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Nathan Braude: “My Main Challenge Is Taking My Viola Every Day, Searching, and Coming a Little Closer to What I Feel inside of Me Each Time”


This interview with musician Nathan Braude offers a comprehensive exploration of his multifaceted career, spanning his roles as the Principal Viola at Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, Professor at the Royal College of Music London, and his experiences as a soloist and chamber musician. Braude discusses the inherent balance between these roles, emphasizing the orchestral principal’s responsibilities in coaching, problem-solving, and seamlessly transitioning between solo and ensemble playing. His perspective reflects a holistic approach to music, where teaching, chamber music, and orchestral playing naturally intertwine, enriching each other through shared experiences and continuous learning.

The conversation delves into Braude’s unconventional journey from playing the violin to ultimately choosing the viola. He shares the pivotal moment when the pressure of conforming to the prodigy model led him to reassess his musical path. The switch to the viola, influenced by encounters with influential musicians and a genuine affinity for the instrument, liberated him from age-related expectations and allowed for a more natural development of his musicality.

Braude touches upon his viola studies, acknowledging prominent teachers while candidly expressing that his main influences came from his father and listening to recordings. He emphasizes the importance of fostering curiosity in his students, encouraging them to question and explore, rather than relying solely on prescribed answers. The interview concludes with Braude’s nuanced perspective on music competitions, viewing them as valuable motivators if approached healthily, while also recognizing their inherent biases and the business dynamics that often overshadow student participation.

The musician’s final reflections center on his ongoing project – a personal exploration of sounds and sensations on the viola. Braude expresses the excitement derived from daily encounters with his instrument, aiming to convey the intricacies of his inner musical world. This introspective approach transcends specific projects or performances, presenting a lifelong journey of self-discovery and artistic expression.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music