Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 22. Day 53. Thank you for the music

Music dierector Alondra de la Parra
Until today I'd never actually heard of Maxim Vengerov but now I have the hugest girl crush. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra's artist in residence is an inspiration. The Siberian-born violinist picked up his first violin at 4 years and 8 months and was in his first concert at five. He could have played the oboe like his father but decided that if he was going to play an instrument he wanted to sit in the front of the orchestra. "No-one can see the woodwind section," he joked. Siberia, he told the audience at QSO's In Conversation, was known for its remoteness and for its exiles but that can be the basis of great music. "During those turbulent times, a lot of great music is created." Music, he said, helps escape the trauma of war and restore the harmony. His passion is undeniable. "Violin is the extension of the soul of the players". But that's not why I have a girl crush. That comes down to two other things he told the orchestra's new music director Alondra de la Parra.
Firstly he talked about taking three years out from playing the violin to study conducting. Alondra pointed out that he didn't need to do that. On reputation alone if he wanted to take up the baton just about any orchestra would have had him. But, he said, conducting was a skill in its own right and deserved to be treated with that respect. He wanted to master the craft. As someone who tires of seeing retired sports people think they can be sports journalists with no training at all, I applaud a man who recognises that just because you've been conducted doesn't mean you can conduct or in my field just because you've been interviewed doesn't mean you can interview. But that's not all. He also talks about how he was approached to work for UNICEF as an ambassador but refused to do so unless they let him visit the children. He took his violin to Uganda, Kosovo and Bosnia and found a universal music and a healing power in music.
"Without people there is no music."  Well Maxim, thank you for the music.

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