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The Beauty of the Beast… and the Power of Performance: An interview with violinist Andréa Tyniec

Lana Crossman

Sep 11, 2014

Sector Stories Music Performance Storytelling

published on: 2014/09/11 20:50

Toronto-based violinist Andréa Tyniec has thrilled audiences across Canada with her incredible talent and her 1900 Stefano Scarampella violin on loan from the Canada Council’s Musical Instrument Bank.

Andréa recently agreed to answer a few of my questions.

1. You’ve been involved in the arts from an early age. Can you remember one of your first experiences? A particular moment that inspired you to become a musician?
I loved going to concerts and remember one in particular when Pascale Giguère played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; she gave such a riveting performance! I also remember my very first performance, at age 6, in front of my community at church. I remember the silence before I started, the feeling of being listened to… heard. It was a defining moment in my life. I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but I had tapped into my voice and had used it to create something I could give to people. It gave my 6-year-old self a strong sense of purpose and a passion for performing that has stayed ever since.

2. Why are live musical experiences so important to you – both as a musician and as a member of the audience?
The live concert is a synergy between the composer, their work, the performers, the space and the audience. Each concert is a unique experience, because even if the music is the same, the people on stage and in the audience are not the same from one moment to the next.
Being open to experiencing a live concert is choosing to be fully present, to practice listening both to the music and to how we are responding. I find utterly beautiful that music brings us together, connecting us through the emotions and the humanity that we all share. If something is needed these days, it is to take the time to turn the technology off and to remember that we are human! It is a privilege to be a musician, to be a voice for composers and great works that elevate us, speak to our humanity and invite us to reflect on who we are in the moment.

3. What has it been like to perform with the 1900 Scarampella? Has it changed the way you play/interpret music?
My violin, “The Beast,” likes to prove to me that he earned his name. It’s been a wild ride with this one. We’ve played such a wide variety of repertoire. The best way I can describe it, is that I have a lot of trust in this instrument, and that my playing has benefited from that trust. He’s not delicate though, so I had to get stronger to be on the team.

4. At the Culture Days event you will be playing works by Eugène Ysaÿe, a Belgium composer active in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Why did you choose his work? What can the audience expect?
Ysaÿe isn’t well known like Bach, Beethoven or even Debussy, who was his contemporary. He wrote 6 phenomenal solo sonatas that are as beautiful as they are challenging. Each sonata is distinct from the rest in form and expression, because he wrote and dedicated them to 6 different virtuoso violinists whom he knew personally. You can expect to be occasionally reminded of Bach, surprised by the colors you will hear, blown away by the virtuosity, and captivated by the novelty of his musical language!

5. One of the goals of Culture Days is to have Canadians incorporate the arts into their daily lives. What do you think the impact of this could be on individuals, on our country?
Art, creating something, is an act of using one’s voice. Reminding ourselves and teaching our children to use the voice we have wisely and confidently empowers us to realise that we can create change and make a difference. Art reflects the world, life and who we are back at us. It can offer us the perspective we don’t have from being firmly planted in the familiar. It can also connect us with the values of courage, beauty and excellence, and elevate us to aspire towards those ideals in our life. Engaging with art does to our character what a daily walk does to our body: it exercises another fundamental and essential part of who we are as human beings. I believe that incorporating art in our daily lives, along with living more consciously (which art can inspire), can have a huge impact on our country and can lead us to move from being a disempowered democracy to a nation with vision. Sure, it takes more effort to engage with art than to update our Facebook newsfeed or turn the TV on. But that’s the point. It also takes more effort to change our reality than to continue accepting the status quo.

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