Janita Sumeiko Photography

Interview with violinist Yuliya Lebedenko

Published on June 24, 2015 under Portraits

Interview with violinist Yuliya Lebedenko

The idea to make a photo interview came to me a long time ago. Perhaps I waited for the right moment and the right person to start with. When I was arranging a photo session with Yuliya Lebedenko and found out that she is a violin player, the idea to ask her some questions came immediately to me.

My first impression of Yuliya was unforgettable. From the first second she kept smiling, joking, laughing – without doubt she is one of the loveliest and outgoingness person I’ve ever met in my life!

During the photo session we had an amazing atmosphere so I completely forgot we didn’t know each other just some minutes before…So let’s move to an interview and enjoy the beauty of her soul!

Q: Yuliya, please tell us a little bit of your childhood, where are you from?
A: (laughing) Well, I’m from Minsk, Belarus. I have a musical family, both my mother and uncle are violinists, grandparents loved to sing, I was surrounded with artists and therefore it was natural for me to begin playing violin at the very young age. I have been into music since a childhood. I begun singing before attending my violin classes.

Q: Did you understand that music is yours or did you attend the music classes just because you must to?
A: I have a very supportive family and my mother asked me if I want to learn music. Being a child and being raised in musical society made an influence on me that I was pretty sure from the beginning that I am an artist and it is my way.

Q: Do you remember your first appearance on a stage?
A: Oh yes! (laughing) Okey, my first appearance on a stage was with a song, but I don’t remember that much. Later I was playing at the concert, I was six years old and I was playing in honor of a holiday. I enjoyed it so much, I had fun and realised that I was born for the stage. Great feelings!

Q: You were such a brave little girl, I mean staying on a stage surrounded with lots of people. Didn’t you have any fear?
A: Absolutely no! (laughing) I had only joy and enjoyed every single moment of being on stage. Moreover I would say I loved it. Being an artist is my calling, being on stage is my need.

Q: You are from Belarus, what was your way to Austria, Vienna?
A: At the age of 16 I applied for a scholarship at the Italian college. It was a tough competition among many talented young people from various countries, but I was lucky enough to get a desired study place. Of course it was a big decision in my life. I had to be responsible for my own life. It wasn’t that simple, but I wanted to move forward. The most difficulties I had with English language. You know, subjects such philosophy and math aren’t that easy in English…

Q: I understand you. Why didn’t you stay in Italy?
A: After graduating the college I wanted to continue my studies. A lot of opportunities where to study were available. I received even a scholarship from Boston Conservatory, but despite it I chose to stay in Europe. I think I wasn’t ready to move to another continent, but ready to explore a new country. In the end I enrolled to Vienna Conservatory. All in all Austria is the country of music. But seemed it wasn’t enough for me (laughing). I begun to study at the same time at the Royal Academy of Music in London, but it didn’t last long. Living and studying constantly between two cities was exhausting.  When I woke up in the plane and though “In which direction does this bus go and where am I, in England or in Austria?” it was a sign I must stop. I continued my studies in Vienna.

Q: Have you ever thought of playing in the orchestra? Without doubt you could be a part of the famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
A: It is not exactly my musical way. In my opinion musicians are two types. One type of them feels good in a big team like in orchestra. Another type wants to bring in life more individuality and own creativity. It doesn’t mean I don’t work in teams, it is the opposite. I like to work in small teams, but I want to be the first violin. I have ideas, thoughts, wishes and energy to fulfil it, that’s why I prefer small teams and like to be a leader.

Q: So what are you doing now?
A: As I said, I like to work in small teams and I have good team members. I am organising my concerts in Austria and in Belarus as well as abroad, I’m touring with my new album. I’m singing in different languages, playing violin and sometimes piano. I am available for private events such as weddings, for example, where I can choose repertoire and exclusively adapt it to event. I also participate in charity events. I have a plenty of work to do.

Q: I see you have a lot of motivation and you love your job. What else do you want to achieve in your career?
A: For me it is necessary to share classical music with people and my wish is to make music available for everyone. This is my main goal. I am always open to charity projects and think we can make our world better doing things we can for the good sake. Together with charity Funds we organize charity events and concerts.

As an artist I want to be involved in interesting and unique projects. For example, I had an amazing collaboration with an austrian artist Hape Schreiberhuber. He paints music live during a concert and it is a show for spectators. I would love to see more involvement from associates to create great things. In my opinion people should share their talents with others.

Q: I respect you and like very much that you are down to earth. What are your fans?
A: Music is the way to be united with yourself. Everyone can listen my music, I cannot pick out any average quality of my listeners. I know that I am playing for everyone. Every time I play or sing I share my soul with listeners and these feelings connect me with audience during my performances. I want music to be without borders.

Q: What kind of music actually do you like? What are your favourite artists?
A: I prefer classical music and have favourite songs, not authors. My favourite composition is Chaconne from the Partita for violin solo no.2 (d-moll) by J. S. Bach.

Q: Do you have any favourite places where you are eager to play? Where would you love to have your next concert?
A: No, places aren’t import for me. I play for people, it doesn’t matter where I play, important is that people enjoy my performance. My goal is to make classical music available for everyone. Those people who cannot afford to buy expensive tickets for concerts also deserve to listen to good music. I played in many places which weren’t equipped as music-halls like , but the atmosphere of a concert lies in audience, not in the building.

I like to perform in Italy and Spain very much, I have a nice experience in the USA. I would probably love to go to Japan and Australia. I guess Japan is close to me.

Q: What is your scariest moment in life related with music?
A: A movie was filmed in Italy, I had to play violin at night in complete darkness on a rock in see.

Q: Were you afraid of the darkness and sea?
A: Not at all. I was afraid of dropping my violin in the sea, because it would get broken.

Q: That definitely didn’t come to my mind at all. By the way the instruments are expensive, how much does an ordinary violin cost?
A: That depends…Good ones cost from 25000 EUR. But the perfect ones from Stradivari could cost you millions of dollars.

Q: Hm, do you think is it worth it? What are so special in expensive violins?
A: Well, you could play of course any violin. They differ and expensive ones have more possibilities you to play, they have more effects, which couldn’t be played on ordinary ones. Because of that it is important for the musician to hold a good instrument, which allows him to do what he wants.

Q: I got the idea. Needless to say you should be a master of your work. And what kind of violin do you have?
A: I am very delighted to be an owner of the violin which was held by Lev Gorelik, the concertmaster of The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.

Q: It is time for a few quick questions. Coffee or tea?
A: Tea.

Q: Mountains or sea?
A: Sea.

Q: Morning or evening?
A: Evening, because it is a concert time!

Q: To listen or to speak?
A: To speak (laughing).

Q: What advice will you give to someone, who wants to play violin?
A: My advice for a beginner would be to be patient and choose an appropriate repertoire.

Q: And one more advice for the readers, please! 
A: Do not hold a fear not to do something and fulfil yourself!

I guess it was a pleasure for you to see the photos as well as to read about Yuliya. Do you have some more questions to her? Don’t hesitate to ask in comments :)