Naori Takahashi (Gold Award Winner)

AY : Where are you from Naori?

NT : I am from Japan, and I moved to the U.K. when I was 7 years old

AY: When did you first start playing the violin and why did you start?

NT: I originally started playing the violin when I was 3 years old due to the influence of my mother who is a pianist, but also apparently I loved the instrument very much as a child! (So I am told!)

AY: What do you enjoy the most in your music studies?

NT: I enjoy the music making with fellow musicians the most. Being a violinist, you must collaborate with another musician almost all the time, and it is just so great to share the wonderful music the people I play with but also with the audience - this connection between people that music provides inspires me every day.

Naori Takahashi performs at the competition

AY: Could you please tell us how you make your practice more fun and efficient for yourself?

NT: I generally find practising and playing my instrument to be fun and exciting, but to make it more fun when I’m not feeling so up for it, I tend to switch repertoire and explore some other world of music. It gives my mind something else to focus on rather than to be bored with the same thing every day. I also play to friends if I am preparing for a performance, as performance practice, which gives me a different feel to just playing by myself in a practice room. From an efficiency point of view, I feel that when I practise my technique regularly and properly before plunging into my pieces, my practice tends to be more efficient and that I can spend more time on the musical aspects of the piece, rather than being dragged down by the technical side.

AY: Do you play in a chamber music group or orchestra and if yes, please tell us about your favourite moments playing in the group.

NT: yes, I play normally in a piano trio, and I have had a few quartets in the past. I also play one-off chamber collaborations (for example, Schubert Trout Quintet or Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time). The best thing about chamber music for me is the people, and the music you get to share with your colleagues. You work on such wonderful music together, and you can deliver it together to the audience. When this is done right and everything fits into place in a performance, it is the best feeling ever.

AY: As a student who have been at Royal Academy of Music for 4 years, what has been your highlights during your time there?

NT: at the Academy I got to experience all aspects of the music profession (solo, orchestral and chamber) at such a high standard. I met a lot of colleagues whom I play with regularly and share the same love for music. I got to meet my current teacher who made me love music and the violin even more. I think the highlight overall has been my journey, developing my skills on the violin, developing as a musician, and also developing as a person. I am very glad to have spent the four very crucial years of my life there.

AY: Did you find your experience at the 2nd New Talent British International Youth Music Competition a beneficial one? If yes, please tell us why.

NT: yes! I got to play my favourite concerto to such a big panel of a wide variety of musicians. Also, by having the option to choose a set piece by the British Music Society, it gave me an opportunity to explore music I otherwise would have not played, and as the piece was not that well known, I could give it my own personal touch without being influenced by other people’s interpretations, which I enjoyed creating very much!

AY: Is there anything coming up in the coming months that makes you excited? Please tell us about it!

NT: I have a few concerts coming up at Regent Hall and Southwark Cathedral respectively, and at the Royal Academy of Music (as part of the piano festival) and 28th November (as part of the Beethoven’s Violin Sonata Series). I am also delighted to be a chosen member for the Foyle Future Firsts Scheme of the London Philharmonic Orchestra this year.

AY: What advice do you have for young musicians who have just started learning an instrument?

NT: whatever you do, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do! Having fun is the key to keep doing what you do.

Thank you Naori!