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(photo: Nikolaj Lund)
Who or what inspired you to take up violin and pursue a career in music?

This was an easy choice, everybody in my family was playing the violin. It was almost a “Mother language”. I HAD to talk this language if I wanted to be understood, or understand what was around.

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

In my early life, as I said, my parents and my family, but then, later on, the absolute love of the music and the need to create sounds!

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

All the competitions that I have done were a great challenge till today. But I understand now, that the biggest challenge ever happens each time I come to play a concert for an audience who expects to hear something special, something they will remember; this is  very challenging!

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

I unfortunately don’t remember so well which concerts went well, but I remember very well the bad ones. I always try to recall what actually made an experience not so good, so that I know what to do for the next time. The greatest concert was probably a recital, where I felt the biggest connection with my partner. That was incredible.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

Probably the ones that I believe in the most. Meaning, when I study the piece in its context and the main idea, touches me. When the music, or its purpose doesn’t really touch me, I am afraid I can’t be sure of giving my best in it…

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

I of course look into the big repertoire pieces that I haven’t played yet, and then try to combine them with maybe lesser-known pieces that fit well with the mood, character, and again touch me enough to be able to transmit it to the audience.

I always try to keep something that I’ve already played, so that not always everything is new!

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

I’ve discovered a lot of dry, beautiful and great sounding concert venues! Every concert hall for me has a very personal history: I simply try to remember every concert, and all the circumstances of each hall where I performed.

I enjoyed very much the Philharmonie in Cologne, because of the shape of the hall and its unbelievable acoustic.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

Well, probably the one I love to play the most is J S Bach, no surprises there. Simply because I always find new harmonies to underline, or listen to. The writing is perfect, so evident and clear, one always discovers more and more complexity in his music.

I would say my problem is that I sometimes want to show my “personal discoveries” too much, and then it becomes a personal fight:

What I want to show as personal intention / what needs to be kept natural and be played in a more “hidden” way. For this reason, I also love playing Ysaye’s music, where a lot is happening and there is rather more room for personal interpretation.

Who are your favourite musicians?

From the ones I have been listening to lately: L. Kavakos, C. Eschenbach, M. Goerne, V. Gergiev, M. Pressler, S. Edelman…

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

I believe that today it is becoming more and more difficult to hold on to the principles of “great culture”.  We are the people who have the chance to be part of it, we have a great but very difficult mission – we have to keep it alive. I really think that a great part of our humanity is kept in the Art, as much in the “understanding” of it, as in its “producing”. This is why new and young artists have to hold on to something that maybe doesn’t bring that much success, or money, or fame. They have to bring something much more powerful (and not to themselves) – feelings, happiness, support, unity, and thousands of images.

All those elements are the true benefits of the music that we are sharing.

You’ve just been announced as the new London Music Masters Award Holder, tell us more about this?

It is a very new episode of my life starting, and I am really looking forward to the fresh new contact with Great Britain! Passionate people, passionate musicians!

I will be given the opportunity to introduce my concepts of instrumental playing and music making to the growing new generation of people/audiences in schools, for example. I really hope that my English will be good enough for the people to understand some of my twisted notions!

What are you most looking forward to about working with London Music Masters?

Meeting different people, and learning from them!

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

In a place where there would be unlimited space for love, friendship, and where I could be in a good enough shape to make music on a very high level

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To be surrounded by truly honest and loving people.

What is your most treasured possession

Hum… Material possession..? Nothing… (Yet?)

What is your present state of mind?

In a very good mood.

Marc Bouchkov was born 1991 into a family of musicians. He received his first lessons at the age of five from his grandfather, Mattis Vaitsner. His first public appearance was just one year later. In 2001, he joined Claire Bernard’s studio at the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique; he transferred to the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) in 2007. There, he began studies with Boris Garlitzky, who has been his mentor ever since, and offers him invaluable guidance for honing his craft. The following years saw participation in master classes and invitations to festivals in Moulin d‘Ande, Troyes, and Bordeaux (France), Viterbo (Italy) and New Hampshire (USA).

Marc Bouchkov is the recent recipient of a London Music Masters award

Marc Bouchkov’s website

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(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?

