Artist Interview: Violinist Esther Abrami
February 7, 2017
On Fenruary 1, 2017, I interviewed violinist Esther Abrami. She was at
her home in London. I was in the San Francisco Bay Area, about 5400
miles away. I’m separating the interview into two posts and in this
first one, we cover her upbringing, her teachers, and her wonderful
violin. It was a very enjoyable conversation!
HZ: Did you grow up in a musical family?
EA: My parents love music, but I did not grow up in a musical
environment. However, my grandmother is a violinist, living in France.
HZ: How wonderful for you that your grandmother also plays the violin.
Did you see her often as you were growing up?
EA: I don’t see her very often unfortunately, but I always love calling
her and telling her all about my up coming concerts and the pieces I am
HZ: What performances are coming up for you?
EA: I am doing some recording in the U.K. and in France. And in June, I
am going to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the Waterloo Festival,
which takes place at Saint Jones Church. In the second half of this
concert, I will lead the Blackfriars Camerata orchestra from the
concertmaster’s chair in Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony. The date of
the concert is June 10th.
For the Four Seasons, the date is already up on the Blackfriars Camerata
website. It will be on the 10th of June at Saint Jones Church in
HZ: Please tell me about your violin; I understand that it was crafted
by Carlo Giuseppe Testore.
(aside) Carlo Guiseeppe Testore was born in 1625 and crafted instruments
in his workshop in Milan in the early 1700’s. Esther’s violin is more
than 300 years old.
EA: Some years ago I went to several shops, as I began to look for a new
instrument. At one of the shops I was handed an instrument, and I did
not know who the maker was. After playing this violin for two minutes, I
said to myself “This is my violin”. I found a connection with it. I have
owned it for about five years. I purchased it in Amsterdam.
HZ: From your own Web site, I learned that you participated in a Master
Class with violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi. Would you share with me and with
my readers how that experience was for you?
(aside) Shumel Ashkenasi is a music teacher I’m familiar with and have
seen his work in videos online and I was interested in how Esther’s
experience was with him.
EA: Yes… it was a 1-1 session, and it lasted about 45 minutes. He gave
me some helpful technical insights on my performance of the Faure violin
Sonata. He showed me how he would play it.
HZ: Oh, yes… teaching violin is a very complex skill. Back in the day of
Heifetz, there also was just one way of playing (the right way, the way
the teacher would play it). Later, however, things changed and as an
example, the teacher of Yitzhak Perlman, Dorothy Delay, was always
interested in how the student might bring new and exciting
interpretations to the music …
EA: Yes, exactly. My teacher now is Leonid Kerbel, and I have my violin
lessons at the Royal college of Music. We always discuss the music that
I am working on. And I find that this type of teaching can lead to my
being completely inspired.
HZ: I understand that you also have a career in modeling?
EA: I am a violinist. I am lucky to be able to do some modeling. I have
benefited from it; it helped me a lot – especially with yoga… and in
other physical ways as a violin player, with my posture, etc.
HZ: Tell me about the orchestra conductors under whose direction you
EA: It is interesting how important a conductor is. I find that I
connect, emotionally, with what a conductor is doing, and the sections
of the music that receive their emphasis.
HZ: One of the huge
challenges for any performer is the requirement for travel. Have you had
to deal with a lot of travel so far in your career?
EA: My travel so far has been mostly in Europe, so it has been
reasonable. But I hope to come to the US next year, possibly in an
exchange program with the Manhattan School of Music.
In my next post of this interview with Ms Abrami we will talk about
Esther’s description of an upcoming concert in which she will perform
three compositions for violin alone. This was really interesting. The
selections she will perform are by Khachaturian, Prokofiev, and Biber.
So stay tuned to My Classical Notes for the next installment of my
enjoyable talk with Esther Abrami.
Here she is on YouTube, performing the brief and humerous Scherzo from
Beethoven’s Spring Sonata:
in France in 1996, Esther graduated from the Aix-en-
Provence Conservatoire at the age of 13. She
continued her studies at Chetham’s School of Music
in Manchester where she studied with Jan Repko. In
2015, Esther began her undergraduate degree at the
Royal College of Music in London, studying with
Esther recently took part in masterclasses with
musicians such as Shmuel Ashkenasi, Lewis Kaplan and
She gave a recital at the British Embassy in Paris,
at the annual Rotary charity concert and was awarded
the first price at the Vatelot Rampal violin
competition as well as receiving the Honorable
mention at the Rising stars Grandprix competition in
As a chamber musician Esther is part of a quartet
that has been invited to the Wigmore Hall Learning
National Young String Quartet Weekend.
Repko学习。 2015年，Esther开始了她在伦敦皇家音乐学院的学士学位，并与Leonid Kerbel一起学习。
艾斯特最近参加了音乐家大师班，如Shmuel Ashkenasi，Lewis Kaplan和Charlie Siem。