Savitri Grier – Yeoman of the Month
“Luck is rarely a lightning strike, isolated and dramatic – it’s much more like the wind, blowing constantly” Tina Seelig, TED talk. Here Yeoman Savitri Grier tells us how embracing opportunity is helping her catch the winds of luck.
I’ve been at the Universität der Künste Berlin for a year now, where I’m doing my second masters in violin (my first was at the Guildhall with the help of a Musicians’ Company Award grant). Berlin is a very international city with a huge cultural scene and some of the best classical music venues and nightlife. Aside from family and friends, the only thing I really miss is a cup of Earl Grey!
I’d met a number of musicians from the university at various festivals before applying there myself. Having lived most of my life in London, I was itching for a new experience and started looking for a teacher in Berlin. I was thrilled at being accepted into Nora Chastain’s class, and it was all the incentive I needed to pack my bags and travel the 600-odd miles east.
I’ve always believed you should get out there and find the people you want to work with, rather than wait for them to come to you. Living in a city close to other European cities and with easy access to international destinations does makes it easier to slip between places. This summer I did a whistlestop recital tour in China involving five performances in five cities in almost as many days with pianist Richard Uttley – a tour we acquired through YCAT. I’ve also recently returned from the IMS Open Chamber Music seminar in Prussia Cove. This annual event is always a treat as you get to meet, perform and exchange ideas with some incredible musicians – I’ve previously performed with pianist Susan Tomes and cellist Steven Isserlis. The event has become a big part of my life – just as playing music with my family has been. Together we perform as the Grier Trio.
Getting out there and meeting others can also have unexpected benefits.
When auditioning for the Musicians’ Company Award one of the panel members invited me to perform two wonderful concertos at the Norfolk & Norwich festival. Similarly, through YCAT I’ve had the chance to play twice at Wigmore Hall, which was something of a childhood dream, and give multiple performances of the Mendelssohn concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Earlier this year I also performed with Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, two Sarod-playing classical musicians (and brothers) at the 2018 Times of India Swarsangam Festival in Bangalore which was incredible.
Variety definitely helps to keep me motivated and one of the things I’m most looking forward to next year is my first complete Beethoven sonata cycle with Richard Uttley. We’re doing 10 sonatas for a Tunnell Trust tour next March across Scotland, which will be pretty intense as the concerts run back to back. I also play quite regularly in a new ensemble Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective started by Tom Poster that aims to celebrate diversity and spread the joy of chamber music in our rather fractured-seeming world. This, in addition to a few performances with the Grier Trio and a new piano quartet, the Neos Ensemble, that I’ll be starting next year with three very good friends should keep me happily engaged in my music and hopefully help me catch the winds of luck.
You can find out more about Savriti at: savitrigrierviolin.com and thegriertrio.co.uk
Interview by @suzywillmott