Challenge, Emotion and Expression: Tamsin Waley-Cohen discusses life as a musician

On Saturday 18 February, Tamsin Waley-Cohen performs Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone. We took the chance to ask her a few questions about her journey as a musician and life as a professional solo artist.

Have you performed at Leas Cliff before? If so, what do you like about the venue?

I haven’t, but I always enjoy exploring new venues and meeting new audiences!

What inspired you to become a musician?

I saw an orchestra on TV when I was two at the BBC Proms. I was transfixed and kept asking about the violin. After eighteen months, my parents found someone to teach me and I have loved it ever since!

Why did you choose the violin?

I think it was the sound of the violin that initially attracted me to it, and it is the still the sound that I’m obsessed with! It can evoke countless emotions and images and after all, as musicians, sound is our medium and through it we must express everything!

What is the best thing about being a soloist?

The violin repertoire is just fantastic and the concerto repertoire in particular. We are very spoilt! It is a huge buzz playing in great halls with fantastic orchestras and conductors and a challenge as well, which I relish. 

What makes Bruch’s Violin Concerto special to you?

It’s the epitome of Romanticism, the violin emerging out of the mists, playing the role of the Romantic Hero, galloping through the forests, falling in love, and ending triumphantly. 

Why do you like working with the RPO?

The RPO was the first major orchestra that I worked with and had my first major London date with! They are one of the best, and I always feel so supported and welcomed. Of course the playing is world-class, but also the sense of listening, bringing out the dialogues in the music and having a sense of spontaneity. 

What do you listen to in your spare time?

I love listening to singers like Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as Simon and Garfunkel. I still listen to loads of classical music though, on a long trip I’m more likely to put on one of the great Symphonies or a Song Cycle. 

You have achieved so much already. What are your future musical goals?

Thank you - it feels like there is a great deal more to do! There is so much great music to explore, and endlessly more to learn every day. I feel very lucky to combine solo and chamber work, and working with fantastic composers, and recording, and I hope that can continue and grow.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Be true to yourself. 


Don’t miss the chance to hear Tamsin Waley-Cohen as she brings the ‘Romantic Hero’ to life in Bruch’s Violin Concerto at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on Saturday 18 February, 7.30pm.


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