1- You stated your family were musical. Can you specify this background please?
Yes, I grew up in a family of musicians. My father is a violinist, and my mother is a violinist. Both of them played in various orchestras in Romania and abroad, and they also gave violin, viola and chamber music lessons for many years. Moreover, my brother is also a violinist, so we all enjoy having long discussions about music when we see each other.
2- Can you tell me more about your debut performance and your feelings at the time?
My first public performance took place when I was 6. I remember it was during a Christmas celebration at the kindergarden when I played for the children, their parents and especially for Santa! I remember I played a short folk song, and then I saw my parents smiling. At that time, my wish was to receive a beautiful doll, and Santa seemed to guess my wish, and so he gave me a beautiful doll as a present. I was extremely happy!
3- Who was your first music teacher?
My parents were my first music teachers. I remember I had not only violin lessons with them, but also music theory and very basic piano lessons. After one year, I started having private lessons with Adrian Ceapa, the concert-master of Paul Constantinescu Philharmonic Orchestra from Ploiesti, my native town.
4- In 2007 you won the first prize, the special prize and the George Enescu medal at Remember Enescu International Violin Competition in Sinaia, Romania. What pieces did you play and what were your feelings having received this accolade?
That Competition was a significant step in my development as a violinist at that time. I was concentrated throughout the whole day of that performance, waiting for the evening when I had to play. No phones, no chats with anyone, no Internet connection before the performance. I could not think of anything except for the music I was going to play. Although I knew the repertoire very well, the competition was still very challenging in terms of music and technique, as well as nervous control. I played Caprice No. 9 by Paganini and Impromptu Concertant by Enescu in the first round, following by the first movement of Paganini’s 4th Concerto, and the Othello Fantasy by Ernst in the second round. I was so involved in my playing during the competition, that I didn’t even realise when it was finished. Winning the first prize, the special prize and the George Enescu medal was such an encouraging experience for me! I remember I was so happy that I gave an immense hug to one of the candidates!
5- You have been a postgraduate student at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, under the guidance of Yossi Zivoni. How have you felt to be mentored by this professor?
Well, we have both worked very well together. I feel I have made a significant progress under his guidance.
6- Clearly Romania has a rich musical tradition both classical and traditional. Do you get strength and inspiration from this heritage in your performances?
Yes, I find Romanian folk music very inspiring, especially when I think about my own childhood. I grew up there, surrounded by an amazing energetic spirit everywhere I used to go. The first melodies I learnt during my childhood were folk songs.
I am actually planning to do a Romanian Music Project, to promote the many beautiful pieces of music written by Romanian composers who were not as fortunate as Enescu to be famous in the classical music circuit.
7- How often do you practice?
I practice every day. Of course there are some periods of time when I allow myself some days off, but this happens when I feel extremely tired.
8- Who would your dream accompanist be?
Someone who brings as much energy into making music as I do.
9- Who is your favourite musician and why?
Difficult question, as the list is very long. To be short, I will just mention two of them: one is the Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache, who had a clear vision of what he wanted to do with every piece of music during his orchestra rehearsal. Every single detail was important to him, and he had the knowledge and courage to have different visions than any other conductor. I learnt a lot from watching his documentaries, especially because he was a genius musician and also a mathematician and physician.
Secondly, I was always inspired by the Russian violinist David Oistrakh. I have seen many of his video recordings and I absolutely adore his sound and his way of playing. His technique had always served the music.
10- Would you consider teaching in the future?
I have already started giving violin lessons.
11- When did you first appear as a soloist with an orchestra and how was it received?
I made my orchestral debut in 2007, one month before the Remember Enescu Competition. I was 17 at that time, and I had been waiting for that moment since I was 9.
It was a success, and I was fortunate to do the national premiere of the Othello Fantasy by Ernst.
12- How do you balance your study, performance and leisure times? What are the biggest sacrifices?
Obviously free time is limited when you have so many things to prepare for. Thus, this has made me value my spare time even more. Practicing and performing are parts of a musician’s regular discipline and they give sense to one’s life. I find this an amazing benefit, rather than a sacrifice. People very often think that you sacrifice your youth if you practice too much without going out with friends regularly. I don’t agree with this, as long as you love what you do.
Regular practice and performing made me more selective regarding how I choose to spend my free time.
13- Can you share with us an abiding memory in connection with one of your performances or competitions?
The happiest performance for me was in 2008, when I had the chance to play in a concert as soloist with Beirut Chamber Orchestra, where my father was the conductor and my mother was the concert-master. This was an experience I will never forget!
14- What advice would you give fellow music students who are at the start of their journey?
Find something that motivates you and brings sense to your life. Then work hard to be able to leave something behind you before you leave this world. Nowadays the world is full of all sort of rules, standards, and labels, but the human spirit and inner strength is way much more than that. Look inside yourself instead of asking for other people’s approval.
And if someone closes a door in front of you right before succeeding, make sure you get in back on the window and don’t give up! ☺
15- Do you have any future projects in the pipeline you would like to share with us?
Yes, I have some recitals coming up in the next months, as well as a concert as soloist with orchestra in April.