A new album, lessons & feature performance
Life has been full of twists and turns for violinist Véronique Mathieu this past year. In March 2020, Mathieu was set to release a brand-new album Cortége, a celebration of French classical music. The album is a collection of pieces her and pianist Jasmin Arakawa hand selected. With the world shut down, the album was quietly released, and Mathieu found herself shifting gears.
“It was music that kept me sane. To have other projects that would allow me to put the pandemic aside and work towards something.”
“It was really difficult at first to adjust to not being able to leave your home. It was difficult to practice because it was hard to see a goal in the future,” Mathieu says. “It was music that kept me sane. To have other projects that would allow me to put the pandemic aside and work towards something.”
Mathieu has been balancing motherhood with her position as the University of Saskatchewan’s David L. Kaplan Chair in Music which has her teaching a combination of online and in-person classes. She says working with her students allows her to continue to grow as an artist.
“It’s funny because it has allowed me to really notice things fast in my own playing and come up with solutions,” Mathieu explains. “Teaching makes you reflective in your own artistic practice. I’ve become much more efficient.”
Mathieu’s latest projects include assembling the works contemporary composers from Brazil, China and North America to develop a series of lessons that can help violinists learn different, experimental techniques for violin. She is also already hard at work on a new album with Toronto pianist Stephanie Chua focused on works by female composers.
Mathieu has performed as a soloist and chamber musician all over the world and while she’s kept busy with other projects, she’s been missing the stage. That’s why she says it’s exciting to be asked back for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s finale performance of the 2020/21 season. Trip to the Country will feature Mathieu performing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending. The piece is a loving tribute to nature and is based on William’s poem of the same name.
“This is a really soothing work. It triggers beautiful images in the imagination that remind me of the green fields and majestic mountains,” says Mathieu. “This will be my big “return to the stage” moment and playing such a wonderful work, it’s just really exciting.”