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Five Questions with violinist Andrew Wan


Andrew Wan is an internationally sought-after concertmaster and soloist. The concertmaster of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal since 2008, he also travels the world, conducting, performing, and recording. His discography includes Grammy-nominated and JUNO, Felix, and Opus award-winning recordings. And he’s from Edmonton! He returns for an evening of music with the Edmonton Recital Society on February 15. We caught up with Andrew to ask him five questions.

You have had such an incredible musical career to date. What are you most looking forward to experiencing in 2024?

I’m particularly excited to return to Carnegie Hall this spring with a group I used to work with a lot, the Sejong Soloists. We will be giving the world premiere of a four violin concerto by Texu Kim with the concertmasters of the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic and Hamburg Philharmonic orchestras. On top of this, I am excited to continue my work with my main gig, the Montreal Symphony.  It’s been 16 seasons, already!  We have a (relatively) new and very exciting music director, Rafael Payare, who really has a gift for communication and collaboration.  We have some terrific recordings and tours in store for this year.

You play a 1744 Michel’Angelo Bergonzi violin from the David Sela Collection. What is it like to play such a special instrument?

I’m so fortunate to have the chance to play this exquisite instrument and love imagining how it sounded in the hands of all of the illustrious violinists that had the chance to play on it. I view myself as the current caretaker and feel so lucky to have it shape how I make music. It has a burnished, grainy sound and has a dynamic range that enables me to be heard well in orchestral settings and intimate rooms alike.

Your career takes you all around the world. This concert brings you back to your hometown of Edmonton. How does that feel and what do you like to do when you’re in the city? 

I love coming home to play for family and friends.  Edmonton was my home for 18 years and many of the pivotal moments in my artistic upbringing happened at Convocation Hall, Muttart Hall, the Winspear Centre, and of course the homes and studios of my amazing teachers and mentors.  I am especially looking forward to playing for everyone who supported me over the years, including my very first violin teacher, Yoko Wong.  Fun fact—she was one of the the first protégés of Shinichi Suzuki to bring his method to North America.

You’ll be playing with David Eggert, another classical musician with strong ties to Edmonton, as well as Edmontonian pianist Sarah Ho. How does it feel to take to the stage with other world-class Edmontonian musicians?

On top of being favourite and old friends, they are special musicians that Edmonton has been proud of for many years! David and I grew up together and first met in the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. I won’t get into our weekly rehearsal shenanigans, but he was a huge influence on me. He’s carved out a fantastic career for himself in Europe. Sarah is a flexible, hyper-talented pianist who makes every piece feel so easy. It’s been years since we’ve played together, and I can’t wait to work with her again.

What are your daily must-dos to keep you feeling healthy and grounded in the midst of your busy, multifaceted life?

I used to have a pretty specific routine, but that’s out the window these days as we have a two month old son who, on top of being the joy of our lives, has upended basically every facet of my life. No complaints here—it makes everything, including making music, all the more rich.

See Andrew Wan live in concert with David Eggert and Sarah Ho, February 15, through the Edmonton Recital Society. Details and tickets here.

Andrew’s suggestion for CKUA listeners, Gabriel Fauré’s “Après un rêve”: