozarteum Salzburg. She has also been guided by Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel, Pierre Amoyal, Tasmin Little, Georgy Pauk, Edith Peinemann, Bernard Greenhouse and Menahem Pressler and has studied with Volodja Balzalorsky and Primoz Novsak at the Academy of Music Ljubljana,  Vasko Vassilev and Rivka Golani at Trinity College of Music and at the Royal College of Music in London with Itzhak Rashkovsky.

Lana Trotovšek was the recipient of the prestigious Prešeren Award from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, which she received for her performance of the Khachaturian violin concerto in Slovenian Philharmonic Hall with Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under George Pehlivanian in 2005.

Lana is an assistent professor at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London in the class of Boris Brovtsyn and in the class of Volodja Balzalorsky at the Academy of Music Ljubljana, Slovenia.

She plays on Pietro Antonio dalla Costa violin made in 1750 on loan from a private benefactor.

www.lanatrotovsek.info

 


 

rachel_podger_photo
(Photo: Jonas Sacks)

Who or what inspired you to take up the violin, and pursue a career in music?

Playing or hearing music around me was such a normal occurrence when I was growing up. From an early age I was involved in many concerts a year, whether playing or singing, that I didn’t need to choose whether to do music; the choice was more about which directions within music to take, and also where to study after school in Germany.

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

Peter Werner, a Eurythmy teacher and conductor at the Steiner school I went to in Kassel, Germany was an important influence on me. He had enormously creative energy which sometimes became feverish. His rehearsal technique was engaging and involved every player in the (big) school orchestra, and he taught me how to listen. I remember hearing Gidon Kremer and Reinhard Goebel in Kassel and being stuck by their different sound worlds and charismata.  And then of course my violin teacher at the Guildhall School of Music, David Takeno, who was much more than a violin teacher, but connoisseur of all musical styles with an uncanny musical intelligence, knowledge and generosity in his teaching.

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

Apart from playing concerts when I’m jetlagged or ill (!), the hardest thing for me was playing Bach solo recitals after I had my first baby, (15 years ago) when I could hear her screaming backstage because the milk had run out, and all my instincts were telling me to run to her – but I was in the middle of the C major Fugue!!

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

Tricky one, as there are always things you want to play again when you come off the stage… But I quite like the Biber Passacaglia on my disc the ‘Guardian Angel’ and also the Bach A minor Concerto with my group Brecon Baroque on the Bach Violin concerto disc (both Channel Classics).

Which particular works do you think you play best?

That’s another tricky one to answer… I commit myself entirely to whatever it is I’m playing, and I adore most of what’s on the musical menu. But Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi stand out for me…

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

Repertoire choices are often decided by the theme of a festival, or the preferences of a promoter, recording plans and the recording back catalogue, so in the end there actually isn’t that much choice left! Who knows, if I had a completely new season to choose without any strings attached (as it were!) I might come up with Schubert and Brahms!

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

There are a few concert halls I’ve played in that seem to make you play like a dream…one of them is the Symphony Hall in Boston, another the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and then I absolutely adore playing at the Wigmore Hall in London.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I adore listening to styles I don’t get to play like polyphony, music from the Renaissance, symphonic repertoire, Jazz…I get to listen to some pop too since I have teenage daughters…I always wake up to ‘Breakfast’ on  BBC Radio 3 and look forward to their ‘Bach before 7’ slot, but am continually intrigued by all I get to hear.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Creative ones! I’ve been lucky to play/work with many of them…Trevor Pinnock, Gary Cooper, Pamela Thorby, Richard Egarr, Phoebe Carrai, Elizabeth Blumenstock, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Jane Rogers, Alison McGillivray, Marcin Swiatkiewicz, Robert Hollingworth, Julian Podger (yes, my brother!), Alfredo Bernadini and many more…and then there’s the amazing Kris Bezuidenhout!

What is your most memorable concert experience?

There are many amazing moments I’ve been lucky to be part of, and often while performing with a larger group of musicians when there is a sense of unity within the music making.

