Exploring the Violin: Harriet Wheeler

DSC02462Harriet Wheeler, British violinist, lives and works in Denmark, and was at Arte Studio Ginestrelle to work with Signe Lykke, Danish composer. Intense and committed to being a first class player, Harriet says, “I just aim to continue improving and evolving and bringing joy with the music I make.”

Harriet first became aware of Signe last year when she heard one of Signe’s compositions being played.  Although the piece was for the clarinet, she liked it so much, she contacted the composer, “and I asked her to write me a piece, and she did, “Blue Season,” which is a wonderful piece.” Harriet smiles at this memory, looking very much like a young Jacqueline Kennedy.DSC02552

As a result of listening to more of Signe’s compositions, and getting to know her personally, Harriet and Signe decided they wanted to collaborate, to explore how composer and musician can work together.  Once they arrived at this realization, they looked around for a space to begin this partnership, and learned about Arte Studio Ginestrelle, and were thrilled when they were accepted.

Practicing is fundamental to being a good violinist, and Harriet practices an average of 3-4 hours daily.  When practicing and playing, everything else ceases to exist, and she gets lost in a world of musical communications.  She is open and available to all.

“I don’t have a favorite composer; it changes too often and there are so many greats! I guess something about having a thirst for all styles of musical languages, especially classical?”

Although it is not usual for composers and musicians to work together on a piece, Harriet believes this should change.  Reflecting on an orchestra, Harriet says, “Contemporary music is created by composer, but Signe and I are combining the process, to explore what is possible with the violin, in a way that is natural for the violinist.”  Finding the possibilities and arriving at what is comfortable to violinists and other musicians is essential, Harriet states.  “It takes a lot of time, and we need freedom to experiment –try different sounds.  The process of us working on it together has been very rewarding. Signe would write something and give it to me, and she told me what she was thinking, and I was able to incorporate her ideas because she always asked me about things.”

Harriet and Signe will continue to work and develop this piece that will be performed -Spring 2016. “We will play with a young string ensemble in Denmark, work with young children to explore their instruments, and hopefully they will get more excited about playing.”

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To learn more about Harriet Wheeler, visit her Facebook page.


 

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