I don’t remember starting playing the violin, but I can say when chose to pursue it. I have a clear memory of a freezing walk home from school when I was 12 or so, and deciding that there certain extremely ambitious things which I wanted to do with music. Everything has flowed from that moment. I would say that I choose the violin, more and more, every time I pick it up. A lot has been said about how long it takes to learn an instrument, but very little about how the instrument becomes our nature, how we, eventually, can allow the body and the instrument to interact in ways beyond our active control.

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

This would be an enormous list, and I am loath to introduce a hierarchy. In addition so much of what I do and have done, is influenced by non-musicians. But I can say that I was lucky, from a very early age, to come into contact with some extraordinary older people, who challenged me to have the highest expectation and anticipation of what I should do, and of our obligations as artists. But let me list my teachers-all extraordinary musicians and human beings. My mother, Susan Sheppard, Beatrix Marr, Ralph Holmes, Manoug Parikian and Louis Krasner. And there’s one more; this is not facetious, my Yoga teacher, Nino Nanava.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

…. there are some which I think are not bad! I love performing and recording with equal passion. I am blest to feel equally free on stage and in front of the microphone. I have never suffered from performance anxiety (perhaps I should have!), and feel, whenever I am performing to an audience or on the studio, I am more relaxed than at any other time. I think that I am proud of my cycles of recordings (Telemann, David Matthews, Beethoven, Tartini, George Rochberg, etc).

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I would hope that it is whatever I am playing, at the moment I am performing it. However, the best performances, without doubt, are when I am collaborating with great friends. I do a lot of solo concerts (I don’t use the word ‘unaccompanied’- a solo pianist wouldn’t!), but of course, as a violinist, I relish sitting next to extraordinary pianists and harpsichordists. So I suspect that I probably perform best when I am on stage with an extraordinary collaborator, and with an audience (it does not matter what size-it’s a privilege to play for one person, or a hundred) taking part in the music.

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

My repertoire choices don’t really work like that; I have projects which I pursue over very long term, and each choice of work or group of works will emerge from or join the slow development of those projects. So, right now, it’s the flow of Mozart Sonatas with Daniel Ben Pienaar, Henze Sonatas with Roderick Chadwick, Reicha Quartets with the Kreutzers, and the Abel Gamba solos which have been fascinating me for the past few days. And of course, there’s the ongoing weave of the works that emerge from my collaborations with living composers. Which is the material for another day!

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

This I can answer. No question – Wilton’s Music Hall, London. The acoustic is like playing inside a cello, the atmosphere of the hall is absolutely unique, and the audience is enthusiastic, adventurous and diverse. I don’t really like modern purpose built concert halls. That is just me. I am inspired by buildings and the people in them. Next month, I am playing a three day residency (all 30 Tartini Solo sonatas, and music by Xenakis, Glass, Evis Sammoutis) in an astonishing wooden chapel in the 18th Century Leprosy Hospital in Bergen (for the Bergen Festival). The whole project flows from my excitement about the building; its texture, sound, shape, light, colours and people. When I was young, I discovered that in his ’10 Books on Architecture’ (written for Julius Caesar) Vitruvius saw music as part of architecture, integral to it. That is an important point, and informs much of my feeling about venues. One of my favourite places to play, is at the dinner table, for friends, with the violin part of the conversation, the interplay. And of course, the best time, is my nocturnal practice space (I work from midnight to three or four most days), at my desk here in Wapping, with the silence of the city outside, the noise of the foxes under my window, and the Westminster Chimes (which of course came from William Crotch’s ‘Palestine’) drifting along the river into my open window.

Who are your favourite musicians?

