Who or what inspired you to take up the violin, and pursue a career in music?
I was growing up around music. My parents are musicians and they practised at home, so when I received a little Chinese Strad violin for my 4th birthday, I thought music was something everyone did. Music eventually turned out to be a big part of my everyday life and naturally progressed into becoming my profession.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
When I was a child, probably my parents. I was going on tours with my father, who is a clarinettist, and was present at his rehearsals and concerts; he played lots of chamber music and as a soloist. My mother was a cellist in the orchestra of Ljubljana’s Opera House, which was almost like my kindergarten.
Some of my teachers, like the legendary Ruggiero Ricci, influenced me a lot and so did cellist Bernard Greenhouse and violist Rivka Golani. It is amazing how much we learn from other instrumentalists.
Chamber music was for me probably one of the best ways to learn about musicianship. It works both ways; you can be inspired and you can inspire. It is a conversation and a great way of training the intuition! I have been probably influenced by all people I have ever played chamber music with and especially by working and performing with world class artists, particularly Yuri Bashmet and Sreten Krstic.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
The most memorable challenges have been:
- Performing half of the concert with someone else’s violin after mine exploded (the tailpiece flew off during the concert with my string quartet)
- Last minute call to step in for a concert (actually a couple of hours before the beginning, at the London’s King’s Place).
- Being asked to dance while performing a solo piece with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in China with Tan Dun in front of 5000 people
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
Brahms Violin Sonata No.3 from the Wigmore Hall with pianist Simon Lane,
Bach Chaconne, Franck Violin Sonata from the concert in Girona with pianist Maria Canyigueral and Vivaldi double concertos with Sreten Krstic and the Slovenian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I believe I play best what I really like. For example: Brahms violin sonatas, Baroque; Bach solo sonatas, Vivaldi concertos…
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
These are a combination of my wish list, my standard repertoire and particular programmes that some concert promoters ask for. I always make a few drafts of various recital programmes and a few concertos.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
My favourite venue is always the most recent one as I am still feeling the energy from the concert. So, a recent venue my violin particularly liked was the Lisinski Hall in Zagreb. I don’t know the reason why, but apparently my Da la Costa sounded really strong but sweet and warm. I also enjoy playing chamber music in smaller halls; the intimate setting brings audience closer to the performer and that creates a special atmosphere (the Wigmore Hall).
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Bach Harpsichord concerto in D minor, Schubert String Quintet in C major, Schubert Piano Trio in E flat major, Brahms Piano Trio No.1 op.8, Shostakovich Symphonies, Prokofiev Piano concerto No.2, Prokofiev Violin concerto No.1
Who are your favourite musicians?
Ivry Gitlis, Martha Argerich, Glen Gould, Janine Jansen…
What is your most memorable concert experience?
About six years ago I was performing Mozart Violin concerto in Dartington and just before the orchestra tutti I finished my solo with a big show off gesture and my bow slipped from my hand, flying into the orchestra. Fortunately the tutti gave me enough time to pick it up and return to the position just before my next entrance… Some of the audience thought we were putting on a show and were asking: ”how many times did you rehearse the part where you throw the bow into the orchestra?”
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
We all know it is hard work pursuing career in music. But following our hearts and not giving up is the key! We are so lucky to be doing something so beautiful; music is a world without borders, where all nations meet and connect with universal language. It is worth it!
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
10 years ago (!)
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Love + Freedom + Creativity + roof over my head = perfect happiness
What is your most treasured possession?
Generosity. I would never give it away!
What do you enjoy doing most?
Visiting wonderful places of the world and performing
What is your present state of mind?