Jul 8, 2021
For you today: an insight-packed gem of a conversation with star violinist Esther Abrami.
This summer on the Mind Over Finger Podcast, I promise you fantastic time with wonderful guests! Every month I'm having a live Q&A with amazing musicians in my Facebook group, the Mind Over Finger Community and, as to be expected, much wisdom is being shared!
We start with pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski, we continue in May with violinist Callum Smart, in June you'll hear from trumpet player Christopher Still from Honesty Pill, July will bring violinist Esther Abrami, and we’ll spend time with guitarist Brandon Jack Acker in August.
All of the details are in the Mind Over Finger Community at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindoverfinger.
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MORE ABOUT ESTHER ABRAMI:
Violinist Esther Abrami’s story is that of a young, modern day women of the internet age who has succeeded on international stages and secured a coveted recording contract with a major label due to her courage, determination and willingness to share the ups and downs of her own remarkable life as a musician with a wide online audience.
Born in 1996 and raised in Aix-en-Provence, Esther Abrami knows how it feels to grow up in a culture far from towering classical institutions. “I had a countryside childhood” she says. “I went to a small, country school and I was always outside as I loved nature. We had a wild garden at home; my dad built me a little bench up on the hill where I could go to read and play my violin”.
Aged just three, Esther was given her first tiny violin by her grandmother, who herself had been a gifted violinist but, as was the custom at the time, gave up her own music-making when she got married. “I remember her trying to teach me how to hold the little violin” Abrami recalls. Although enchanted by this small, beautiful object, it would not be until the age of ten before Esther started to learn how to play in earnest, taking to the violin immediately. “I loved the feeling of the violin tucked in so close to me, like a living creature. I loved the sensation of the warm sound traveling through my body. After just half an hour with the bow in my hand, I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life”, she recollects fondly.
Always serious about her art, even as a child, Esther would watch concerts on television and try to recreate the sounds she heard. Being extremely motivated and having studied incredibly hard, at the age of 14 she eventually became a boarding student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, often getting up very early at 5am to spend extra time in the rehearsal rooms.
Her hard work paid off and in 2017 Esther was accepted as a student at the world-leading Royal College of Music in London. Alongside her lessons, Esther also began to build her online career, playing popular classical music on her social media channels. She was more surprised and gratified by the positive response, however, when she started uploading practice videos, sight-reading videos and tips and helpful techniques for aspiring young musicians.
Esther has approached social media with the same open mindedness with which she performs her music. She has a sense of fun and fashion and delights in her collaborations with leading fashion houses like Givenchy. She has also entertained people online by demonstrating the difference between the sound of a priceless Stradivarius and a copy and is not averse to including the rescue cats she fosters in her posts. A recent YouTube video of her practising with a kitten snuggled in a pouch around her waist has received over 100,000 views.
Of her upcoming debut single on Sony Classical showcasing Clara Schumann, Esther Abrami notes: “I’m passionate about highlighting the work of women composers overall. It is such a pleasure to discover and perform their works, some of whom are only just beginning to be celebrated. For International Women’s Day, I’m especially delighted to be recording a piece by the wonderful Clara Schumann”.
Esther believes people have connected with her because she has opened up and told her own real story - not just one of the glamour of international travel and performing on stage but also the truth about the hours of practice and toil that otherwise goes unseen and unnoticed. Esther confirms: “It actually makes me feel vulnerable to put practise videos out there as it’s rather intimate, but I do want other people to see what happens behind the scenes, because I think that is much more inspiring. When I first came to England, I often felt that I was behind many of my peers in terms of technique and at times that was discouraging, but I’ve come so far. I’ve learned that it’s never too late and that you can always improve – that’s the positive message I wish to convey. I am always humbled and heartened by the messages I receive from people all over the world, telling me that somehow I have encouraged them to start to learn to play an instrument. That never fails to inspire me”.
In 2019, Esther Abrami became the first classical musician to be nominated in the Social Media Superstar category at the Global Awards. She has been awarded a full scholarship for a master's degree at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under the guidance of Professor Wen Zhou Li.
Esther Abrami plays a fine Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, kindly loaned to her through the Beare's International Violin Society.
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A HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly, who works really hard to make this podcast as pleasant to listen to as possible for you.
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.
Thank you to Susan Blackwell for the introduction. You can find out more about Susan, her fantastic podcast The Spark File, and her work helping creatives of all backgrounds expand their impact by visiting https://www.susanblackwell.com/home.
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