1st January 2020
Welcome back to the life of Vanessa the Violinist on New Years Eve! I always find this the best time to reflect on the year that has just passed and show us all just how much we've achieved even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.
At the start of the decade I was getting ready to take my music scholarship auditions to Oakham School. It wasn't until January 2010 (at the age of thirteen) that I understood how to practice and even learnt how to sight read which as a severly dyslexic kid at the time was a major achievement thanks to my amazing clarinet teacher Steve Morris. In February 2010, after my scholarship audition and having improved so much in just two months I was accepted at the school and my love for the violin continued to grow ever since. In summer 2010 I went on the annual Rugby Sinfonia trip to Venice run by my first teacher Alan Broadbent who sadly passed away at the end of this year. This trip was an extra inspiring experience playing string orchestra repertoire with lots of older and experienced players. I then started at Oakham in September 2010.
My time at Oakham School was extremely difficult and not always easy but I'm glad I stuck through it as I wouldn't be the musician I am today without having been a pupil there. At the beginning of 2011 I remember a car journey with my father about how I wanted to become a professional violinist and he told me that I had to practice for four hours a day in order to achieve this. I agreed and in the Easter holidays of 2011 I started my practicing journey and learned how to be disciplined enough to do all the hours I needed (granted that sometimes I failed but I always picked myself up and kept on practicing).
In September 2012, I did my first audition in London for the National Youth String Orchestra which I was really nervous about and thought I'd completely screwed up but I was wrong and was offered a place. I attend two years in NYSO which helped me to develop further as a violinist as well as meeting some really great people. One of which is Lizzie Elliott who I ended up forming a piano trio with years later at college.
I completed my GCSEs and made the difficult decision to leave Oakham School and continue my A Levels at Loughborough High School. Here I met some amazing friends and enjoyed more freedom socially as well as giving me lots of time to get ready for my music conservatoire auditions.
July 2014 was the premiere of the Great Bowden Music Fest which in my present life is always the highlight of my year. In the first festival I got to perform the Mendelssohn Octet with my father and his colleagues giving me the opportunity to fall in love with chamber music at the age of seventeen and give me rare experience of playing with a professional group before even attending college. What an inspiration!
I then did my entrance auditions for music conservatoire and started studying in September 2015 at the RNCM. Although it was a really tough four years, I actually graduated this summer with a BMus (Hons) in Violin Performance. I'm so glad I stuck through my time at the RNCM, I made some really amazing life long friends and contacts I will treasure for the years to come.
As for 2019 here is a list of my top 5 best moments:
1. Graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music with a Bachelor of Music with Honours
2. Gaining a first in my final recital at the RNCM
3. All the amazing chamber music players that I've performed with this year at the Great Bowden Music Fest, Festival Fresco, my String Trio (Ana Marta Aguiar and Jerome McGuinness) and my amazing duo partner Radu Prisada and of course my parents
4. Starting Festival Fresco with my co founder and composer Natasha Sofla
5. Moving out of the UK in the Autumn to Brussels and starting to build my networks in central Europe
If thirteen year old me could look ten years into the future to see how I've turned out I think she would be mightily impressed. I'm so proud that even though I've been through some tough times, I stuck by what I wanted and really enjoying playing the violin today.
Who knows what the new year and decade has to offer, I'll be starting next month with masters auditions in Germany and getting ready for some other projects. If I have one dream for myself today it's that I get to move back there in the coming months developing new contacts.
I would like to thank everyone that has been apart of my journey these last ten years and especially to my parents, my German mother (Marlies Sütterlin) and German sister (Lisa Sütterlin), friends and my two star violin teachers my father and Pavel Fischer.
I hope you all have an amazing New Year :)