October 22, 2009

What makes Vadim Gluzman tick, plus his love affair with his violin...

In preparing to have Vadim Gluzman perform with us, we learned all kinds of fascinating things about him, as a musician and as a person. Here's a quick q&a that will give you an inkling of what makes this violinist tick:

1. What is your musical background, and how did you discover your passion for music?

I grew up in a musical family, my parents are music teachers, so it was only a matter of time until I said that I wanted to study music - I must have been about 6 at the time. But it took some years for me to realize that music is my life, it is who I am.

2. Please describe the relationship with your most influential mentor.

I would not be able to pinpoint only one - throughout my life I was incredibly fortunate to have a number of wonderful teachers and mentors. Arkady Fomin, my teacher in Dallas, TX who became more than just a teacher - a friend, a family member, to whom I am always grateful
for believing in me and helping be to become the musician and the person that I am today
Dorothy DeLay, with whom I studied at Juilliard - a true Grand Dame of violin pedagogy, she could find a "key" to the most difficult "locks." And last, but not least is Isaac Stern - I was privileged to have a chance to play for this great man number of times in Israel and in the US and each and every one of these meetings will stay in my memory and in my playing forever.

3. You will be playing Sibelius' Violin Concerto; what does it feel like to play it? What do you suggest people listen for in each of the movements?

Saga... Epos... are the words that come to mind when I think of Sibelius' music in general and of his violin concerto in particular. So grandiose, yet so intimate at moments, this piece is one of the most challenging both physically and emotionally in the violin literature, at the same time one of the most rewarding. It stands as a grand example, really one of the pinnacles of romantic writing in the violin concerto genre.

4. Your violin is an extraordinary 1690 Ex-Leopold Auer Stradivari. What sets apart this particular instrument from other violins? What do you love about it?

I have been fortunate to play this incredible violin for over a decade now thanks to the generosity of the Stradivari Society of Chicago. After all this time the instrument and I have formed a very close bond. So, describing it is rather difficult - it is almost as impossible as describing the woman that you love... The 'Ex-Auer' has a truly remarkable low register where it sounds so rich and dark that it sometimes reminds me of viola and it's high register is so incredibly penetrating that I often hear questions after a concert if I was miked... (I never am...:) )

5. Have you ever been to Rochester? In addition to performing with the RPO, do you have any other plans while you’re here?

This will be my first visit to Rochester, so I am very much looking forward to working with the wonderful RPO and Maestro Seaman!Besides that, I was hoping (time permitting of course) to make a trip to the Corning Glass Museum and perhaps to some of the NY wineries - I have heard about Swedish Hill and Goose Watch. But of course, Sibelius and my concerts with RPO are the most important, and then for my upcoming European tour I will be "visiting" with some old friends like Schubert, Franck, Korngold, and Brahms. So, my dreams of being a "tourist" in Rochester may very well only remain dreams this time...

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