Canadian viola player Ariane Alexander has been playing with London Firebird Orchestra for over three years now and is involved in a range of orchestral and chamber music activities internationally. Today we hear her story…
Let’s start by hearing about your music training…
I began studying violin at age 8 in a school program in Canada with Robert McCausland. Performing Vivaldi in the school orchestra made me fall in love with playing, so I decided to pursue music seriously. I completed my undergraduate studies in violin with Nancy Dahn of Duo Concertante, (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and I completed my post-graduate studies in viola with Stephanie Griffin of the Momenta Quartet (City University of New York). Since moving to London, I have continued taking lessons, most recently with violist Roger Chase.
And what other musical groups are you involved with?
I have been fortunate to be involved with a diverse group of ensembles since moving to London including St Paul’s Sinfonia, the Hastings Philharmonic, Opera de Bauge (France) Quartet Pro Musica, Kammerphilharmonie Europa (Germany), and more recently with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Tell us some of the highlights of your career to date…
It’s difficult to name only a couple of career highlights because I’ve been involved in so many wonderful projects, both as a soloist and as an ensemble member. Last May I returned to Canada to perform Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, which was very special. I also performed a viola concerto, to be played with a laptop orchestra, from composers Margaret Schedel and Sarah O’Halloran, which I had the opportunity to perform with the Princeton Laptop Orchestra and again at Stony Brook University.
And what about your future ambitions in music?
My future ambitions are fairly modest. I simply want to keep doing a diverse range of projects, both with large orchestras and smaller ensembles. There was much to learn when I moved from New York, and the wonderful musicians of London have provided an incredible example of how to pursue a sophisticated artistry in music. When I am a bit more settled in London, I would very much like to do a solo recital, and perhaps re-visit the Shostakovich Viola Sonata and some other works, so I have a chance to apply some depth to the music, now that my musical voice is starting to mature and come into its own.
What do you see as the value of Firebird to musicians like yourself?
Firebird has been an important part of my life since moving to London – working with some really inspirational conductors, meeting keen players and really delving beneath the surface of some of classical master works. I love the energy level. There’s always a feeling of spontaneity when we play. Everyone is in their prime, trying to make their mark on the musical world and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible – a little softer, a little faster – it really brings the music to life and makes the performances memorable.
The next concert in the 2018 Firebird Season is on Sunday 25 March at Kings Place with Firebird’s Little Surprise. Join us for a fabulous evening of Haydn, Strauss, Mozart and Schubert.