Yeoman Interview – Jordan Sian

Yeoman Jordan Sian made his concerto debut at 13. He has performed across Europe and at prestigious venues including St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Jordan has won numerous competitions and was a laureate at the 2013 Val Tidone Strings Competition, Italy. His string quartet is a European Music Festival for Young People prizewinner.

What is your instrument?
Viola

What was your musical education?
My introduction to music was really through my friendship circle. None of my family are musicians, but my closest friends were. I was 11 when I first heard my friend play the viola. I was in awe of that intimate, mellow sound and I decided there and then that was the instrument for me. I went on to study with a wonderful violist called Sarah-Jane Bradley before enrolling at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study with Mark Knight. Currently, I’m at the HEM Genève studying with Ori Kam from the Jerusalem Quartet.

What is your music style?
It varies. I guess I’m ‘classically trained’ – whatever that means these days, but I’m open to experimenting. I have been known to improvise in some cross-arts projects, which is a lot of fun. At the Guildhall there were so many opportunities to step outside of the box and apply our skills to something new. Being a musician should never be a routine of learning something in the practice room and then going on stage to perform it. The possibilities of what we can do are endless!

What Company prize did you win and when?
I won the 2013 Carnegie-Palmer Award.

How has being a prizewinner helped you?
It’s been amazing to be part of the network of the WCOM. There is so much to get involved in from concert opportunities and practical seminars to outreach and workshops. It’s been a great way to make new contacts too.

Tell us about a recent job or assignment
My quartet of many years broke up recently as we all went off to study in different countries. In our last performance we played Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs with the BBC Singers and the composer conducting. It’s such a beautiful and well-conceived work. To play it as our swan song was quite emotional and memorable.

Tell me about your outreach work
I really enjoy teaching young children; they are so creative at describing what they hear. They don’t have that inhibition and worry about being judged for what they say. I often find that children can be more responsive to contemporary music than adults. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you do not need to dumb music down for children. What you do in outreach can be both relevant to your performance career and help educate young people.

What are your future plans?
2015 is quite busy with chamber music concerts, a new sonata by Matthew Sheeran and a concerto performance with the Aldwych Sinfonia in November. I’m also near completing a lecture recital on the neglected Mendelssohn sonata for viola and piano, which is the culmination of a year’s research. In the future I’d like to spend a year in America, but who knows… watch this space!

Do you have any advice for new Yeomen?
Get involved with everything you can!

How can people find out more about you?
You can visit my website at www.jordansian.com, email me at jordansian@hotmail.co.uk and follow me on twitter @jordan_sian