Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
In the past years I experienced many musical adventures and met many people and other musicians. This inspired me very much and has given me a lot of energy and motivation. I grew up in a musical family who are also very important to me. My father is a violist, my mother is a violin teacher, and my sister plays the viola too. My parents have always encouraged me to listen to my own heart, and have always supported me in the path I chose to take.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
As I said in my previous answer, my family plays an important role. Also my teachers are very important to me: Coosje Wijzenbeek (I studied with her from when I was 4 until the age of 12), Vera Beths, and currently I am studying with Antje Weithaas in Berlin. They all have taught me so many things. Also Anne-Sophie Mutter (I played several times with her and in the Mutter Virtuosi, and I feel lucky to be a scholarship holder in her foundation) has had a big influence on me.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Having challenges keeps us awake and gives us inspiration. I think that’s very important in life. It doesn’t matter if it’s small or big, but I always need something for myself to pursue. There are always things I can work on and improve. But besides the work I do, I also need a little holiday once in a while, and sometimes I plan days on which I can just hang out with friends, be a ‘normal student’ and don’t have to think about any challenges.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
That’s hard to answer, because I can always improve. Of course I can be very happy with something, and sometimes when I come off stage, I say to myself: “Wow, that gave me so much energy!” But at the same time I am always aware that it’s not a final stage, there is always so much more to develop in something. Recordings are confronting, but very useful for practicing because then you can listen to yourself from a different perspective.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
That’s also a hard question… In any case pieces that I can put my heart in, pieces that I can connect to. A work needs to evoke emotions in me before I can make something personal out of it and pass on something to an audience. But these pieces differ between different styles. I can say that I feel ‘happy’ when playing Mozart’s music, I feel ‘free’ when playing more lamenting pieces like Bloch’s Baal Shem, and when I play the Romantic repertoire like Brahms or Franck it also feels great because I can put all of my expressivity in it. I wouldn’t know which particular work I perform best, but I do know that there are many works that awaken feelings in me when playing it!
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I try to program in blocks (so a cluster of concerts with the same repertoire), because I try to keep time and energy to practice new repertoire besides the concerts as well.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
There are so many beautiful venues, but I will have to say the Concertgebouw Amsterdam because of its wonderful acoustics and because I feel the most ‘at home’ there.
Who are your favourite musicians?
There are many musicians (and by that I mean not only violinists but also other instrumentalists and singers), all with different specialties, that I admire so much… If I have to name someone who inspires me by her music and just by the person she is: Janine Jansen.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
I gave concerts in the favelas in Brazil and Ecuador. These (intimate) concerts made a big impact on me, because at these moments I realized that music can bring so much joy to people, and especially to children (it doesn’t matter whether they live in a wealthy country or in such poor neighbourhoods), and it really connects. Besides those performances, there is another concert I will never forget: my performance at the National Liberation Concert (celebrating that we live in freedom) outside at the canals in the middle of Amsterdam with lots of little boats around me, live on television and in presence of the King and Queen [of the Netherlands].
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Succeeding in telling a story in music, passing on emotions through music, connecting to an audience and convincing an audience, and also being happy with how I played myself.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Maybe it’s too easy said and hard to accomplish, but I think it’s important to always stay true to who you are and listen to yourself. You can be critical to yourself, set goals for yourself but don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s completely human. Don’t compare yourself to others too much, of course it’s good to be inspired by your surroundings, but every one has his own learning path and needs to find his own voice. In the music world there is unfortunately often some competition, and being a musician requires hard work, but I really think that enjoying what we do is by far the most important, and realizing that making music and telling a story to an audience without using words, is just a beautiful thing!
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Richer in (both musical and life) experience, and still very happy!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being surrounded by people who love, appreciate and trust you, people who you can always count on and with whom you can be your utmost self.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family, friends, and music.
What is your present state of mind?
I am in a phase in life in which I want to learn and discover as much as possible, but also enjoy life with friends!
Noa Wildschut will perform a recital at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Wednesday 29 January 2020 as part of the Birmingham Classical 2019/2020 Season. To book tickets visit https://www.thsh.co.uk/event/bc-2019-20-noa-wildschut
The Dutch violinist Noa Wildschut is only 18 years old, but she’s already one of the most engaging violinists of her generation.
Noa Wildschut is a European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) artist nominated by The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam and BOZAR Brussels.
Artist photo: Simon Van Boxtel