Once while playing the Biber Mystery Sonatas in concert I was struck by the physicality in the ‘Crucifixion’ Sonata and got so involved in that aspect that I didn’t hear the applause afterwards and just stood there for a while (or so I’m told!) looking like I’d been the one crucified…

Another time playing the ‘Erbarme Dich ‘ aria from the Matthew Passion with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert when I was pregnant and my unborn baby was utterly still while I stood up alongside the alto and played that heartfelt piece about mercy. Afterwards when I sat down the baby kicked and danced to the rest of the piece!

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

Practise intelligently, i.e. use your time well and efficiently and set yourself goals, even if it’s within a ten minute time frame, or even within one phrase. The relationship between musical intention and execution is essential, and it’s good to ask yourself how you’ll best get from one to the other. Aimless practice might help some mechanical workings, but is less effective. If your musical intention is unclear or confused, read the score in your head, sing it or parts of it, imagine how it might sound, play one part and sing the other, read it like a book on the train! Self-belief is utterly important, but so is an acute self-awareness. Lastly: try to keep the big picture in view!

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

Happy, healthy, loving life and playing music.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness is fleeting – I’d like to make sure I never miss one of those uplifting moments that seem to come out of nowhere and are a complete gift.

What is your most treasured possession?

My violin.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Looking at the sunset over the Brecon Beacons sipping a glass of white wine with my partner.

What is your present state of mind?

Looking forward to getting home! (Am writing this on a plane after a concert with EUBO in Regensburg!)

Rachel Podger performs in the Music at Paxton Festival on 21 July 2016. Further information here

Over the last two decades Rachel Podger has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical periods and has recently been described as “the queen of the baroque violin” (Sunday Times). In October 2015 Rachel was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize. She was educated in Germany and in England at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti.

Rachel Podger’s website

Who or what inspired you to take up the violin and pursue a career in music?

My mother studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London and my dad loves classical music so they really wanted me to learn the violin. Sadly I was hoping for tap dancing lessons at six years old so I think the first few weeks with my violin were quite disappointing for me. I have had the last laugh though as I just started private tap tuition in January fulfilling my life long dream! Let’s just say I don’t think I was destined for Broadway but amazingly I’m still on good terms with my neighbours.

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

I had three amazing teachers who all worked in top orchestras which I think drew me to that area of music, Beryl Auty who taught me until I was 15 and sadly passed away last year. Belinda Bunt-Broughton who regaled many tales of life in London orchestras and the session world and then Erich Gruenberg at the Royal Academy who at one time led the LSO. But I would say meeting Iona Brown when she directed National Youth Chamber Orchestra was a turning point. She heard me lead the NYO in Mahler 3 at the Proms and invited me to tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra the following month in the USA. I missed the first five weeks as a student at the RAM but this invaluable opportunity shaped my love of orchestras, from the playing side, and just as importantly, the camaraderie. I really would say hand on heart that those experiences of music making as a teenager have stayed with me today. 

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

Working hard for my LSO audition. I had been playing in the orchestra firstly as part of their student string experience scheme, then as an extra player and I loved it so much but there was no vacancy. I freelanced for a couple of years until a job became available and of course by then I desperately wanted it so I really had to make the hard work and audition count. I can honestly say I was terrified. Working for auditions is such a tough thing, it’s an unreal situation hence I was really happy to write a post for the Strad magazine last year.  http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/how-to-be-successful-in-an-orchestral-audition/

and last month I gave a talk with a colleague in the Barbican concert hall as part of the LSO’s international violin festival about how to prepare and get through auditions without a feeling of dread! http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/strad-panel-discussion-surviving-orchestral-auditions/

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of? 

