Now Hear This: an interview with Filip Fenrych
Get exclusive insight on this month’s Bancroft Family Concert! An accomplished musician, violinist Filip Fenrych has the added feather in his cap of being Jaap van Zweden’s first hire at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra nine years ago. He joins DSO french horn player Kevin Haseltine and concert pianist Dr. Zahari Metchkov on stage this Saturday. As always, the free concert begins at 3 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art. Doors to the Horchow Auditorium open at 2:30. Come early to guarantee seating!
What piece on the program are you most excited about? What should audience members listen for? Very qood question. I think we’re most excited about playing Brahms, but we have spent so much time learning the Ligeti it’s hard not to feel excited about that. Normally, you would expect to have one piece on a program that you’re excited about, but this time our attention is divided. One piece is so close to the heart (Brahms) and one is so close to the brain (Ligeti) that the analytical aspect of it is another challenge all together.
When listening to the Brahms, the audience should know it is a very, very special piece of chamber music. Brahms’ melodies are to die for, really, and the sadness of some of the melodies relates to the death of his mother. It was a piece that was close to him; therefore, the intimacy is palpable.
As far as the Ligeti goes – an audience member has to be like a sponge trying to soak up the sounds that are coming at one’s ears. For instance, there are very unexpected intervals played. It can be challenging for an audience member to listen to, actually, but we’re hoping our performance makes it less tough.
What do you love about chamber music? How is it different from playing in a large symphony? Playing chamber music is my favorite–absolute favorite–thing to play. It’s the immediacy of communicating ideas with the other performers, the ability to communicate what you individually want to hear and play, versus in a big orchestra you’re told what to play and how to play it. The camaraderie on stage with chamber music is my favorite thing.
How old were you when you started playing the violin? Why did you choose it? Did you learn other instruments? I was 6 ½. My dad took me to a classical music concert as my sixth birthday gift. We were on a train for many hours, arrived at the hall, and I was blown away by the music, the soloist, by the hall. When I came home after the concert, I told my parents “that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.” They didn’t listen at first! But, eventually, I got the violin and started playing.
I also learned piano through my public school’s music program in Poland. And we learned recorder! My music teacher said that my violin lessons wouldn’t count for my music credits in school. You will not catch me with a recorder in my hand any more.
What type of music did you listen to as a kid? I listened to classical music, and whatever I could get my hands on growing up in communist Poland. I found and listened to some jazz. As a teenager, I came across Depeche Mode, Metallica, and I was a huge fan of Queen. I was trying to listen to things other than classical, but for sure, classical music was the main thing.
You had the initial idea for this concert program—what was it about these pieces that inspired you to put them together for Fine Arts Chamber Players? Surprisingly, I have never played chamber music with the french horn before. I have played so much string music, but never played with the horn. So, with the original idea to pair violin and french horn, Brahms came up immediately. Then as a companion piece, Ligeti was added to the mix.
Who’s your favorite composer to listen to? To play? I enjoy listening to Beethoven a bunch, but I don’t necessarily seek out violin works to listen to – I enjoy listening to Beethoven’s piano sonata, and there’s always Bach! I enjoy his choral music. I think performing Romantic composers are probably closer to my heart and more satisfying. The list isn’t limited to one composer in each category.
What’s your favorite sound (musical or non-musical)? Least favorite? My favorite is the ocean. My least favorite is the sound of an alarm, especially a morning alarm (I’m not a morning person).
Once you leave this world and reach the pearly gates, what celestial concert are you looking forward to? Because it would be fun, I’d like to see Mozart playing and see if he was actually as funny as we think he was.