In July 2013 at the end of concert, with Arditti Quartet and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, I met by chance Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, at the Royal Albert Hall and we started discussing the concert. As we were both hungry, we continued the conversation over dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The discussion covered music, education in music and art. This was my first visit to London and after dinner I was convinced that the next step in my musical education would be to come and study in London. Even though I am only seventeen and my experience of the world is obviously limited, I found the musical environment amazing, as well as the possibility of meeting outstanding musicians and to share the same passion, this on an altogether different scale from any other city where I have performed and studied before.
A month later on that summer, I joined the British Isles Music Festival, an equally stimulating and encouraging musical experience. The discussions I had at the festival with other students, accompanists, teachers, and Richard Deakin, with whom I had master classes, helped me to decide that I should apply at the Royal Academy of Music. I also met Alex Redington, first violin of the Doric String Quartet, who personally recommended me to continue my studies at the Royal Academy, telling me that the head of string was offering an attractive prospect for a student with ambitions such as mines.
Having started the violin at the age of four, music is neither an occupation nor an activity for me but more of an intrinsic and intimate part of my life. I shall summarize what I have done so far, to communicate despite limited means what music represents in my life.
By the age of five I had already played my first concerts at the Villa Louvigny (Luxembourg). I also obtained two gold medals at the international competition of Union Grand-Duc Adolphe as well as an unanimously awarded Grand Prix Sacem in 2005 and 2006. Later on I played Mozart Sonatas with Cyprien Katsaris during the International Festival of Echternach. After getting my premier prix in violin, chamber music and music theory at the Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg, I became in 2010 a student of Philippe Koch, and then went on to join the 'jeune talent' program at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège. Since 2009, I have been privileged to play on a Landolfi from 1775.
Born into a well known family of Belgian musicians, Philippe Koch was a student of Christian Ferras, Arthur Grumiaux and Pierre Amoyal. Being the first concertmaster of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, he is also pursuing an international career as a soloist and chamber musician, playing in a range of different groups including Trio Grumiaux, Quatuor Louvigny and the Brussels String Quartet.
Along with my violin studies I developed a passion for conducting which I started studying in 2011 with Carlo Jans at the Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg. Having analyzed and conducted many different works including Haydn’s symphony no 90, Beethoven’s second symphony, Schubert’s unfinished symphony, Brahms’ first symphony, Liszt’s Preludes and even the two suites for small orchestra by Stravinsky, the discipline of conducting has brought important changes in how I conceive and interpret music. It allowed me to open myself to a certain freedom while bringing me closer to the language of composers. Now I cannot content myself with playing a work without knowing all of its architecture. For these reasons I wish to continue my conducting studies at the same level as the violin.
I have not yet spoken of my love for chamber music. I like to communicate feelings without the use of speech in a very intimate way with other musicians. I have had the opportunity to play regularly in trio with international pianist Jean Muller. Currently we are playing the Brahms' Trio n.1, Smetana's Trio in G minor, and the Ravel Trio. I also founded a trio with two other students, an accordionist and a cellist and we are mainly playing works from Astor Piazzolla.
I have played on few occasions with professional orchestras including the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of Luxembourg and since 2010 I am the concertmaster of the Orchestre Symphonique du Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg.
Although general knowledge is sometimes despised, I believe we should constantly push the limits of our knowledge and diversify as much as possible our musical experiences. To quote Debussy «Pour moi, se spécialiser, c'est rétrécir d'autant son univers.» - « For me to specialize is to shrink your universe». I dream about a fulfilling and creative career where I can combine all these different ways to express myself: solo performances, orchestra, chamber music, conducting, and encompassing classical, traditional, modern and contemporary music.
Studying in a city like London is a privilege for a young musician like me who wishes to attain the highest level and to become more and more versatile. With its fantastic concert halls, the diverse range of top orchestras and the high level of the students, I believe that London has become one of Europe's centers of classical music. Apart from its great musical heritage and the long tradition, I see that the Royal Academy gives its students all the tools to success in today's and the future's musical world - contemporary as well as historical performance opportunities, many chamber music and orchestral possibilities, an international music experience through workshops and master-classes, and so on. This is the place where I would like to grow, share my passion, spend my energy and contribute to the long chain of great musicians who have been or are currently teaching, among whom some of my favorite musicians.