Three years ago the LSO asked me to perform a duo recital at LSO St Luke’s as they wanted to stream the concert live online having not used that technology before. That was immense fun performing with my friend and colleague Rhys Watkins and I was proud to think they trusted tutti players to do a good job. When you are playing full time in an orchestra, solo and chamber opportunities don’t come round very often and you do feel somewhat exposed in these situations. You can’t help but think, “where are the other 90 people I’m supposed to share the stage with?!” But I do like to challenge myself when I can to keep things ticking over. I have another opportunity on 26th June at LSO St Luke’s, this time with another LSO player Philip Nolte who will perform on violin and viola. The recital will also be streamed live over the internet so hopefully it’ll be a success.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I was always a big fan of virtuoso music as a student which means in the orchestra I prefer playing romantic and twentieth century music with fantastic violin writing such a Mahler, Richard Strauss and Prokofiev. I guess I always liked to show off and that has stayed with me! I also love playing film music, I think the orchestra sounds fantastic recording and performing big soundtracks which is good as in my time in the orchestra we’ve recorded at least fifty at Abbey Road and Air studios. 

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

Being in an orchestra that area is all taken care of! I look in the schedule which stretches a couple of years in advance and I play what’s asked to the best of my ability, sometimes with great joy and sometimes I make a note to take off a particular piece next time it comes round if I haven’t enjoyed it so much.. 

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

Suntory hall In Tokyo is one of my favourite touring venues for various reasons including proximity to the hotel, backstage facilities (free wifi!), the hall itself, the warmth of the audiences and the fact that I love Japan. HK is always special as I have so many family members there. Closer to home I love the Royal Albert Hall during the Proms season. That is so special although very nerve-wracking too with such a line up of world class orchestras night after night. The Proms’ atmosphere is unlike any other I’ve experienced.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I don’t really listen to classical music on my down time. I don’t find it so relaxing as I find it hard to detach from the feeling of performing. My iPod is an eclectic collection of musicals, film soundtracks, pop and old Gershwin numbers I imagine myself tap dancing to. Mahler is hands down my favourite composer to perform. There is so much fantastic writing for the violins and I just find his music so incredibly moving, I love all his symphonies. Most people would groan when a Mahler cycle comes round but I’m like “bring it on!”

Who are your favourite musicians?

I admire so many soloists who come into the LSO to perform, especially ones who I have grown up idolising. I can’t help but be drawn to the violinists, Janine Jansen, James Ehnes, Nikolaij Znaider to list a few. On a personal level Sarah Chang is my best friend and I’m always in awe at how much work goes on behind the scenes at that level of performance and the endless travel. I’m a big fan of my friend Ray Chen too who is not only a stunning violinist but has really broken so many barriers between musicians and audience with his hilarious social media postings and humorous videos poking fun at the profession. I can’t wait for him to come and play with the LSO! 

What is your most memorable concert experience?

I felt pretty awed at the LSO centenary concert, realising I was a part of something so historic was special. The yearly open air Trafalgar Square concerts are also very memorable. I’m amazed 10,000 people can sit/stand so quietly through music (minus the car horns honking!) that is never obvious (Stravinsky and Shostakovich for example).

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

I’m a big fan of the “Quora” app and am always astounded how many people write questions such as, “How long does it take to become a virtuoso on the violin?” Or “If I start the violin at 16 will I get to be a concert soloist?’ If I reply I generally always say the same thing, you don’t get anywhere in life without hard work and a healthy dose of reality. I truly believe that working hard coupled with the right attitude can really take you far in life if you are realistic. A sprinkling of luck helps too!

What do you enjoy doing most?

Tough call between shopping and eating out! I will go with the latter, as so many of my happy memories are with friends and family around a table devouring wonderful food. Often when we are off on tour or reminiscing it’s not the concert hall we can instantly recall but the restaurants!

Maxine Kwok-Adams performs with Philip Nolte on Friday 26th June at Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s. Further information here

As a teenager Maxine Kwok-Adams, ARAM, was heard by violinist Iona Brown leading the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain performing Mahler’s 3rd Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall “Proms” concert and was promptly invited to tour the USA with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra the following month. Later in the year she took up her scholarship place as a student at the Royal Academy of Music but carried on touring with orchestras such as the Academy-of-St-Martin-in-the-Fields.

Before graduating with an Honours degree, Maxine was awarded a place on the London Symphony Orchestra’s coveted String experience scheme, and in 2001 achieved her dream by becoming a full-time member of the 1st violins. As a strong supporter of opportunities that give youngsters a chance to experience performing in professional concerts, Maxine nowauditions and mentors the violins of the LSO String experience scheme.

