Interview with violinist Sara Etelavuori

In addition to world-class artists, large scale of the audience and fantastic atmosphere, International festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum is proud of initiating and supporting volunteer work and very good cooperation with the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac. Students from the Department of the Music in Media are Festival’s volunteers, and as part of this work they have the opportunity to interview artists and to apply in practice what they have learned. Under the mentorship of Dr. Marija Ciric, professor and master Katarina Lazarevic, assistant lecturer at subject Media forms of Music, students prepared and carried out interviews with the performers of this year’s Festival.

A second year student at the Department of Music in the media, Magdalena Bogdanovic talked with violinist Sara Etelävuori, who performed two evenings of the Festival, the second night as a member of Trio Affekti and third as a member of the Festival chamber ensemble “Convivium Musicum”.


 Sara Etelavuori is a young Finnish violinist who became known to the general Sarapublic after the recent participation in the final of the violin competition Jan Sibelius. She won the hearts of audiences around the world after unique interpretation of Sibelius and Mendelssohn pieces. Sara has been succesfull in many competitions, of which now will be mentioned first prize in Jyväskylä violin competition (2006), and Kuopio violin competition (2010) where she played as the youngest competitor in the finals, and recieved 4. place. Besides being a very successful as solist, this young musician has achieved considerable success as a member of chamber ensembles. It is interesting to mention her collaboration with Altea Chan and Lois Alen Gonzales, with whom she established extraordinary Trio Affekti in 2013. She is currently at master studies of violin at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Also, she is studying chamber music at the High School of Music and Dance in Cologne, as a member of the mentioned trio. The Third international festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum, was held from 14th to 17th March in Kragujevac. Sara performed as part of chamber ensemble Trio Affekti on second day of festival, and as a member of the festival ensemble Convivium Musicum on third festival day. We had the opportunity to talk with Sara after the concert, so in this interview you will be able to read her impressions of the city, festival, cooperation with Serbian musicians, future plans, as well as how she manages to juggle a commitment to family and friends with constant traveling, which requires every musician’s career.

Congratulations on a great performance! I enjoyed every second! Was this your first appearance at the festival Convivium Musicum?

Thank You. I am the first time at the festival Convivium Musicum, and I am really thrilled. The organization is excellent, and this is very important because this kind of festival takes a lot of work, effort and sacrifice.

 Do you like the city?

Kragujevac is very nice. I had the opportunity to meet really great people and I made some new friends.

 How did you hear about the festival? How long have you been preparing for it?

The first call for participation sent me Filip Tomić, artistic director of the festival, last year, but due to the busy schedule of concerts and competitions I was not able to come. So I can say that I am preparing almost for a year.

You are member of unconventional piano ensemble called Trio Affekti since 2013. What performances you can choose as top ones?

Well, I enjoyed a lot playing at this festival with a trio. That was very nice, because the public was very hospitable. I would also mention the recent visit of German radio WDR 3 where we had a really successful performance.

You recently participated in the final of the famous violin competition Jan Sibelius. Are you satisfied with the achieved placement?

Jean Sibelius is a competition which is very stressful for all Finnish violinists. But I was very happy. I like competitions because I get lot of energy for preparation. So I always feel like developing, and that is very important thing.

Who is your role model and inspiration?

 I am very inspired by the people I work with, but also with the old stars as Itzhak Perlman, Christian Ferras and David Oistrakh.

How do you manage to synchronize all the commitments, beginning from the busy schedule rehearsals and concerts in the country and throughout Europe, with the private life and commitment to family and friends?

I think it is very important to have free time. In order to progress you must have enough energy, and you will not achieve it if you spend 24 hours in the room and practice. When Brahms wrote his Piano Quartet he was inspired by nature, not by objects.

What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? Is it just classical?

I have to confess that I am awful listener of classical music. I am really trying to listen more classical. I love jazz and older generation pop. I don’t enjoy the piece because I automatically start analyzing it. So, usually if I listen to classical I do it to learn the peace, or to get motivated.

What are your plans for the upcoming months? Where the audience will be able to hear you?

In the upcoming period I am going to have frequent appearances with the trio. We are going to perform whole spring. Next week we are going to record first CD. Also, I am preparing for next competition. So, really wonderful things are coming.

At the end, what would you recommend to our readers?

I would like to tell all of them to come to the festival, because this is one of the rare occasions where they will be able to hear live fusion of instruments.

Magdalena Bogdanovic

Second year student at the Department of Music in Media, FILUM, Kragujevac