Artist Feature - Erin Burkholder - Violinist

On May 7, 2016 at 7:30pm, violinist Erin Burkholder will be performing the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 composed by Johannes Brahms.   Considered to be one of the greatest concerto's to be composed for the violin, we wanted to take a closer look at artist that will be performing this towering work.


Q: Who are your three musical heroes?

A: David Oistrakh, Martha Argerich, and Ivan Galamian. Among many others.


Q: What is your favourite piece of music?

A: I have a firm belief that it is a musician's job to genuinely find a way to fall in love with every piece they play. In line with that, I try not to think in terms of favourites and unfavourites. So for this concert, the Brahms Violin Concerto is my favourite piece. That said, I do get a special thrill from re-listening to pieces that I've played before and that are associated with special memories - Schubert's Octet, for instance, which I performed last year with a group of my dearest friends and colleagues; or Mahler's 5th Symphony, which was the first piece I performed as part of a full-size symphony orchestra.


Q: Who is your favourite composer?

A: The above answer applies here as well. But Prokofiev, Messiaen and Janáček are the composers whose music I think mine would most resemble if I had any talent for composition. Their approaches and styles make a lot of sense to me.


Q: What are the most challenging aspects of the Brahms concerto?

A: I would say its size, and I mean that in all senses of the word. It's long, difficult throughout, and the powerful sound it demands of the soloist is unparalleled among the other major violin concertos. The orchestra is so musically integrated: very rarely does it play the role of simple 'accompaniment', and it takes a lot of stamina for the soloist to maintain a sound that can cut through everything going on underneath.


Q: Who are five people (real or imaginary) you would most like to invite to dinner?

A: Honestly, I would probably pick five of my real-life closest friends. If I really wanted to pick the brain of a historical figure or a fictional character I think I would want much longer than one meal to do so. I'd rather have a lengthy written correspondence, and save dinner for the company of my friends.


Q: If you could choose a super power, what would it be?

A: It's definitely a bit unethical, but I sure would love to be able to read minds!