A conversation with Simone Lamsma: Artist in Residence

Simone Lamsma
Our artist in residence

For years now, top violinist Simone Lamsma has been enrapturing audiences around the world with her Stradivarius. We are proud to say that Simone will be joining the Residentie Orkest, the Royal Conservatoire and Amare as artist in residence next year. A perfect time for an intimate chat with the ‘Dutch sensation’.

For more than a year musicians have been able to give scarcely any concerts. What has the lockdown of the concert halls been like for you?

‘It came as a shock when everything had to shut down all of a sudden. Not being able to give concerts with an audience for so long has been very difficult. But I always try to remain positive and use my time effectively. What’s the alternative? I have spent a lot of time studying and reflecting, and have had plenty of time to explore new music. I discovered the work of Thomas Larcher, for example, which includes a fantastic violin concerto. His music impressed me so much that Amare commissioned a composition by Larcher in the context of my forthcoming residency. He is writing a work for solo violin for me. I can’t wait to perform his music for an audience in The Hague.’

How do you feel about being our artist in residence?

It is a great pleasure and a tremendous honour. A residency is often born from a common past and mutual trust. It offers the opportunity and the freedom to strengthen and expand the ties that bind us. It is particularly exciting that this residency coincides with the opening of Amare, which is a momentous occasion for the city of The Hague and means that the orchestra finally has a new home. I am also delighted that in addition to concerts with the Residentie Orkest, my residency will allow me to give a recital and to work with students from the Royal Conservatoire.’

Have you ever given a master class?

‘Of course. I know from personal experience how important it is for your development to follow master classes. When I am on a concert tour and have the time, I love to give a master class. I also learn a lot from it myself, because it prompts you to reflect very consciously, and sometimes differently, on your approach to the music and the violin. I have always been a highly intuitive person, but finding the right words to convey your ideas in that context is an additional challenge.’

You play one of the finest violins that Antonio Stradivari ever made. How did that come about?

‘I have been playing this beautiful violin for years now and am still discovering new possibilities.It is a relationship that is constantly evolving. The violin has a strong personality and the sound it produces not only changes every day, but even during the course of the day. If I take a short break from studying, the instrument can sound totally different when I start again. It is a marvellous experience to play a violin that challenges and inspires me.’

How do you relax during concert tours?

‘When I am touring my entire focus is on the music and the concerts. Above all, I try to remain fit and healthy and to save all my energy for the rehearsals and concerts. I do enjoy wandering around a city to get a sense of the local atmosphere, but I don’t often have time for sightseeing. I concentrate entirely on maintaining my focus. And I totally enjoy that!’

‘In every concert season I schedule periods when I don’t have any concerts. Time to reflect, to truly relax and to study, and then to start again refreshed. I feel that I already led a balanced life before corona. I have always tried to live conciously, but this period has taught me to try to be even more aware of everything around me, to enjoy myself and to focus on what really matters. Quality over quantity!’

Ronald Touw, violinist with Residentie Orkest

Photo header by: Otto van den Toorn
Photo credits left to right: Nicolas Carter, Merlijn Doomernik, David Rodrigues, Otto van den Toorn