We caught up with Izabela Stocka, the talented violinist who is one of our finalists for the 20200 ERSO Soloist of the Year.
What is your main occupation at the moment?
I am currently working as a freelance orchestra, chamber and solo violinist. I am also a recent Masters graduate of the Royal Academy of Music.
What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?
I started playing the violin when I was 7 years old. Coming from a family of Polish artists I was introduced to the music world very early on. My father is a concertmaster of Wroclaw Opera House, my mother used to be a part of corps-de-ballet in an operetta theatre as well as ballet teacher. I used to listen to my father practicing the violin, I used to go to see my parents in a theatre. I was always very sensitive and musical kid who liked to participate in any type of musical activity. I could sit by the piano for hours inventing something before I could even read. There was also this small violin hanging on a wall in my room and it is probably one of my earliest memories I cherish so fondly. I used to carry it around the house like a toy when I was only 2 or 3. Couple of years later I was sent to Karol Szymanowski School of Music and that’s how it all started.
What made you choose the concerto that your will be playing?
Shostakovich Violin Concerto no.1 is a piece very close to my heart. It tells a very personal story from the life of a composer who was forced to live and create under the brutal regime of Soviet Russia at a time. An inventive musical pallette as well as original harmonies and emotions involved in this music- sorrow, grief, satire and most importantly- hope, proved this composition not suitable to perform under the political censorship of communist party in 1947-1948. This has forced the composer to keep his work hidden until after Joseph Stalin’s death in 1955 when the restrictions were partially lifted and allowed the premiere of the concerto.
Shostakovich’s violin concerto projects the struggle, fear (1st, 3rd movement) and anger (2nd movmement) of living in a society crushed under a brutal regime. At the same time, its last movement finishes off with a positive message of will and fight for the freedom hidden between folk-style, glorious Burlesque.
I believe the message of this concerto applies to a modern society more than ever. It cherishes an importance of freedom, puts an individuality as well as the authenticity on a pedestal and shares the spirit of fight so much needed in a now driven by the war world. I was born and raised in Poland- country who only just gained their independence in 1989. I would now like to dedicate this piece to brave people and my neighbours in Ukraine fighting for their homeland and their freedom. My whole heart and music goes to them.
What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Chris Stark?
I believe this opportunity would make a huge impact on my career as a violinist. Getting to play a concerto with a symphonic orchestra was definitely always a dream for me and having Chris Stark as a conductor of the project would make it only more remarkable. I cannot wait to share my music ideas and to listen and learn of orchestra’s interpretation of it too.