At the forefront of the LSO’s online presence, in 2010 Maxine was asked to play a duo recital for the orchestra which was streamed live over the internet, the first time the LSO used this technology. She can be seen on YouTube as the LSO violin representative for the series of master classes designed to help violinists prepare for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra auditions. She is currently preparing to host the LSO’s first “google-hangout” chat about life in the orchestra which will be streamed live through YouTube.

Playing in the LSO has taken Maxine regularly into Abbey  Road studios where she has participated in over 40 film recordings since joining the LSO, including soundtracks to Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Queen. The LSO records with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney and Jennifer Lopez to Joe Hisiashi and Lang Lang.In 2010 Maxine was invited to contribute a chapter to the book, “Soundtrack Nation” by Tom Hoover, which focuses on professionals in the film music recording industry

 

(photo credit: Gareth Barton)
(photo credit: Gareth Barton)

Violinist Fenella Humphreys and pianist Nicola Eimer celebrate the 150th anniversaries of Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen in a concert combining works for violin and piano by these two composers, together with new works by contemporary composers.

Alongside works by Sibelius and Nielsen, the duo will premiere a new set of five pieces composed on the footprint of Sibelius’s Five Pieces op.81 by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Alasdair Nicolson, Matthew Taylor, David Knotts and Anthony Powers.

Programme

Jean Sibelius: 4 Pieces for violin & piano, Op.115
Cheryl Frances-Hoad: New work for PUR 4 Feb 2015 after Sibelius’ 5 Pieces for violin & piano, Op.81
Alasdair Nicholson: New work for PUR 4 Feb 2015 after Sibelius’ 5 Pieces for violin & piano, Op.81
David Knotts: New work for PUR 4 Feb 2015 after Sibelius’ 5 Pieces for violin & piano, Op.81knotts da
Matthew Taylor: New work for PUR 4 Feb 2015 after Sibelius’ 5 Pieces for violin & piano, Op.81
Anthony Powers: New work for PUR 4 Feb 2015 after Sibelius’ 5 Pieces for violin & piano, Op.81
Jean Sibelius: Sonatina in E for violin & piano, Op.80
Interval
Carl Nielsen: Violin Sonata No.2 in G, Op.35

The concert takes place on 4th February 2015 at the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. Further information and tickets here

‘Fenella Humphreys responds to its elegiac reflection and technical display at top flight level’ (Orchestral Choice CD, 5* BBC Music Magazine)

‘Nicola Eimer is an outstanding artist’ (The Strad Magazine)

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

 

1538879_10152137519852220_1092949528_nWho or what inspired you to take up the violin, and make music your career? 

I originally began my studies on the piano, but I was a very bad student and very lazy in my practice.  One day I saw my piano teacher with a student on her main instrument (the violin) and I fell in love.  Over the following months I constantly nagged to learn the violin and eventually my mother and the teacher gave in.  I took to it very quickly, practiced relentlessly and progressed rapidly.  I never really felt that the violin would be my career (my parents wanted me to be a vet), it was always an obsession.  But when it came to higher education I could think of nothing I’d rather do than play my violin.  After my formal education I was quickly asked to perform both recitals and as a soloist with orchestra and I have continued to do so and love every second of it.

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

Drama and imagery. My pianist Daniel Roberts and I always say the music must not interrupt the drama.  Also I often (and without meaning to) associate the pieces I perform with literature.  For example, I often associate The Lark Ascending with Thomas Hardy.

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

Performing a chamber recital in a windy concert hall, the music blew closed and the pianist’s page turner had to rescue me (this was also broadcast live).  I have also created my own Orchestra (The WPO) which performed in  February 2014 – this has been quite a challenge.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?  

I’m very proud of a recital I gave at Southwark Cathedral with Daniel Roberts: it was the first time we performed the Franck Sonata together and there was electricity to the performance.  I am also proud of my recording of The Lark Ascending.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in? 