My favourite musicians are my collaborators (performers and composers). They are the people that I continue to learn the most from, and there’s nothing more inspiring than the sharing of long-term shared discovery. As I talking to you, I have to say that a vital part of this, is that I have always had serious duo-partnerships with the most extraordinary piano players; they are all amazing artists and each of them continues to teach me so much. It’s an exciting list: Aaron Shorr, Jan-Philip Schulze, Roderick Chadwick, Olivia Sham, David Owen Norris, Julian Perkins, Daniel-Ben Pienaar … working on modern and period instruments. It’s worth pointing out that I am a frustrated pianist. I love the instrument so much, and I can’t do anything with it. But I can play the violin sitting next a great pianist, and bask in the glory of the instrument and those artists.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Without question, it’s always the concert that I have just done, am doing, or are about to do. Right, now, today, in fact, I am getting ready to play a concert with the harpsichordist Julian Perkins, on three early violins! Sonatas by Biber, Tartini, Matteis, Telemann, and the two astonishing continuo sonatas in E minor and G Major by Bach. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that!

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

‘Aut viam inveniam aut faciam’. Literally, I will either find a way, or I will make one. My son would want me to own up the fact that Hannibal is supposed to have said that….

However, I recently found (folded into some music), an amazing thing. As a child, I was very lucky to study with the violinist Beatrix Marr (until I went to Ralph Holmes at 12). At some point when I was 10 or 11, she handed me the typescript of a book on violin playing which she was writing. It was never published, and I confess, that at the time I never read it – it was beyond me. But a week or so ago, I read it for the first time, and was profoundly moved. Here’s a sample, which is a great way to finish, I think:

“…in the case of our own playing, it is all too easy to be impatient when things seem to be going badly, instead of using analysis, and looking hopefully to the next day, or the future. There always is another day, and who knows what miracle it may bring?” 

(Beatrix Marr ‘Practice’)

What is your present state of mind?

Well, I am filling this in 15 minutes after wrapping an inspiring recording project, playing the piano/violin music written for me by my long-time collaborator Thomas Simaku, with the astounding Roderick Chadwick. So my arms hurt, but I have a good cup of verbena tea and am planning on lying on the floor for an hour. The process of recording is a treasured and regular activity for me, and I always run the sessions as a workshop, a place of discovery and invention.


 www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com

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

To be honest there was no great epiphany or moment of inspiration, it just always felt like I was meant to be making music – exactly how and in what form is still wonderfully open … tomorrow is a new day and will bring with it new inspiration.

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

Everything and everyone we encounter seeps into our being and becomes a part of our fabric, not least musical. When we give a name to the ‘most important’ influences there is always the danger that we forget the ‘very minor influences’, whose accumulation pave the indispensable road. Having said this, there are two remarkably special people who have shaped my playing and my life, and to whom I am eternally grateful: my mentor and teacher Nina Balabina and – on a more ethereal plane – Mahatma Gandhi.

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

Not to pursue one.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?  

Life has taught me not to look back but rather, in the spirit of forgetfulness, learn to live in the present, so I hope you do not mind if I pass on this question.

Which particular works do you think you perform best? 

More than anything I feel at home performing contemporary music or music from the last century, often in unusual and improvisatory combinations with older music.

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

I love having a large variety of works during a season both in style and genre. I try and create a balance between works I have played many times and into which I can delve deeper; new repertoire pieces; newly commissioned works; and finally works that will challenge different aspects of my playing and musical personality and which will hopefully open me up to new musical spaces.

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

For me it is more than anything the energy of the audience that makes a concert special. Therefore I love performing in any space that encourages a bubbling sharing of energies. Then, there are of course the ‘great’ halls that have their unique aura, filled with the sounds of past legends – it is a great privilege to be able to stand and add ones own little sounds to such spaces.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

My tastes are rather eclectic and vary from day to day, from season to season. Some days I love the melancholic strains of Byrd and Josquin, on other days the romantic drama of Strauss, while Bach is always close at hand to cleanse the soul. I may also get immersed in the epic melodrama of Muse or the contemplative strains of Indian music.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Oh dear, this could be a very long list! Two personalities that immediately come to mind our David Oistrakh and Ravi Shankar.

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

Playing to monks in the Himalayas.

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

Always LOVE every minute of what you are doing and learn to totally immerse yourself in the process, not worrying too much about where it will lead and what the resulting outcome will be.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

I experience perfect happiness when I get so lost in what I am doing, which happens most often when I am performing, that all time – past and future – seems to converge on the singularity of the present moment, bringing with it a surreal combination of overwhelming peace and the feeling of ecstasy.

