Julien Siino, Cello, 2021 Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition

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In June, 25-year-old Quebec City native Julien Siino returned to the concert stage to play Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with conductor Mathieu Herzog and Ensemble Appassionato at the Seine Musicale in Paris. “Such an exhilarating experience,” says the recent recipient of an award of excellence from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Siino was cellist in residence at the Academy of the Paris National Opera for the 2020-2021 season, where he worked on solo and orchestral repertoire with the principal chairs of the orchestra. “One of my best experiences was to play Verdi’s Aïda with this amazing orchestra,” he recalls. In September, Siino won the 2021 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition over five other semi-finalists.

Siino got hooked on classical music via a CD reissue of Vladimir Horowitz’s 1964 recording of Scarlatti sonatas. “When I was young, discs in the family car were usually rotated out after some time in the player,” he recalls. “For some reason, this one just stayed in the car for years. I now see it as an integral part of my childhood’s soundtrack and listen to it regularly.”

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A current obsession for Siino is the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, especially his Fourth Symphony (“this intense work for huge orchestra just has such a profound effect on me”), and he says he owes a debt of gratitude to Mstislav Rostropovitch “for the 20th-century cello masterworks we have today thanks to his nagging toward composers.”

And just look at Siino’s beautiful cello, made in Paris by Auguste Sébastien Bernardel in 1838 with a bow by Victor François Fétique, on loan from Canimex Inc.

Robert Rowat, CBC Music, reprinted with permission from Top 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30, 2021, 2021 edition

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