Music has always been part of my life—even from the very beginning, when I was in my mother’s womb. Growing up I was surrounded by art and music, which had a great deal to do with my choice to become a classical musician. All of this brought me to a special feel for music, a path that seemed destined from the start.
Unlike other kids that start music school at an early age, it was my decision, not my parents, for me to attend. Most of the time parents involve their kids in classical music just to have a bit more knowledge, to have a broader education (which is something I very much appreciate when parents encourage this), and for some kids, they get into it out of curiosity. In my case, I was that serious kid, the one known for making my own decisions, and so I chose the violin! I simply said to my mum after a concert: “this is what I want to do.”
Now looking back, I believe I would have ended up in classical music in any case since both of my parents also had a special feel for classical music. My father, who is a ballet dancer, has always emphasized the importance of music. He has often worked with contemporary composers, which has given me a broad understanding that included people who were essentially living their music within a community of artists.
From childhood, music and classical music in particular was always felt by me in the most profound way. This precious feeling is one of the things I cherish and also one of the things I try to seed into others.
When I came to London to study, I felt that I could finally breathe. I had the freedom and encouragement to follow my own thoughts. The real work started there – technically, artistically and mentally, and it is there, in London, where I found a true connection within myself and also with the violin. Recalling my very first lesson with Prof. Jacqueline Ross (around six years ago) which was very liberating, I remember bringing her some solo Bach, and the mindset I had back then when playing it through for the first time – just trying to do everything “right,” still expressing myself, but at the same time following some rules that were going against my own interpretation. Literally throughout this lesson she brought me back to ‘myself’ and I felt so liberated by the fact that someone felt it the same way as I do, and gave me the freedom of choice together with giving to me a great many new ideas that enriched my playing.
It is crucial that a teacher is able to bring you closer to your ideas, your personality, your message, all leading you in the direction of finding your own voice. This is one of the main principles I maintain in my teaching: every student is an individual—beginning from how they were raised and in what circumstances—each person’s unique set of technical, psychological and mental abilities, all resulting in their own interpretation and performance.
The performance space, that place in ourselves where we create and interpret in music, is a kaleidoscope of personalities and expression. It is that which we must cherish from an early age, not only when the student comes of age.
Inspired from Plato:
“Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”
I say to my students: classical music has the power to move souls—this is what I live by.
A performance is an unrepeatable experience of the exchange of energy between a performer and the audience. There are of course different levels of the impact that you create – and some of it can be over a prolonged period of time. One is what you create instantly, and another what the audience carries away.
Once I received an email from an audience member, and it was so moving to hear that remembering a particular phrase still made his heart pound. This is the magical thing about music – certain pieces, or just particular melodies are able to take us to a different time and place of life, bringing forth certain emotions that are already within, causing one to reflect on those feelings.
This is the utmost touching thing for me as a performer – that I can move someone’s feelings—that the way I express myself speaks to the audience and touches them on a deep level.
Life is full of emotions and experiences – love, betrayal, happiness, sorrow, and more. For me the only way to communicate all of these colors and really tell and evoke those emotions in listeners (some of which cannot be said or even explained) is through the violin. Classical music for me is a way to connect emotionally on the most profound level—there isn’t any other art form that does this for me in the same way.
“Classical music resonates with me and is for me totally divine.”
Thanks to all the composers, past and present, from whom there will always be works that will find their way to me and the audience. It’s a constant exchange of three aspects that depend on each other: life, composer, and performer—all of which intercommunicate with one another. If one of these aspects drops out, the others cannot exist.