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The Space Between the Notes - XXVII

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When I was studying composition with the famed music teacher Nadia Boulanger, one of the many lessons she imparted upon me was that, 'an artist can never be more or less than they are as a human being'.” – Quincy Jones

The unwavering optimist in me pressed the “enter” button and off it went, an email to Swiss writer and playwright Lukas Bärfuss. A naïve part of me was confident he would respond within days. Experience wagged its finger at me and whispered, “Have no illusions – fan mail is just that: fan mail. You won’t be taken seriously.” I sighed and stood up from my desk, picked up my violin and began to practice.

Six hours later I returned to my laptop and there it was. A lengthy response from someone I admire. A friendship was born.

BARFUSS MASIN 250 BANNER IMAGE Gwendolyn Masin Photo: Florian Spring

Since 2018, Lukas has sat at my kitchen table in Bern and I at his in Zurich, week after week. We discuss the thoughts that chase one another in our heads – from politics to literature, education to science and the barrage of opinions and emotions that link all things.

In 2021, we decided to harness all that energy, all those why’s and the gamut of ideas we volley between us, into a production titled, “The Journey”. “The Journey” explores stories and fragments of music from Macedonia to Bulgaria, Greece to Turkey, Hungary to Bosnia and Herzegovina, tracing a route that reaches to parts of Eastern and Central Europe. The Ukraine was always going to be the point of departure for this voyage and on 24 February 2022, our production took on new meaning, a sense of urgency.

As we carefully put together the pieces of this mosaic-like tale, we foster a message of peace that was not as clearly visible when we set out to create this work. “The Journey” will premiere in October 2023 in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. I look forward to telling you more about it as the months roll by.



Saturday, 10 September 2022, 8 p.m. - Nydeggnacht
(outdoor, in case of bad weather in the Nydegg Church)

Gwendolyn Masin with Wolfgang Zwiauer, Oli Kehrli and Lukas Iselin
A musical adventure between Bach, Biber, and Brassens.

Gwendolyn Masin performs as soloist as well as with Wolfgang Zwiauer in explorations between baroque and contemporary, groove and minimalism. The programme includes works by Bach, Biber and Satie. In addition, the concert violinist celebrates ten years on stage with Oli Kehrli (vocal, gtr). Together with Lukas Iselin (pn, acc) they perform a selection of chansons they have created together during this time.

The concert is free of charge.


Sunday, 18 September 2022, 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. – Muze van Zuid
Gwendolyn Masin and Vera Kooper (pn) with Francesca Ajossa (org).

“Brahms aan de van Baerlestraat” and “Hommage aan Herman Krebbers”.
Programmes include works by Brahms, Franck, Ravel and Vitali

Both concerts are broadcast live on NTR.

Click here for more information.

NCH IMC 2022

IMG 8580 Gwendolyn Masin L-R: Mihaela Martin, Finghin Collins, Gwendolyn Masin, Lars Anders Tomter, Frans Helmerson.

The fourth National Concert Hall International Master Course took place in person after two consecutive years online. During the first week of August, 24 participants were given individual masterclasses and chamber music tuition by violinist Mihaela Martin, violist Lars Anders Tomter, cellist Frans Helmerson, and my co-artistic director Finghin Collins and I. The halls and corridors of the designated home of music in Ireland were filled with excitement and laughter as musicians from Ireland and abroad rehearsed and performed concerts throughout the week.

Finghin Collins and I would like to thank all our supporters and donors who kindly supported this intensive summer school. We also thank Ivano Conti for two bows — for violin and viola — that were awarded during the course of the week.

Photos kindly provided by the National Concert Hall as well as private persons.

Listen here for a concert excerpt:
Shostakovich Piano Quintet

D10bb2f0 f2bc 4826 b614 4529400ceca4 Gwendolyn Masin Co-artistic directors Finghin Collins and Gwendolyn Masin.

IMG 2644 Gwendolyn Masin Participants and faculty of the fourth National Concert Hall International Master Course.

593 CB6 A3 E9 DD 4 E1 F 82 CD ED11 A770 AE02 Gwendolyn Masin With Zoë Conway and Finghin Collins following Zoë's workshop on Irish traditional music.

IMG 2619 Gwendolyn Masin Irish fiddle player Zoë Conway during a workshop with participants of the NCH IMC 2022 in the Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin.

1171fc7b bcd2 4a15 afe0 5a40939bd424 Gwendolyn Masin Faculty of the NCH IMC 2022. L-R: Finghin Collins, Gwendolyn Masin, Lars Anders Tomter, Mihaela Martin, Frans Helmerson.

IMG 8773 Gwendolyn Masin Finghin Collins, Lars Anders Tomter and Gwendolyn Masin with junior mentors David Tobin and Martin Moriarty.

IMG 2673 Gwendolyn Masin Recipients of a violin and viola bow by Ivano Conti. L-R: violinist Paula Mejía España and violist Vanessa Hristova, surrounded by Mihaela Martin, Gwendolyn Masin and Lars Anders Tomter.

IMG 2678 Gwendolyn Masin Gwendolyn Masin, Luke Lally Maguire and Callum Owens during a student-faculty concert in the John Field Room, National Concert Hall, Dublin.

IMG 8547 Gwendolyn Masin Welcoming the audience to the opening concert.


Love Irish music? Then be sure to catch Irish fiddler Martin Hayes in performance with Orchester Divertimento Bern, conducted by Clíodhna Ní Aodáin.

Bern, Dampfzentrale
Saturday, 3 September 2022, 8pm
Sunday, 4 September 2022, 6pm

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