«My goal is to become a great violinist» (El Mundo, 20.09.2013)

Fourteen year old violinist Jacobo Christensen will play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto this evening in the Valencia Symphony Hall (19:30 in the Iturbi Auditorium) in the last offering of the Valencia Orchestra’s free summer concert series. EL MUNDO spoke with this young promising musician about his upcoming performance.

Question: You will be playing the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, one of the best-known works of the repertoire. What does the piece bring to mind for you?

Answer: What I admire the most in the piece is how Mendelssohn, simply by using the notes in my chord in the minor at the beginning, and without any type of modulation, brings out this amazing tune, more incredible than any that might have been based on all of the chords. Harmonically, it is a very simple composition, but it has a sensitivity that very few composers achieve in their work.

Question: What is it like for you to play with an orchestra like the Valencia Symphony Orchestra?

Answer: I’ve never played with a symphony orchestra before, only with string orchestras. For me, being able to play as a soloist with an orchestra like the Valencia Symphony Orchestra, one that I have admired since I was a child, is a dream come true.

Question: Playing in public is daunting. Are you comfortable with it?

Answer: The truth of the matter is that I’ve been made to feel very welcome, both by the teachers in the orchestra and by the conductor. But, yes, it’s true that performing on stage, particularly when you are a soloist, is nerve wracking. Although it is also true that when you get into the music, particularly into such a beautiful piece by Mendelssohn, your nervousness ends up turning into happiness.

Question: Who are the violinists that you admire?

Answer: I admire lots of them, but topmost are Itzhak Perlman and Maxim Vengerov. I admire Vengerov very, very much because he has been a great inspiration and, at times, the only one I’ve had in my life. I admire him equally as a person and because of his capacity for interpretation and the musicality that runs through his veins.

Question: And composers? 

Answer: The ones I admire the most are Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart. I am amazed by all the magic that Tchaikovsky conjures up with his music. One minute of his music reflects his whole life. When it comes to Sibelius, with his violin concerto,  I’m bowled over by the fact that the minute you start to listen to the piece, you get goosebumps because of the feelings and emotions the music conveys. It’s like watching a film.

Question: What are your aspirations in life?

Answer: My goal in life is to be a great violinist, and to be happy.

By Daniel Borrás, 20.09.2013 | PDF