Introducing Jutta Puchhammer-Sedillot!

Jutta 1

What’s your name?

My name is Jutta Puchhammer-Sedillot.
Jutta has no special meaning to it. And Puchhammer has nothing to do with a hammer. Puchheim is a little village in Upper Austria, where my father is from. In their austrian dialect, the guy coming from there would be a puch-hoamer…
well, and Sedillot is my French-Canadian husband’s name. In my time I was obliged to take my husband’s name- so I made it later to a double name – so that I could show the artist’s pride for the Austrian heritage in addition to giving you guys a tongue breaker.

Where are you from?

I am originally from Vienna, have passed all my education there, made a little stop at the Eastman School, before moving to Montreal in 1987, Canada, for my married life.

How did you come to the viola?

At age 15, my violin teacher asked me to play viola in the youth orchestra- I must have been one of those bad players like in our viola jokes.

Anyway, I loved the violists much more than the violinists , who were zigging along on their instrument without ever stopping, whereas we- the much cooler violists- went out, had fun visiting, drinking (a bit too much once in a while I admit) , hiking the areas we were in.
An easy choice- dont you see that?

So my conclusion- we violists need to have a little lazy streak in us, we like slow movements, we are daydreamers, we hate competition, prefer minor to major, love melancholic pieces, etc, name it……but we also need to be good diplomats as section leaders, in chamber music, or with our students. I love being a violist and admitting to my little flaws, makes me smile!

Are you a Juilliard student?  Were you?  Or do you now work as part of the studio?

Never have been a Juilliard student, but for sure a Heidi Castleman student with all the love and gratitude to her she greatly deserves!

Tell us about one of your favorite performances?

There are only a few horrible ones I recall as not recallable- might as well keep them for myself. 🙂 Favorite ones- none. I enjoy every one as such.

If I am touched myself and I get really emotional while performing- then I guess it can’t have been so bad.

If you could perform any viola piece, what would it be?

Schubert Arpeggione is one that “humms” easily in my mind- perhaps quite viennese as such, but it also has a little mean joky streak in it, which I like a lot. Do I have that in me as well?? And then there’s the so incredibly beautiful second movement!

If you could play any non-viola piece, what would it be?

I think that the Bach sonatas and partitas sound far better on the viola for example. The fugues are a bit too hard for me… but the rest.. what a sound color bath, harmony hanging around in the air. I often warm up just by sort of reading them through. So beautiful!

Who made your viola and how did you get to be the one playing it?

Geoffrey Ovington is my viola maker. I have two of his instruments.
This one is actually my wedding gift- it was many years ago, and it is specially made with Austrian wood, a Montegazza model, made in 1989. I love its sound.

In 1980 I met the Primavera String Quartet at my very first summercamp at the Orford Arts Center in Quebec. I was a naive Austrian girl by then. My camp had to be in Canada to be close to my new love.

Anyway, the violist in the quartet had an instrument from him that sounded really good. So I ordered one from Geoffrey just like that – without knowing how I was going to pay for it. I took posession of it a year later in Florence, and succeeded somehow also to pay for it, giving private lessons and gigging.

Do you have any secret skills?

Unfortunately not: No secret skills- boring like hell…  Now you know far too much about me!

You are forced by the United States Government to not practice for a day.  What do you do with yourself?

I have to admit, that I have no problem not practicing for a day. Is that bad?
I enjoy “lazying” around, sitting in the garden within my flowers- I love their individuality and color splashes, shapes- nature is just so perfect.

I love being in the warm sun, on the beach toeplaying with the sand (I live in the wrong country, I guess), getting lost in daydreaming. I might take a walk, read, go to a museum, bake a cake… who knows- it won’t happen anyways.

Do you have a website?

No web-site so far. My husband says- Jutta and computers are incompatible- like cat and mouse. You want to do mine??? Even for free?? You are welcome!

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