Mark Fewer

I enjoy being asked to fill different creative roles, and now switch regularly between soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, jazz musician, teacher, and radio host.

I received my musical training on violin first at the University of Toronto, then privately with Jose-Luis Garcia in London, and finally with Ferenc Rados at the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest. But it wasn’t until I started playing a six-string electric that my fascination with acoustic vibration was sparked to the intensity I enjoy today. The experience of playing on my six-string leaves me wondering sometimes if my dental work will pop out!

In contrast, the extraordinary refinement of the Stradivaris and Amatis that I’ve had the good fortune to perform on with the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society leaves me wanting to bring more of their inherent “vibe” with me after I leave town. It is a very special and delicate relationship that grows over time. Words can describe it only to a point!

I am so fortunate to have had many compositions written especially for me, including “Nine Daies Wander” by Bramwell Tovey (LA Phil/Hollywood Bowl), in which I am asked to play violin, recite and sing Shakespeare — all with a brass band behind me! I’m also a jazz violinist (two new jazz “concertos” are being written for me by Phil Dwyer and Cameron Wilson to premiere during the next year) and I currently writing a children’s show to introduce kids ages four through seven to the string quartet.

I love the travel associated with my career, and have been able to see much of the world as a result. I was concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony (2004-2008) and I currently co-chair the String Area at McGill University in Montreal, where I teach a graduate seminar in improvisation for classical string players.

The usual mix on my iPod includes things like Tower of Power, Il Giardino Armonico, chamber works of Korngold (particularly the piano quintet these days), Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, theatrical music of Locatelli, Stuff Smith, Edith Piaf, violin sonatas of Charles Ives, quartets by Schoenberg, Bartok, and Ligeti....yikes!

I love reading and researching things like architecture and urban planning; books by Paul Hawken and designs by Toyo Ito I find very inspiring (particularly Toyo Ito’s new stadium in Taiwan).

And, I’m Canadian — HOCKEY!! Olympic HOCKEY....Canada vs. US!!