World famous violinist Hanslip looks forward to Ipswich School Festival of Music

Internationally-renowned violinist Chloe Hanslip makes her Ipswich debut tomorrow. She and entertainment writer WAYNE SAVAGE talk music, success and giving back

AGED just 24, it’s odd to describe Chloe as a seasoned pro; but she did start playing the violin at the age of two.

“Largely due to my insistence of going up to the piano that my sister was practising on and picking out the notes of the pieces she was playing. My parents didn’t want another pianist in the house so they started me on the violin,” she laughs.

Chloe, appearing in town as part of Ipswich School’s Festival of Music, studied with the Russian pedagogue Zakhar Bron for ten years and has also worked with Robert Masters, Ida Haendel, Salvatore Accardo, and Gerhard Schulz.

That must have been daunting?

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“I think I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Bron and others, such as Ida and Salvatore. To be able to work with them and receive guidance has been wonderful and truly inspirational.”

The violin has always struck me as one of the most demanding instruments to learn; having started so early you’d think she must have toyed with abandoning lessons at some point.

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“Never once did I think about giving up – I love it too much,” she says. “It’s very difficult to describe how I feel when I play. There’s nothing quite like making music with an orchestra or playing chamber music with a group – it’s so very special. It also depends on the piece that I’m playing.”

Chloe made her BBC Proms debut in 2002 - the Blue Peter Prom, which she enjoyed immensely, playing Carmen Fantasy with Rumon Gamba conducting with whom she’s performing this week in Denmark - and her US concerto debut in 2003.

She’s performed in major UK venues like the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall; European venues including the Vienna Musikverein, Louvre and Salle Gaveau and The Hermitage in St Petersburg as well as Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Arts Space in Tokyo and the Seoul Arts Centre.

Those Chloe’s performed with include everybody from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Slatkin to a tour with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. This year and next she’ll play with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Houston Symphony, Moscow State Symphony and Prague Symphony to name a few.

While always dreaming of recording and playing as a career, she never really thought about success; considering herself very lucky to have had the opportunities she’s had.

It’s not all work; although music features heavily in her downtime too. While she loves classical music, you’re just as likely to hear Glenn Miller, Edith Piaf, Muse and Piazzolla on her iPod playlists.

Her usual repertoire may include violin concertos by Britten, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Korngold, Shostakovich, Barber, Bernstein, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Elgar Tchaikovsky, Walton and Sibelius but she’s also a champion of contemporary works by Adams, Glass, Corigliano, Nyman and Brett Dean.

“I do think it’s very important to perform modern works; they’re so interesting and intricate and often very complex which I find fascinating.

“There are some truly great modern violin concerti out there; for example, the Brett Dean Violin Concerto or the Glass Violin Concerto, which I absolutely love to play.”

Her performance at this year’s Festival of Music, which began last night with the London Mozart Players, will include the very driven Brahms Scherzo from the FAE Sonata, the “absolutely, heart-wrenchingly gorgeous” three Szymanowksi Mythes and the Franck Violin Sonata which Chloe says is one of the most beautiful violin sonatas.

In an added coup, she’ll be giving a violin masterclass afterwards.

“I believe there are four or five people coming so I’m very much looking forward to doing that. I’ve done a few, mostly in the States, and always enjoy doing them. It’s very interesting for me.

“It [what she’ll be doing] will depend on each person who comes to play, I’ll sort of see how it goes. I tend to focus more on the music side of things while trying to incorporate technical sides within that or just give advice. I’ve performed in Bury St Edmunds and in Aldeburgh but not in Ipswich so I’m very much looking forward to coming.”

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