James Ehnes

A Quick Q&A with James Ehnes

A Quick Q&A with Canadian violinist James Ehnes ahead of his performances of Beethoven's Violin Concert with the RSNO this week.

What's your own history with the Beethoven Violin Concerto? How long have you been playing it?
I was lucky to have the opportunity to first perform the Beethoven when I was quite young, 16 I think. I think I've probably played it more than any other piece in my repertoire! I've had a lot of special experiences with the piece, and one of the great joys of playing it is that it's always a slightly different creature depending on the conductor, orchestra, hall, etc. I played it with Ed Gardner in Birmingham last season, and am greatly looking forward to revisiting it with him this week.

Your recording of the Concerto is released this autumn - is there a reason that you've waited until now to record the piece?
Not really; it was just a case of the circumstances being perfect. It's been my philosophy with recordings to pursue the projects that "work" - the right combination of collaborators, the right producer/engineer, the right repertoire of course - rather than trying to force projects based on abstract idea of what one "should" be releasing at a particular time in one's career. With last year's recording, all sorts of things fell into place that made it seem like the perfect thing at the perfect time. I'm very proud of the way it turned out.

What do you particularly enjoy about the piece? And how would you describe it challenges - both technical and musical/emotional?
I find it to be a very uplifting and energizing experience. It is supremely beautiful and lyrical, but also tremendously exciting and triumphant. It is certainly a difficult and intricate piece violinistically, but I think the greatest challenge lies in the pacing; it is important (in my opinion) to find the right balance between enjoying all its moments of extreme beauty and keeping the momentum and not losing the architecture of the piece as a whole.

You won the Instrumentalist of the Year award at the 2017 RPS awards - what does the award mean to you?
It is a great honour! I have had the very great fortune of performing a great deal over the years all over the United Kingdom, from Orkney to Brighton; the UK and its music lovers have meant a lot to me, so it was very special to be recognised for the wonderful experiences I have had sharing music in this country.


James Ehnes performs Beethoven's Violin Concerto in Perth Concert Hall on Thursday 12 October, the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 13 October and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 14 October.

Benedetti and RSNO post open invitation

Peter Oundjian and Nicola Benedetti

 

Nicola Benedetti and Scotland's national orchestra welcome guests to their rehearsal to mark the start of a new Season

Scotland's national orchestra and the nation's cherished violinist Nicola Benedetti invite their supporters to join them in rehearsal to celebrate the start of a new orchestral Season.

 

Scotland's orchestral season begins in earnest in October, when the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) opens 2017:18 with concerts in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, featuring soloist Nicola Benedetti.

 

To celebrate, and to mark the first concerts of Peter Oundjian's final Season as RSNO Music Director, Peter, Nicola and the Orchestra invite their supporters to join them at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow from 1.30pm to 2.30pm to witness the musicians preparing for the opening concerts. During the rehearsal, Nicola Benedetti and the RSNO will perform Elgar's Violin Concerto, considered one of the most technically demanding violin concertos of the 20th century.

 

In contrast to the etiquette expected of attendees of orchestral concerts, visitors to this rehearsal will be encouraged to participate in social media activity, using the method of their choice. Audience members will be able to converse in real time across various social media platforms, including Facebook (@royalscottishnationalorchestra, @NicolaBenedettiViolin); Twitter (@rsno, @NickyBenedetti) and Instagram (@officialrsno) using the hashtag #OpenRSNO.

 

Those interested in attending the Social Media Open Rehearsal on Wednesday 4 October (1.30-2.30pm) are asked to email their request to OpenRehearsal@rsno.org.uk before 5.30pm on Tuesday 3 October.

Spaces are limited and provided on a first-come-first-served basis. Applicants' names will be added to a guest list and attendees are requested to check-in at the ticket desk, located near the box office at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

 

The RSNO opens its 2017:18 Season this week at the Caird Hall, Dundee (Thursday 5 October), the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (Friday 6 October) and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Saturday 7 October). The programme features the Scottish premiere of Gavin Higgins' Velocity, Elgar's Violin Concerto and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

 

For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.