I particularly like the sound of St. Brides (Fleet Street) and would like to record there in the future.  I also quite liked performing in the Foundling Museum.  It’s quite a small venue, but seems extremely well suited to chamber concerts with a perfect balance.  I was performing Mozart, and it felt like I had gone back in time.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

I change my mind like the weather on my favourite pieces.  But currently it is Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3, Beethoven Violin Concerto and I really love the contemporary composer Nimrod Borenstein’s work.  His latest piece (If you will it, it is no dream) is extremely good.

Who are your favourite musicians? 

Any musician who can give me inspiration.  This would include pianist Daniel Roberts, violinist Leland Chen.  I love the Primrose Quartet and I’m a huge fan of Julia Fischer.  Plus Heifetz.

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

It was actually when I was a child.  I had joined the county youth orchestra (I was accepted younger than the minimum age restriction because of my standard of playing, so I was the youngest and least experienced there).  I didn’t really know too much about the pieces we were playing or the composers.  In fact, I didn’t even know that the inside player turns the pages.  We played this boring piece with very little melody, which I hated.  On the day of the concert a solo violinist stood up and it turns out our ‘piece with very little melody’ was the accompaniment.  The piece (and the playing) was so beautiful that I forgot to play and just stopped to listen.  The piece was The Lark Ascending, and to this day I have a love of Vaughan Williams’ music.

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

Love and enjoy every aspect of music.  Enjoy the physicality, enjoy the technique, and enjoy the emotions.  Read about the composers, watch concerts.  Play solo, chamber and orchestral and love the variety of ways we can make music.  Teach others to play.  Listen and appreciate other instruments and styles.  But most importantly always question and always learn.

How do you make repertoire choices from season to season?

As far as repertoire for my chamber music goes, Daniel and I have developed a close friendship over time and are often suggesting pieces that would suit each others playing, the only problem is that we can’t play it all at once. With Concerto and solo repertoire, I often choose pieces that touch me in some way, that I feel a need to perform.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am working on Delius Sonata No. 3, which I’ll be performing in the Wales Millennium Centre and Anteros Arts Norwich with pianist Daniel Roberts. I’m also working on ‘Autumn’ from the Four Seasons and the Beethoven Violin Concerto but these are more long-range projects.

Which pieces do you think you perform best?

I think it would have to be ‘The Lark Ascending’, though I am pleased with my performances of the Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3.

What is your most treasured possession? 

My most treasured possession is obviously……my violin

Hannah Woolmer is a highly respected violinist with prolific experience as a recitalist.  She has performed in many of the UK’s classical music venues including St. Brides, Southwark Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, the London School of Economics and the London Festival of Contemporary Music.

Hannah’s performances have been broadcast on radio and 2012 saw the release of her  single ‘Lark Ascending’ which has been distributed on iTunes and with Amazon and reached #14 in the classical download charts.  Hannah also enjoys performing regularly as a soloist and has performed ‘The Four Seasons’ with Baroque Orchestra in London, Southend and Chelmsford, ‘The Lark Ascending’ with the University of Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011 and Bruch Violin Concerto in 2012.  

Hannah has performed with conductors Mark Galtry, Patrick Bailey and Jacques Cohen.  She has attended masterclasses and workshops with Bernard Gregor-Smith, John Thwaite, Susanne Stanzeleit and Robin Ireland.  Hannah has a great passion for the tradition of chamber music, and tries to bring aspects of her chamber experience into her solo performance, often resulting in a great rapport with the conductor and an intimacy with the audience very rarely seen in large scale works. 

Hannah’s collaboration throughout 2012 with Ukrainian Pianist Larysa Khmurych was met with critical acclaim.  They toured their recital programme to large scale concert venues, with Bristol and Ely Cathedral standing out as particular highlights in their calendar this year.  They quite quickly made a name for themselves with their fiery and heart-felt performance of Beethoven at the centre of their programme.  Hannah’s most recent collaboration is with pianist Daniel Roberts.  As well as continuing their busy recital schedule together which includes Wales’ Millennium Centre, Southwark Cathedral, the Anglo Japanese Society and The Foundling Museum to name a few.  They are currently recording their debut album together.