Q&A with Amalia Hall

APO's Joshua Clark chatted with violin soloist Amalia Hall ahead of her performance with the APO for Bayleys Great ClassicsThe Lark Ascending. 

What draws you to Vaughan Williams' music?

His music is so lyrical and has such a beautiful and open perspective, as if you’re standing at the top of a valley and looking across peaceful countryside. His melodic cantabile writing reflects so many English folk melodies and is so well suited to the timbre of the violin.   

Is there a composer or work you haven't performed, that you would like to?

I’ve never performed either of the Szymanowski violin concertos and they are definitely on my wish list along with the Schubert Cello Quintet which is one of my all-time favourite pieces.   

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

A combination of unwavering support from my parents – growing up as the youngest in my family and wanting to imitate my older sister Lara – and the input from my teachers. It was an amazing privilege to learn from violinists like Joseph Silverstein and Pamela Frank when I was at The Curtis Institute of Music.  

How would you describe your working relationship with the APO?

 APO is a very special orchestra to me because I grew up going to their performances from a very young age, and I made my debut with them when I was 9. They’re always so warm and welcoming, and have a terrific energy in their playing. I’ve loved every opportunity I’ve had to perform with them as a soloist.  

What is your favourite venue in the world?

The Auckland Town Hall is definitely one of my favourites, because it has the most glorious acoustics and holds so many special memories - also Sala Maffeiana in Verona, where I’ve performed a few times as a soloist with I Virtuosi Italiani – I think it was the first place Mozart performed on his very first visit to Italy! 

What is the greatest challenge you have face during a concert?

When I was playing at the Wieniawski Competition, my D string completely unwound during Ysaÿe’s Ballade, and I had to adjust my intonation on that one string all through the chords and arpeggios, which was pretty difficult to manage! Another challenge was performing all five Mozart concertos in one concert, in Uzbekistan – it was a real marathon and I was exhausted at the end, but completely exhilarated after completing such an incredible journey.  

What has been the high point of your life so far?

Studying at Curtis was a truly life-changing experience and a very memorable time in my life. I learned so much during those four years and really stretched my boundaries and perspective on what was possible as a musician.  

What is your favourite thing you do for yourself?

Going to the beach for some fresh sea air and connecting with nature. One of the things I love about being in NZ is always being close to the water.  

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

To stay relaxed (both physically and mentally)  things are so much easier and enjoyable when there isn’t any tension!  

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