CHARLIE SIEM

Photograpy by  Uwe Arens
Photograpy by Uwe Arens

I never really thought in terms of career – I simply needed to play and as I reflect on it now I feel incredibly lucky that it managed to turn into a career.

Music popped up in Charlie Siem’s path unexpectedly, and stayed. Being the son of a business man, his parents probably didn’t expect him to become one of the most influential violinists of his generation. Charlie was born in London in 1986 and since he started his career he has brought classical music closer to the youngest generations through his passion; on top of his natural music prowess, he has landed contracts with brands such as Dior, Armani and Hugo Boss thanks to his undeniably dashing appearance and, of course, British charm. Is there anything he can’t do?

I heard the violin on the radio and was instantly transfixed. I don’t have musical parents so my excitement for the instrument was unusual and somewhat exotic for my family.  

 

“My family have always been very supportive. There were moments along the way where I think they would have preferred me to do something else simply because the music world can be tough in the sense that you are constantly being judged for something that is so personal and sensitive to you.”

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You currently play the 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, known as the ‘D’Egville’, which belonged to the man who inspired you to become a violin player in the first place, Yehudi Menuhin. It must influence your music in a very special way, doesn’t it?

It is a great instrument and I am fortunate to be able to play it. The history of these great violins is certainly inspiring but each player seems to inhabit a different aspect of them allowing every violinist to be unique. 

I am always trying to improve my sound – to better express the music I am playing. You can always go deeper and search for a greater capacity to communicate which is what keeps me excited and inspired to play.

Is it important for you to drive people your age and younger generations into classical music? Do you believe your modelling work with such popular brands (Dior, Armani, Hugo Boss…) helps you in this mission?

It is important to try and inspire younger people with classical music. Perhaps the commercial exposure I have had through fashion can attract a new audience – I hope so.

I have only written one piece which I enjoyed enormously so hopefully I will continue.

Photography by Mariell Amelie
Photography by Mariell Amelie

I fall in love with almost everything I play – after all how can you perform something you don’t feel connected with? Better to be silent I think! So it’s Brahms concerto next!

You’ve played with some legendary orchestras such as Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and Camerata Salzburg and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong; what has been the most special occasion you’ve performed at?

So many wonderful experiences. Doing the Shostakovich violin concerto no 1 with Yuri Simonov and the Moscow Philharmonic was definitely a highlight!

Whenever my family comes to see me there is an extra intensity

When you’re on stage, is there an exchange of energies between you and the public?

Definitely. Live performance to me is all about the energetic connection between performer and public. Something magical can come out of this that isn’t accessible when you play alone. 

Photography by Uwe Arens
Photography by Uwe Arens

My dream as violinist is to perform the Beethoven violin concerto

Given that you travel continuously around the world, is it hard to balance work and personal life? What’s your secret?

It can be hard as I travel almost every few days. It requires more effort on my part to maintain relationships and make sure to see people when I pass through

To upcoming violinists… practise hard but don’t forget to enjoy life also so there is something worth expressing when you play.

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