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Introducing Marie-Elyse Badeau

0930B Photo-Marie-ElyseWhere are you from?

I’m from Québec city, Canada.

Are you a current Rice student? If not, what is your association with Rice?

I’m currently a second year master’s student at Rice.

Why did you choose to play viola?

I chose to play the viola because of its rich sound and also because the repertoire suited me more than the violin’s.

Where and with whom have you previously studied, and who is your current teacher?

I previously studied with François Paradis, in the Québec city Conservatory and I’m currently in Ivo van der Werff’s studio at the Shepherd School of Music.

What or whom are your most important musical influences?

I think my teachers over the years (including the theory/history/orchestra, etc.) were my best influences in music. They all brought me so many different things and also a desire to discover more and more things about music!

What are your favorite viola pieces and why?

I find Hindemith’s viola pieces to be the best. They are all so powerful and full of emotions at the same time, and each and every one of them is different in its own way. So, no redundancy in his work and all of his pieces are beautiful and interesting to listen to.

Ideally where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

I would like to be in an orchestra, probably in a very unexpected place.

What do you like about Rice and the Shepherd School of Music?

Compared to my former school (which was really small), I think what I like the most about Shepherd is the number of amazing musicians attending school and the readiness of everyone to play every sort of music.

Who are your favorite violists and why?

My favorite violist is Antoine Tamestit. He makes everything, every note, the best it can sound. I like his posture and grounded attitude when he plays, it makes all the music he plays so natural.

What was one of your best musical experiences?

My best musical experiences are probably all related to orchestra playing. My best souvenir about that would probably be the time I played Mahler’s 8th Symphony, with a thousand other people on the stage and more than 10,000 spectators in the audience. One of the most amazing times in my life!

Who is the maker of your instrument and bow?

My instrument is a cutaway viola made by John Newton (Canada), and my bow was made by Morgan Anderson.

Best awkward stand-partner/ orchestra/ audition experience?

I think I might be the awkward stand-partner in stories, not that I’m especially weird, but I’m probably the clumsiest person in the world. One of my orchestra experiences goes like this: I was in an exchange in another town to play with the orchestra there, and I went with my brand new viola (2 weeks old at the time). Just before the first rehearsal, I was finishing my coffee and, as usual in that case, I also spilled half of it on myself . . . and on my viola . . . and in my viola as well. Trying to hurry so it didn’t stain the inside of my instrument, I used my jacket to wipe it off . . . until one of the buttons of the so-called jacket got stuck within one of the f-holes. So there I was, surrounded by all the violists of the other school (that I hadn’t really met before that rehearsal), all of us trying to get the jacket out of my viola (you see the picture?). Well, after that, apart from the little coffee stains inside my instrument, I also made really good friends, and I guess a good story to laugh about! 

If you didn’t play the viola, what instrument would you play?

Definitely percussion! I played marimba and timpani as secondary instruments for a while, and I loved it!


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