Hugo Ticciati performs with Dame Evelyn Glennie at Kings Place on 27th April, and directs the Festival O/MODERNT in Stockholm from 10th to 16th June, centred on Handel and the Art of Borrowing. 

Festival O/MODERNT

Hugo Ticciati is a violinist with a uniquely intellectual approach to his work, incorporating aspects of literature, philosophy, spirituality and meditation. He embraces the world of contemporary music, collaborating with composers such as Sven-David Sandström, Albert Schnelzer, Anders Hillborg, Djuro Zivkovic, Leonardo Coral, Andrea Tarrodi, Tobias Broström, Thomas Jennefelt, Sergey N. Evtushenko, Esaias Järnegard, Wijnand van Klaveren. In the coming seasons he will be performing world premières of concertos dedicated to him in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Hugo also loves devising concerts and events that combine music with dance, literature and more obscure arts such as kinetic painting and rock balancing.

Last season’s highlights included concertos by Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Hartmann, Shchedrin, Piazzolla, Auerbach, Glass, Lutosławski, Takemitsu and world premieres of concertos by Tobias Broström, Sergey N. Evtushenko and Albert Schnelzer in venues including Carnegie Hall, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall and King’s Place. He also curated a series of concerts at the Wigmore Hall and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam.

Read more about Hugo Ticciati

(Photo credit: Marco Borggreve)

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

On my fifth birthday, my parents surprised me with a cute tiny violin as my birthday present, it was like love at first sight. I remember I always took it everywhere with me and tried to play music on that toy instrument. Over 20 years later, I can honestly say that my passion is still the same and very much alive. I fall more in love with music every day because it allows me to experience deep emotions, express indescribable feelings and in my mind, it’s the most raw and spiritual connection you can have with people.

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

When I was about 10 years old, I watched a masterclass documentary “Playing by heart” on TV about violinist Maxim Vengerov in which he was teaching violin in a way I’d never seen before. The violin under his chin and the music under study was so vivid and enjoyable: he was the first to show me that music can be used to communicate a story or a scene. Suffice to say, I started to enjoy practicing right after that day. Two years ago during my study at the Royal Academy of Music I had a masterclass with Vengerov and that was like a childhood dream come true. I still remember the excitement that he inspired me, and I continue to use it to motivate me in my playing.

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

Finding and embracing my own musical voice. Music is a very personal thing, so when I was growing up, I found it hard sometimes to let myself completely go to that vulnerable place. As I grow more mature, I’m more capable of thinking musically, which helps me communicate my ideas to my audiences. Also, I had my first arm injury earlier this year and I had to rest for a few month without daily physical practice routine. During my recuperation, I did a lot of visualising techniques and mental practise to learn new repertoire. It was very efficient and I never felt better when I picked up my violin again learning a new piece.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of? 

Performance: A charity concert series I did in China called “Under the Same Sky”, staging concerts in support of underprivileged youths. Since 2012, more than 200 students have benefited from this charity and have been able to continue their education.

Recording: My upcoming debut album “Tango Embrace”. The disc is a collection of classic tango pieces by Astor Piazzolla, the renowned Argentinian tango composer.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

I personally enjoy works from the Late Romantic era the most, but music from all different periods offers the opportunity for personal musical exploration and growth. I also enjoy playing my own arrangements and compositions.

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

I always choose repertoire that I am willing to perform. I think of the audience first, then the venue of the concert. For a recital, I try to combine classical repertoire with lesser-known contemporary works, as well as with works from various cultures, such as traditional Chinese music. For a recording project, I try to choose the pieces that I feel well connected with which can be very personal choices, such as my upcoming “Tango Embrace” album, I have wanted to record it for a few years.

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

I’ve been fortunate enough to have played in many amazing concert halls all around the world, but Carnegie Hall is, and will always be, a special place for me. The lights, the acoustic, the feeling I got from that hall is not something I think I will ever be able to describe – simply surreal.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I like to perform and listen to things that combine many musical elements. An initial connection is important for me because if I can’t connect to the work, I can’t deliver a convincing performance.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Henryk Szeryng, Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, YoYo Ma

What is your most memorable concert experience?

