benjamin schmid tackles 10 questions

another classical show, another world-class musician coming to the schnitz.  this time we lucky portlanders get to hear austrian benjamin schmid jam with the band, and i’m tellin’ you it’s gonna be a goodie.

you’ll be playing william bolcom’s violin concerto with the oregon symphony this weekend – how would you describe this piece to someone who doesn’t know much about classical music?

It is one of the best contemporary violin concertos I know – it combines complex composing tools with clarity in expression.  For me, its message is playfulness, dancing, sophisticated harmony, Nostalgia, virtuosity, and tectonic danger.

why is the violin so awesome?

Because it can connect two notes in the most beautiful and varied way.

what’s so great about experiencing classical music live?

We constantly deal with the greatest spirits of mankind, making them alive through playing, and it is continuous team work: other great instrumentalists, conductors, composers, arrangers, violinmakers, concert promoters,             audiences – we all work together to enable one fantastic and instant experience: music.

how do you feel at the end of a concert?

I ask myself: How is this possible, all these shared feelings, this unspeakable communication?

if you weren’t a musician, what profession would you choose?

I have no idea.

how is playing jazz different from playing classical?

In jazz you can change a mistake into an idea – if you can keep a pokerface.  As a classical violinist, if you play with good intonation, it’s already half a win; in jazz if you play with good timing, it’s already a 95% win.

if i were to buy you a drink, what would you order?

But I don`t know you…

what composers really rock your world?

Bartok, Brahms.

what is your guilty pleasure in the world of pop music?

I have lots of other vices.

any thoughts as to what sets the oregon symphony apart from other orchestras?

Since I am there for the first time, I don´t know yet – but I know James Gaffigan, and he is superb.  So I expect an exemplary interpretation with this famous American orchestra in this outstanding American violin concerto.  I can’t wait to play!

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3 Responses to “benjamin schmid tackles 10 questions”


  1. 1 Brooke October 25, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Really hope I can see him!

  2. 2 carl h October 26, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Since Benjamin won’t let you buy him a drink, would you buy one for me instead?


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