Benjamin Seah – 2018 Virtuose Winner


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As a child, Benjamin Seah cut out pictures of violins and bows and played a paper violin while listening to Vivaldi. Ten years later, he made music his life and swapped the paper instrument for a real one made in 1913 by French luthier Gustave Villaume, which possessed a full and rich sonority. At just 14, he was astonishing audiences by his musicality and love for the violin. Recently he earned the title “Virtuose” in the Radio-Canada’s television show hosted by Grégory Charles.

Seah is now studying at the Pensionnat du Saint-Nom-de-Marie in partnership with the Vincent-d’Indy school of music. He also takes classes at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Johanne Arel. This rigorous training and heavy workload don’t worry him; indeed, he seems to be in his element.

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He played for several years with the Westmount Youth Orchestra, and then joined the Orchestre du Conservatoire de la Montérégie and the string orchestra of the Conservatoire. “My ideal is to be the concertmaster of a great orchestra, like Andrew Wan, so I could play orchestral pieces as well as solos.”

Attracted by the emotion that music conveys, he admires Jascha Heifetz, who played powerfully with a delicate vibrato despite an appearance of coldness. For repertoire, he likes the Austrian player-composer Fritz Kreisler. “He was a fine violinist who wrote a varied repertoire: original pieces or pieces in the style of other composers, arrangements, cadenzas and concertos that were always very well written for the violin.”

Since acquiring his first violin 10 years ago, Seah says he’s never missed a day of practice – and his family can back this up. Their house resounds to the notes of Seah’s violin, his brother Elliott’s cello and the tweets of the budgerigars.

The new year will see Seah performing with violinists Blake Pouliot and Alexandre Da Costa, giving numerous concerts and even making a recording with Radio-Canada including works including Falla, Brahms and, of course, Kreisler. This youngest of our Rising Stars is quietly stepping on the stage with the greats and has a promising career ahead.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Benjamin Goron est écrivain, musicologue et critique musical. Titulaire d’un baccalauréat en littérature et d’une maîtrise en musicologie de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, il a collaboré à plusieurs périodiques et radios en tant que chercheur et critique musical (L’Éducation musicale, Camuz, Radio Ville-Marie, SortiesJazzNights, L'Opéra). Depuis août 2018, il est rédacteur adjoint de La Scena Musicale. Pianiste et trompettiste de formation, il allie musique et littérature dans une double mission de créateur et de passeur de mémoire.

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