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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Nov 16, 2018

In this episode, I chat with Marina Thibeault, solo violist and chamber musician.  We discuss mindfulness, presence, and efficiency in the practice room, the importance of letting the music sing when we play, and her upcoming new recording featuring works by women composers.  Her and I also have a little surprise for our French speaking listeners: we will continue the discussion in French following the English! 

Marina’s approach to music making is authentic and fresh, and her insight on musicality is spot on!  I’m sure you will enjoy her point of view and get a lot of value from this episode!

Marina elaborates on:

  • Her beginnings on the violin, deeply rooted in French Canadian folk music
  • How yoga was an integral part of her violin routine from the very beginning
  • Her studies, from the Quebec Conservatory to the Curtis Institute, studying with Michael Tree
  • When and why she switched to viola
  • Her work with a sport psychologist
  • How she plans her practice
  • How knowing yourself is important in planning your work
  • How planning helps her being more present in her practice and keeps her focused
  • What being present in the practice room means to her: listening and singing
  • Her advice on how to start listening to ourselves
  • How working on musicality is more like “option adventure” rather than “problem-solving”
  • How it was to work with Michael Tree – how he trusted and nurtured all of his students, and how he was teaching “a lifestyle”
  • How she picked the pieces for her upcoming album: all written by female composers
  • How she feels there’s a need for more room for female composers
  • How she practiced creativity and feeling free in the practice room in preparation for her first album
  • How being a good human is good! 😉
  • How finding balance between pursuing artistry and self-marketing is important, and how crucial it is to keep playing music for the right reasons
  • How her son is her secret weapon
  • How important it is to be selective with the advice we CHOOSE to listen to



Marina’s Website / site web




The video when her son joins her and Wallis Giunta on stage for a performance: adorable!

The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart by Madeline Bruser

Jiro Dreams of Sushi


Marina Thibeault holds numerous honours and distinctions, including prizes from the Père-Lindsay Foundation (2017), "Révélation Radio-Canada" (2016-2017), CBC’s “30 hot classical musicians under 30” (2016), and the Sylva Gelber Foundation (2016). She won first prize in the string category of Prix d’Europe (2015), the McGill Concerto Competition (2015), the Radio-Canada “Young Artist” prize (2007) as well a special prize at the Beethoven Hradec International Viola Competition (2008).

During the 2018-2019 season, Marina will make her debuts in Toronto, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seoul, East Europe, and Costa Rica, travelling with her partner and her two children.

Marina's first album, Toquade, was released in April 2017 on the ATMA label, and was nominated by the ADISQ and Prix Opus for “album of the year”.

Marina has appeared internationally as a soloist with the North Czech Philharmonic, the Mariánské Lázně Symphony Orchestra, the Santiago Chamber Orchestra, as well as in recital at the Verbier festival and in Québec with the Orchestre Métropolitain, the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra, and the Drummondville Symphony, to mention a few.

An avid chamber musician, Marina has collaborated with members of the Guarneri Quartet, the Cleveland Quartet, the London Haydn Quartet, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, amongst other renowned chamber musicians. Her interest in new music has led her to work with composers such as John Corigliano, Joan Tower, and Krzysztof Penderecki.

At 9 years old, she was the youngest violin student to enter the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec where she studied with Claude Létourneau, Catherine Dallaire, and François Paradis. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with professors Michael Tree and Roberto Diaz. In order to deepen her studies, she attended the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana under the tutelage of Bruno Giuranna, with the help of the Canada Council of the Arts and the Eskas Scholarship. Marina holds a Master’s degree from McGill University, where she studied with André Roy. Also at McGill, she is currently a doctoral candidate, as well as viola and chamber music instructor. Since the summer of 2018, Marina has coordinated the chamber music program at Domaine Forget, QC, where she will also begin teaching viola in the summer of 2019.

Marina plays on an 1767 Carlo Ferdinand Landolfi, with a W.E Hill Sons bow, generously loaned by Canimex.


If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on iTunes!  I truly appreciate your support!



Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme!  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Also a huge thank you to my producer, Bella Kelly!


MIND OVER FINGER – Dr. Renée-Paule Gauthier: