The Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media (HMTMH) has an outstanding reputation around the world. Its former students include violinist Cosima Soulez Larivière who was placed third in the prestigious Joseph-Joachim Violin Competition, which took place in Hanover in 2018. In this interview, the young violinist, who is of French and Dutch descent, discusses her educational experiences at HMTMH, which is considered to be one of the best universities in Germany for arts and media courses.
Why did you start playing the violin? I listened to a lot of music when I was very young. I learned to play the violin using the Suzuki Method. This method is a really great and entertaining way to make music, and it is both gratifying and motivating. My brother also used to play. It was very special being able to share this passion as we grew up together.
What do you think is the most special thing about your instrument? For me, the violin is like a voice from another world, which has an infinite range of tones. There is also an incredibly varied repertoire for the violin, which I am so fortunate to be able to play.
Why did you decide to study at the HMTMH? I came to Hanover because of my teacher Professor Wegrzyn. We got to know him in Italy. His teaching continually inspires me. The university is also very well-known for its other music departments. A pianist friend of mine from the Yehudi Menuhin School also studies in Hanover. The university ultimately brings together a diverse range of passionate artists.
What does the university offer you that other universities cannot?
The university doesn’t just have a fantastic faculty of professors, it also creates a community of like-minded individuals, who are all passionate about what they do, whether it be performing, composing or conducting. We are privileged to be able to use such amazing facilities and to live in such a tranquil city, which fits perfectly with our lifestyle. The public also goes to great lengths to support the students, which we value very much.
Can you remember a particularly special musical moment – maybe one that took place in Hanover?
In 2018, there was a wonderful moment at the gala concert during the Joseph-Joachim Violin Competition when I received the prize for the best performance of a contemporary piece. I was then asked to play again at the final concert. My professor and I decided to plunge the concert hall into darkness with only one spotlight directed on the stage. It was so special to perform such a gentle piece of music called “Hauch” by Rebecca Saunders in such a tranquil atmosphere. It felt as if time had stood still.
What plans have you made for the future?
A lot of concerts are scheduled for the coming year in Germany, Denmark, Hungary and the Czech Republic, starting with classical concerts extending across to modern and less frequently played works (which will hopefully change!)
* Live Music Now e.V.
THIS IS WHAT A VIOLIN IS MADE OF
With just one note, a violin can arouse a cascade of emotions in the listener. This is made possible by the unique way the instrument is constructed
Profile Cosima Soulez Larivière, Violinist
Born in Paris in 1996 with French and Dutch roots.
A huge musical talent: Cosima Soulez Larivière was accepted into the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in England when she was eight years old. She started winning prizes when she was nine years old and this was followed by many others. Cosima has performed as an orchestral soloist on many occasions
She is currently studying for her master’s degree at the HMTMH
Musical talent is nurtured in Hanover by the best teachers. Igor Levit is among the many talented teachers. The New York Times described him as one of the “most important artists of his generation” and the Süddeutsche Zeitung described him as an “asset” to today’s concert scene. Igor Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhni Nowgorod and came to Germany with his family when he was eight years old. He studied piano at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media (HMTMH), achieving the highest grades in the history of the institute. In 2005, he was the youngest competitor to ever win the silver award at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. He also won the special award for chamber music, the audience award and the special award for the best performance of a compulsory contemporary composition. Igor Levit has been a professor of piano at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media since 2019.
Recording of his private concert at Bellevue Castle during the coronavirus lockdown of Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonate Op 53.