What do you feel you perform best
I feel that, very simply, I perform best what I enjoy best. What I enjoy is feeling that I play something well, so it forms a loop of sorts. The better I play the more I enjoy and that enjoyment spurs me on to play even better.
How do you choose your repertoire
Related to the previous answer, I will look through some music or library and find something that I feel would interest me. I will play it a bit, and then either the loop in the previous question fires up or not
What other music do you listen to and enjoy
Of course, like everyone, if something moves me I enjoy it. But going more into specific aesthetic interests, I have a fascination with metal, specifically Black Metal. The aesthetic is so very opposite to what I do yet its atmosphere and raw energy engages me.. Of course, there is a lot of terrible Black Metal which does not interest me at all but when it is done well it has something very unusual and expressive to say.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far
Sometimes I feel people have heard Classical Music (to use the term as a genre) and get bad associations with it that form a prejudicial stance. Maybe it is some sense of ennui or an idea that it is background music to societal posing. I believe that a performer really does make the piece of music that they play their own and that Classical Music is actually one of the more direct and accessible forms of expression. I am yet to find anyone that can truly resist this and yet too often the repertoire is put forward (or received) as being accessible only to those with the keys to comprehension.
Do you have a favorite venue
In Helsinki the Musikkitalo and Harpa in Iceland. There are of course many beautiful concert halls but I find that they all seem like an extension of the salon where public performances originated from. These contemporary halls offer a different type of space, one separate from the history of classical music and therefore free of its many accumulated cliches. Not only that but huge thought has gone into these contemporary venues. Acoustics, aesthetics, architecture, logistics, everything is considered and conducive to a great experience for the audience.
What is your most memorable concert experience
The first time I played the Paganini 24 Caprices was memorable. It so happened to have been in Harpa, Iceland. Everything about it was memorable. It was the first concert I had put on entirely myself managing everything and it was the first time to play the Caprices in concert.
Do you play with a shoulder rest
I stopped playing with a shoulder rest when I was about 19. I had been flirting with the idea for a time and when one day the shoulder rest broke, I had the opportunity to go for it. The extra contact with the instrument is something that I value. I would not advise it to everyone as each has their own way, but I think you should be able to do without even if you prefer to play with.
How do you keep yourself from injury
I have been fortunate to never have had any physical problems with playing the violin. I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint why that is but I do feel that it is important to adjust how you do things rather than try to, essentially, copy a particular dogma. There are a myriad of adjustments that one can make while, in principle, doing the ‘correct’ thing. Sometimes I feel people forgot how different the variations of the correct thing are limit their ability to adjust. Maybe this impacts on the actual physical state of the player?
Advice for young aspiring artists
I would start with, of course, keep going. I would also say though, as the cultural consumption environment changes ever so rapidly these days, give a quick think as to the value of what you do for other people. Of course the value to yourself is abundantly clear and need not conform to some current trend. However, if you want it to be heard and felt then that connection between you and your audience must be made somehow. Consider what the value is and how it is connected to an audience. But of course, number one is to be all that you can be first.