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Introducing Janice LaMarre!

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What’s your name?

My name is Janice LaMarre.  The surname is common in Québec, and my Grandfather’s first language was French.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Barrie, Ontario, a city north of Toronto, Canada.  Each year I return to direct a two-week summer music festival, to play concerts, and give master classes.  My grandmother and great-grandmother moved to Barrie from Belarus, during the Second World War, and my mother has been well-known as a pianist in the city since her childhood.

How did you come to the viola?

While studying violin with Katherine Rapoport, I began playing viola in chamber music at age 13. My first piece was Faure Elegy, and next the Walton Concerto. That summer I played the Ravel Quartet at the Quartet Program. These pieces showed me the special expression of the viola repertoire, and the unique and beautiful sound possibilities of the instrument.

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

I graduated from Juilliard with a Bachelors and Masters degree. For my Undergraduate degree I studied with Misha Amory. For my Masters degree, I studied with Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory.  I plan to write some blog posts here about the collaborative aspect of the studio, in April.

Tell us about one of your favorite performances?

My favorite performance happened last night — it was my Carnegie Hall debut recital at Weill Hall.  Of performances I have heard, Anne Sophie Mutter’s recital of Beethoven sonatas was the most beautiful one I heard as a child.  I enjoyed hearing the drama of Thomas Riebl’s performance of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” at Prussia Cove, and Misha Amory’s elucidating recital of solo Hindemith sonatas at Juilliard.

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

I would perform Berlioz’ “Harold in Italy”, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Flos Campi,” and concerto “Winter Music” by Canadian composer Alexina Louie.

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

Last summer I performed Beethoven’s Ghost Trio on violin, which had been at the top of my wish-list.  My doctoral thesis involves 150 viola transcriptions, so it’s difficult to choose just one non-viola piece.

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

My current viola was made by Antonio Capella Antense, and was played by a member of the Toronto Symphony before I discovered it in Toronto.  It has a dark C string, and warm G, D, and A strings.  I was drawn to its lyrical possibilities on the upper strings, and strength on the C.

Do you have any secret skills?

I can analyze any Hindemith sonata intervalically, structurally, and by tone center, using the method of David Neumeyer.

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

With time off, I like to find inspiration from other art forms. Today I went to view the Matisse exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, and learned about his artistic process. Photographs were taken of his work at several stages, and each painting could be considered complete on its own. The final version was different from all the preparatory work, looking as though he quickly took a brush to the canvas. It reminded me of Brahms’ and Beethoven’s artistic process and I related this phenomenon to the feeling performers have in practicing and redoing an interpretation many times before finding a satisfying solution.

Other times, I will read a novel in German or French, to increase my fluency. I also enjoy writing violin technique books for my students.

Do you have a website?

My website is www.janicelamarre.com.


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