Last week I published the first part of my interview with violinist Esther Abrami. That first part covered her background, upcoming concerts, the story of her instrument, her family, and more. If you missed part 1, click here to read it now. As the interview continued, I asked Esther about several other aspects of her career:
HZ: I am curious whether social media plays a role in the way that you are promoting your career?
EA: Yes, it has been wonderful, really! The main Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 25. When I post violin pieces that I play, I often hear from people who like it, and I receive very nice messages. In fact, I had met one person who lives in Paris and we have become good friends, even though we have not met in person…
HZ: Do you have any non-musical hobbies such has running outdoors?
EA: No, the main activity that I like to do is Yoga, and it helps a lot in my violin playing.
HZ: Do you use a shoulder rest when you play the violin?
EA: No, I do not use anything now. In the past, I experimented with many things, and I found that playing with nothing is best for me. I can feel more of the instrument’s vibration that way.
HZ: In Part 1 of the interview, we spoke briefly about your concert that is without orchestral accompaniment. Please tell us more about how that feels to play?
EA: In a concert where a violinist plays alone, one typically hears a Bach Solo Sonata, or music by Paganini. And I decided that I wanted a different program. As I told you, I am going to play the Khachaturian Sonata for violin alone, and also another 20th century piece, the Prokofiev solo Sonata. My third selection is by Heinrich Biber, who was born in 1644.
HZ: Let’s talk more about the Khachaturian piece. As I recall, he was an Armenian composer, so his music may actually be filled with some Middle Eastern sounds. Would you play some of this Sonata for me, please?
EA: Yes, this piece contains a lot of glissandos and Gypsy sounds. I feel as though it is an improvisation. In addition, the composer instructed the performer to use the metal end of the violin bow to tap on the violin’s chin rest, and this adds a percussive aspect to this composition. I will demonstrate…
HZ: I have one last question. I am always interested in people’s last names. Perhaps the reason is because of my own somewhat unique last name. Could you describe the origins of your last name?
EA: My father’s family came from North Africa, and they settled in Marseilles, France many years ago, probably two generations ago.
HZ: It is always interesting how people and families move around all over the globe. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and my readers, and I hope that I might have the pleasure to meet you personally one day soon. And best of success to you in your career!
In part 1 of the interview, we discussed the Blackfriars Camerata, which Ms. Aberami now leads. Here is a recent promotional video about the group.
…and finally, one more video that Esther just made available on her YouTube channel – showing a wonderful glimpse of Esther and the Blackfriars Camerata playing the Gluck Melodie for solo violin and string orchestra.