A multi-cultural concert at Sydney Opera House where I was playing with musicians from all around the world. The collaboration was very moving for me because of this cultural bridge. It was a wonderful experience to be able to share music no matter what countries we are from, what languages we speak; music brought us together.

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

I think it is really important for a 21st century classical musician to embrace different musical elements, and be open to exploration. I learnt from my mentors and those great musicians that it’s crucial to be honest with your musical intentions, and be present so that you get to enjoy the performance.

Where would you like to be in 10 years time?

Ideally I would like my music to be recognised by wider audiences, at the same time I would like to be a more influential musician and strengthen the bridge between Asian and European culture. I would also like to continue more charity works to help people in need.

Yijia Zhang’s debut album, Tango Embrace, is released on 10 October 2015.

www.yijiazhang.com

(Photo: Jamie Jung)
(Photo: Jamie Jung)

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

I have liked the sound of the violin as long as I can remember. Also, my parents are both musicians but neither play the violin, so by choosing this instrument they couldn’t tell me what to do…

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

My parents, who have both had a life in music and made me believe that it is possible to have a life in music; my teacher at Juilliard, Sylvia Rosenberg, who has been a great influence in shaping how I think of music; and pianist Joseph Seiger, who encouraged me to always find more colors in music.

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

Just playing the violin… I find it very challenging. Also I find that combining physical relaxation with musical tension while playing is a constant challenge.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?  

I really try to avoid listening to recordings of myself (except ones I make for myself in the practice room), so I don’t know… So far I’ve only released one commercial album, my debut CD Portrait, (released August 2014 in Europe and February 2015 in the US).

Which particular works do you think you perform best? 

There seems to be a gap between what I think I play well and what other people think… I think I play Brahms well, but others think Schubert fits me very well.

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

I’m always trying to find a balance between new works that I want to learn, keeping enough works that I already know in my repertoire so that I don’t overbook myself, and putting together what I think are interesting programs. Also, it is important for me to include new works in my programs, and lesser known works, especially from the 20th century, which I think deserve to be heard.

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

I absolutely love Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Seoul Arts Center, because of their acoustics. I feel that these halls add new colors to my sound, which are not possible to find in a practice room. The auditorium at the Israeli Conservatory of Music is very special for me though, because I grew up in that institution, and so is the Israel Philharmonic Hall in Tel-Aviv, because as I child I dreamed of performing there.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

There are some pieces that I just feel privileged to play. Ones that pop into my mind at this moment are Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Mozart’s 5th Concerto, Prokofiev’s 1st Concerto and Cesar Frank’s Sonata. I usually prefer not to listen to violin music, so I listen mostly to piano music and sometimes orchestral music. Late piano pieces by Brahms are a particular favorite.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Has to be composers – Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Ravel, Ligeti and many others…

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

Hearing Ravel’s Sonatine for the first time, at a student’s concert at the conservatory in Tel-Aviv. The beauty of this music brought tears to my eyes instantly.

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

Playing an instrument and making music is not easy, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t encounter hardships on the way. One has to work hard in order to improve, and I somehow find that understanding that the process isn’t supposed to be easy, and that everyone is going through difficulties, is quite comforting. Also, on stage always try to make music, no matter how nervous you are. The audience is there to enjoy and to feel, and if one plays in order not to miss a note, it doesn’t mean much to the listeners, and one tends to miss more, in my experience…

Born in Tel-Aviv in 1985 to a family of musicians, Itamar Zorman began his violin studies at the age of six with Saly Bockel at the Israeli Conservatory of Music in Tel-Aviv. He graduated in 2003 and continued his studies with Professor David Chen and Nava Milo. He received his Bachelor of Music from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance as a student of Hagai Shaham. He received his Master’s of Music from The Juilliard School in 2009, where he studied with Robert Mann and Sylvia Rosenberg, and received an Artist Diploma from Manhattan School of Music in 2010, and an Artist Diploma from Julliard in 2012, studying with Ms. Rosenberg. Itamar Zorman is currently a student of Christian Tetzlaff at The Kronberg Academy.

www.itamarzorman.com