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15 Questions to Frederieke Saeijs

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi!! Thank you, I’m fine! I’m in Bloomington, Indiana right now. I just came back from a recital in Cannes (France) and 2 performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (The Netherlands).

What’s on your schedule right now?
Right now, I’m preparing for a performance in the Kennedy Center (Washington DC) and a performance with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Also, I will get the chance to play together with some teachers of the Bloomington School of Music next week during a memorial concert.

If you hand’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
Probably something with language (French, Italian or Latin and Greek) or dance.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

At the moment, my teacher Mauricio Fuks is a great source of inspiration!

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest part is at the same time the best part: It’s an endless search for beauty. Knowing that one will never reach perfection is at the same time a great motivation to be creative in order to come as as close to it as possible.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I don’t think there is a crisis, although it’s alarming that for example classical music programs are being broadcast on tv far after midnight. The public is not “raised” anymore by being brought in contact with classical music through this medium. Also, in concert halls the public mainly consists of elder people. I hope there will be enough people interested in listening in 50 years as well!! Also, it seems other things than quality of sound and beauty of interpretation are important today in the music industry. Great persoanlities of the old days, like for example Kreisler or Heifetz, you could recognize immediately with your eyes closed. Nowadays, there are more and more violinists with an absolutely incredible technique and who look nice too. Still, there are not many who really have something to say and are able to touch the heart of the public!!

Some feel there is no need to record classical music anymore, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
Well, as long as they can add something by recording their own special, authentic and beautiful interpretation, it doesn’t matter which piece they record! It’s fantastic to listen to the Beethoven violin concerto in 20 different recordings... it’s an infinitely beautiful piece with infinitely many possible beautiful interpretations. Anyone who wants to say something with the music will have his or her own very interesting interpretation of the piece! Like that there will never be too many recordings of a piece.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
A good live performance is based on the relationship between the performer(s) and the public! When you feel as a perfomer that the audience is really listening and really interested in what you want to tell them, an incredible energy (inspiration!) is released! On the other hand the performer has to make the audience listen by playing his/her heart out! I don’t think it is possible to fool an audience. No matter how much or little the public really knows about music, the people in the hall can always feel whether the perfomer is playing sincerely, according to his/her “inner voice” or not. It’s the duty of the performer to touch the heart of the audience by being completely honest!

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

Interpretation to me means the way the player feels the piece should be performed at that moment. I don’t think interpretation is something static or limited, I think it is always moving. You can play a piece one way one day and another way the next day! That’s the nice thing about music, and art in general, one can always keep discovering things! It never stops! Life is full of surprises!

True or false: it is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
I think it is the duty of the artist to express the feelings of the composer, to crawl into the skin of the composer and the piece (almost like an actor!). While interpreting, the artist can imagine certain feelings, linked to and based on one’s own experiences in life. Of course, there is also part of the personality of the player in the piece, because it is interpretation. Somebody else would read the script completely differently! And nobidy is “right”, isn’t that great?

True or false: “Music is my first love”

I felt incredibly attracted to the beautiful sound of the violin from a very young age, like an irresistible enchantment! My love for the instrument and for music, art and beauty in general is only growing, growing, growing! It turned from a hobby into a passion, a life need!

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.

I don’t think it is true for all people, but certainly a lot of people need to be brought in contact with classical music, because they simply have no idea what they’re missing!!

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?

A potpourri of music. For sure Bach and Mozart, some French music (Ravel), some romantic music, some 20th Century music (Shostakovich, Messiaen, Prokofiev) but also music from some contemporary composers.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?

Mmmm, my favourite violinist is Nikolaj Znaider, but I must admit I haven’t heard his latest recording of the violin concerti by Mendelssohn and Beethoven yet!!

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I tried playing the piano... and can already play Twinkle twinkle little star!! Also, I started to sing last year... I like it a lot, but I think it sounds like a fire alarm!

Homepage: Frederieke Saeijs

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