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Meet the Musician - Elation Pauls

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Q: Tell us about your violin.

For most of my university years, I was lucky enough to play on a violin loaned to me from the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts. When it came time to buy my own professional instrument, I was studying in Germany and fell in love with this instrument at a shop around the corner from Johannes Brahms Square in Hamburg. The violin was made in 1935 by Paul Knorr in Markneukirchen, Germany.

Q: What is the difference between first and second violin?

Second violinists are the modest ones. 😉 Everyone in the first and second violin sections play the same instrument, but the sections play different notes and rhythms. Typically, the first violin line carries the melody while the second violins play a countermelody or harmonic line – similar to the sopranos and altos in a choir. Playing second violin is often a bit more taxing on the body, since we are playing on the lower two strings more often and have to raise our right (bow) arm for longer periods of time.

Q: Many patrons think that when the season ends, the musicians get the summer off, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. What are you doing this summer?

Every week has something on the calendar! Between getting my daughters to their swimming lessons and overnight camps, visiting family in Saskatchewan for camping trips and milestone birthday celebrations, it would be full enough without my main passion in life – working as Artistic Director for the Rosamunde Summer Music Academy and Festival. Making sure that everything runs smoothly for the 10-day Academy with over 50 string students from BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Brazil and Mexico, and almost 20 faculty members is quite the task! I am very excited to be welcoming Mark Fewer (violin) and Matt Haimovitz (cello) as our distinguished guest artists this August, and look forward to performing with them in the Festival faculty concerts August 23 and 25. I’ll also be performing for the Red Haus Live series on July 21st.

Q: You and assistant conductor Naomi Woo teamed up once again to record a performance for our MY WSO TV subscribers - our exclusive summer concert recital series. Can you tell us about that?

It was wonderful to come up with this programme with Naomi Woo! We have so much repertoire to choose from that it took us a while to settle on three works which involve intimate songs. The first piece includes a lullaby that the composer’s mother sang to her as a baby. The second piece is a whole lot of fun and asks the violinist to insert a childhood song into the composition. I even have to sing while playing, which took some getting used to! The final piece is Brahms’ second violin sonata in A major. In it, Brahms quotes a few Lieder which he wrote for the admired singer Hermine Spies.

Q: What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

If people follow me on social media it’s pretty obvious that I enjoy baking, chocolate and getting outdoors with cross country skiing, skating, stand-up paddleboarding or whatever else there is to do. Maybe a little more surprising is that I’ve had an interest in skydiving since I learned about it in high school and actually went for a tandem jump near Steinbach to celebrate my 35th birthday. Once was probably enough… Although, I recently read about a woman who was 95 and checked skydiving off of her bucket list, so I guess you never know!