BMajor In Focus: Star Violinist Caroline Campbell
Caroline Campbell is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting instrumentalists of our time. Elegant and passionate, she feels equally at ease with the most demanding classical repertoire and the hottest pop melodies. We asked Caroline to answer a few questions about music, life and her new BMajor cirlce:
You are one of the most versatile violinists in the world, equally great with classical works, crossover, jazz, pop, rock and beyond, but how do you view yourself as a musician? What are the genres and styles that are closest to your heart and that you enjoy performing the most?
I guess I see myself simply as a musician... A musician is a communicator and a connector, so the genre and song are less important and less a part of my identity. Yes, I am classically trained, which allows me the violin technique to play difficult passagework or have good bow control, but also has the downside of not training me to improvise or compose. I do love experimenting in many genres but am painfully aware of my shortcomings in all! :) I embrace the challenge of trying a new style and try to not be too much of a perfectionist so I can relax and enjoy myself. Probably my favorite music to play is sad, beautiful melodies! Whether classical or pop or film, I just feel so connected to intimate melodies and lush harmonies… I still get goosebumps when playing gorgeous, sentimental songs.
What is the difference between a “good violinist” and an “amazing violinist”?
I think the difference between a good and amazing violinist is the effectiveness of their performance. You could have a good violinist (but with some out of tune notes or other imperfections) play with passion, command and charisma, and I would enjoy that performance more than one of an amazing violinist (with utter control and precision) who appears stiff, unfeeling and robotic. So yes, technique is a great toolbox that allows cleaner and more accurate playing, but to me, musicality is the trump card. Especially outside of the classical music world where most people can't even hear those technical details, the presentation and passion can elevate a performance from good to amazing.
What are some of the topics in which your experience and knowledge may be especially interesting and helpful for your BMajor circle subscribers?
I definitely want to share some new songs, behind the scenes videos, performance advice, fun makeup and dress discussions, informal practice sessions, silly violin tricks, and more… I also truly want to hear from my circle subscribers about what content THEY want! I love the idea of my circle being interactive and dynamic as we create this circle together.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about the violin as a career path?
I would say if you want to be a violinist, learn about the different career paths to see which one might be the best fit long term. Orchestral musician, teacher, studio player, gig violinist etc... It is not an easy job, can have strange working hours, and requires upkeep in terms of practicing and instrument care. In the end, if you are committed to being a violinist, keep your mind open, follow your heart and see what musical path emerges. Good luck!
Who is your biggest inspiration in music and what question would you ask them if you had such an opportunity?
I have been so lucky to have performed with some musical legends - Sting, Bocelli, Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Hauser, Michael Buble, David Foster, Steven Tyler and more. Seeing these incredible musicians both onstage and behind the scenes as regular people, I have been struck by their humility, work ethic, humor, and generosity. At this stage in my life and career, I am most inspired by musicians who use their popularity and platform for good, whether a charity, music outreach, or arts education. Examples would be acclaimed violinist Midori and her widespread school music program, Sting and his Rainforest Foundation, and Bocelli and his Andrea Bocelli Foundation. I would ask them about their journey to becoming a good musical citizen, their future goals outside of music, and any advice to young musicians about giving back.