Ksenia Berezina was born in Russia in 1985. Her childhood was immersed in the musical experiences of Moscow where she grew up and went to school.
Ksenia, tell us about your dreams of a music future as a child
I was born in Russia in 1985. My earliest musical memories arise from my mother’s job as a choreographer. Even when I was very young, she often took me to see plays, operas, and ballets. I expect this gave me a love of music and an affinity with the excitement of live performance. I grew up in a hothouse atmosphere of soloists and chamber musicians in Russia. During my childhood at the Moscow central school and the Moscow conservatory, I thought that my musical life would focus entirely on solo and chamber music, but later I realized how much I love playing with orchestras and teaching others. The orchestral environment is wonderful; and I particularly love the opera and ballet repertoire, partly because of the thrill of the theatrical atmosphere. Teaching provides a welcome contrast to performance and practice. I find it a very rewarding activity on a personal level and it is a great joy to witness the progress made by my pupils.
Who were the persons who supported you and what encouragement did they give?
The most influential person in my childhood was my former teacher Igor Frolov, who, alas, died recently. I first knew his name when I was 7 years old, as he was a famous composer. I played a little piece of his, which everyone loved. I had no expectation then that I would later be so lucky as to meet him in person and, moreover, become one of his students at the Moscow Conservatory. He was a very generous teacher and a kind person as well. He gave me the opportunity to work in his chamber orchestra and to play solos with his orchestra at the best concert venues in Moscow.
Why did you choose your particular musical instrument?
I don’t think it was really my decision to choose the violin. I have two sisters and our parents wanted us to play different instruments. My eldest sister was already playing the piano when my other sister started violin lessons. I was supposed to play the flute! My mother used to take me to my sister’s violin lessons. The teacher liked the shape of my hands, then she decided to check my abilities, and after a while she said I should play the violin. So, in a sense, my violin career started because my mother did not have a babysitter.
What is your relationship to music?
I find life as a professional musician very rewarding, but also very tough at times. It is competitive and demanding: you must have strong self-discipline as well as a talent. But music is a wonderful world of discovery. You need never tire of it: there always are new experiences if you are willing to search for new repertoire, new interpretations, and new ideas.
What is your relationship to music?
Well, the answer is simple: I cannot live fully without making music. I feel privileged to take part in such a variety of projects across such a variety of places around the world. Every new project is a source of renewed motivation.
What draws you to participate in a composition workshop in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq?
For me, participating in the workshop in Sulaymaniyah is a rare opportunity to experience a different culture and to work with enthusiastic and talented young people in an environment so different from my normal experience. When I was first asked to go to Iraq, it was difficult to work out how to manage the trip relative to other potential engagements, but I was determined not to miss such a wonderful opportunity. I am enthusiastic about new experiences and so I am looking forward hugely to new compositions, playing with new fellow musicians in Iraq, and learning about their music and culture.