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Exhibitionist Interview: Vadim Repin

Posted by Geoff Edgers  February 14, 2008 07:21 AM

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Though he's just 36, violinist Vadim Repin is a veteran of the symphony circuit. The Siberian-born musician has played with most major orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Tonight, he opens a three-concert stand in Boston with Sibelius's "Violin Concerto" under the command of conductor Mark Elder. Here are Repin's responses to a set of questions e-mailed his way:

Q. What do wish you had more time for?

A. Teaching my son Russian.

Q. How much did your violin cost?

A. It's priceless!

Q. How could you afford it?

A. It wasn't for sale, but a good friend of mine who owns it, let me enjoy playing it.

Q. What's the most surprising thing you've ever played, either in concert or just at home?

A. Concerts shouldn't contain surprises for those who play them - one works all one's life to be 100 percent ready to perform. Gala evenings, however, can be different. One such concert was in Warsaw, where I dived in and improvised swing with Jean-Luc Ponty, the great jazz violinist.

Q. Madonna or Green Day?

A. Neither. I'm a Queen fan.

Q. Are you married or single? If married or with family, what are their names?

A. I'm married; my wife is Caroline, our son is Leonardo.

Q. Because you're young and attractive, have you ever been asked to pose for publicity photos in a way that made you uncomfortable? What did you do?

A. Perhaps it's different for a man - decolleté doesn't really work. But I approve every shot that's used.

Q. If there is one piece of music you wish people appreciated more, what would it be?

A. All [of the late Russian composer Sergei] Taneev's music.

Q. Is there a piece you wish could be retired for, say, 30 or 40 years?

A. No, why? It would be the same 30 years later. There are some pieces that I don't really like, but that's not a good reason to wish for its "retirement." Some performers and listeners might love it . . . one doesn't argue about taste.

Q. Are there things you won't do - but wish you could - because you don't want to risk injury? Basketball? Arm wrestling? One-handed push-ups?

A. I won't play volleyball! I think it's a sure way for a violinist to take an enforced holiday in hospital. But I'm happy playing many other sports, and my favorite is Alpine skiing.

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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