Born in London in 1986, violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is one of the ECHO Rising Stars for the 2016-17 season. She will perform at Luxembourg's Philharmonie on Tuesday 8 November as part of ECHO Rising Stars recital tour. Tamsin's latest CD, an album of violin concertos by John Adams and Roy Harris with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton, is available on Signum now. Please read her interview with Pizzicato's Remy Franck.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen
(c) Patrick Allen

You are a rising star within the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO). Do you believe a British artist has his place in the musical Europe?
Certainly. We all have a lot to share and learn from each other.

Do you fear that the exchange will somehow be handicapped, once the UK is no longer a member in the European Union?
It may be. I hope it will not. We are still to see how this will all pan out. I strongly believe that the values and shared humanity that bind us together are far more important that small differences.

Touring means traveling. Do you like it?
Sometimes. I love being in different places, experiences different cultures and new ideas. The airports and airplanes are less exciting!

Touring means also, coming in, having often not really enough time to rehearse with an orchestra. Is this something that bothers you?
I do think that this can be problematic, as ideally there would be time to reach a shared interpretation and feel completely at home together, breathing the music together as one does in chamber music. Sometimes this is possible but not always!

Do you have a preference for being a soloist with orchestra or a chamber musician?
I love both. I feel that each one enhances and enriches the other. Skills learned from one are invaluable in the other. For example, I treat concerti like making chamber music together with the orchestra, enjoying the duets and interplay and making music together. Listening cannot be underestimated! The buzz of playing a concerto is thrilling – we violinists are very lucky in our repertoire. But nothing beats the quartet repertoire.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen (c) Patrick Allen

Tamsin Waley-Cohen
(c) Patrick Allen

You are an advocate for contemporary music. This means that you have to fight against presenters who would rather like you to play the common repertoire and you have to fight for the audience’s attention. Is this tough?
It can be tough, although more and more I find presenters are open to new repertoire. I think that programming is key, everything should be in context.

How much contemporary music can the audience manage to listen to?
It depends completely on the audience!

Is the current concert life the ideal format for contemporary music or even for music in general?
Sometimes I think that there is too much formality. There should be more contact between artists and the public. After all, the public are part of the performance experience too! There is room for everything – from the great symphony halls to the chamber salons to the new classical club nights. I think the possibility to have an exchange of ideas is key.

What do you expect from a contemporary piece?
I hope that it will be moving, and that it will touch the heart of the musicians and the audience in its expression of humanity.

Do you have a favourite contemporary composer?
No, I’m not big on favourites! I am thrilled that Oliver Knussen has written us the beautiful “Reflection” though, as he has been one of my great musical heroes for many, many years!

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