Soloists » Vladimir Mendelssohn, viola

Vladimir is the son and grandson of musicians. At first he was very reluctant to follow in their footsteps, but when he was six he was persuaded to start the violin and, later, the viola. He would go on to study the viola and composition at the Music Academy in his home town, Bucharest. Now he wryly describes himself as ‘married to music’.

He is very much in demand as a player of chamber music. He is professor of chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire and he also teaches in The Hague, Essen and Bologna. He gives master classes around the world.

Vladimir is also a prolific composer and has written for solo instruments, choirs, symphony and chamber orchestras, as well as music for ballet, stage and screen. His chamber works include four string quartets, ‘Nova’ for clarinet, string trio, piano and percussion, and a tango, ‘Don Aldebarran’, for seven stringed instruments, piano and actor. He is currently gathering his courage to write a piano quintet, draw up the programme for the next Kuhmo Festival, play on the continent, teach in Paris and be a reasonable father when at home, four meters below sea level in the Netherlands.

He plays a viola made in Bucharest in the early 1980s which he designed himself.