The London Sinfonietta Emerging Artist Programme is a unique opportunity for the next generation of exceptional musicians to get involved in the working life of the world’s leading new music ensemble.
Generously supported by the Mercers’ Company and the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the scheme constitutes a series of professional experiences performing contemporary classical music: including a guarantee of two on-stage engagements as part of the London Sinfonietta’s season and working alongside the ensemble’s Principal Players.
We’ve been talking to our Emerging Artists to find out a little more about them and their experiences as part of the programme. This time violinist Bas Treub faces our quickfire questions:
What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement so far?
Difficult question! There have been a few occasions during my career in which it felt like everything that is important to me came together. One of them was playing Enescu’s String Octet back as a student amongst some incredible players. It was one of the most vibrant, inspiring and moving performances I’ve had the honour to be part of. It reminds me to always strive for performances in which music really becomes something alive and created, rather than something that is merely reproduced.
Which piece of music or theatre has had the biggest effect on you as a musician?
For me it’s actually the variety in music that affects me most! Every time period brings us different music works we can learn from and be inspired by and I therefore wouldn’t want to trade one piece for another… But to at least name something: I’ve always loved to study the solo violin sonatas by Ysaÿe. Together with Bach’s solo violin works they will be always be an essential part of my musical development.
What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
I once gave a performance of this really crazy string quartet by Hindemith, which is called Overture to the “Flying Dutchman” as played at first sight by a second-rate concert orchestra at the village well at 7 o’clock in the morning. The piece is basically a parody on Wagner’s original version, with obvious mistakes all over the place and being completely provocative. We decided to make a bit of a theatre act out of it and to really try and explore the boundaries in the music. Apart from that, just before going on stage, I accidentally smashed myself against a glass door, which left me with a half bleeding nose while playing. In the end it was this kind of performance that you don’t easily forget, full of adrenaline for various reasons…
What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
At the moment, there are a lot of business cards from bow makers from all over the world on my table, as there recently was a big exposition in Amsterdam. Next to that there are several invoices and tax papers that have been there for way too long. There’s also a schedule for the new season with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra; I have a 50% job with them, which is the reason that I’m based in Amsterdam. Then there’s some tissues, ballpoints, earphones, my wallet; it basically is a big mess! I use my “coffee table” for everything but coffee.
Describe yourself in three words.
Intense, loyal, humorous.
If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
If I was unable to play the violin anymore, I think I’d like to be a therapist. I always felt a natural curiosity towards the psychological side of people and I enjoy finding out how they work.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Depends on which part of my life I focus. Musically, I’m eternally grateful that I got to learn with Philippe Graffin, my last violin teacher. He was and will always be a big inspiration to me in many ways. Personally, it may sound cheesy, but I’m lucky to have a great family that support me with everything I do.
What has been your most valuable experience during your time with London Sinfonietta on the Emerging Artist Programme?
I loved working on Stockhausen’s Hymnen last December. It was my first Stockhausen piece ever and a real adventure to get to know his way of notation and his sound structures. It sure was very different from many things I’ve played before!
What advice would you give to musicians starting their careers now?
I would advise early-stage musicians to always keep developing your own personal sound and never lose touch with what you hear inside. Finding your inner voice is for me one of the most important things in music and something that I feel doesn’t get enough attention in music education.
Tell us your best musical joke.
A string trio dies in a car crash and goes to heaven.
St. Peter asks them all, “What did you do with your life?”
The cellist says, “I taught people the beauty of music,” and is allowed to enter.
The violist says, “I taught people the joy of music,” and is allowed to enter.
The violinist says, “I was a concertmaster and I believe you’re in my seat.”