Last Saturday I was honoured to be part of the Maker’s Forum exhibition in Toronto. Contemporary violin makers and bow makers from Canada (34 on 37 participants) and abroad were presenting their work. As a maker, this event was a great way to meet with musicians. I was able to discuss the instruments I had brought (a cello and a violin) and get their feedback.
During the afternoon, Kerson Leong performed on the 24 new violins exhibited. As part of a sonority test, Leong played the same excerpts on each one of them. He masterfully realized this challenging task, in my opinion. He was able to adjust wonderfully to each one of the instruments, performing over their full register. Interestingly, Leong’s consistent and methodical approach, brought to life the individual qualities and character of each violin.
This experience was followed with a chamber ensemble, set up for the occasion, performing a Mozart quintet in C Major. The ensemble featured on violin: Jonathan Crow (Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and Kerson Leong ; on viola: Theresa Rudolph (Assistant Principal Viola of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) and Madlen Breckbill ; on cello : Joseph Johnson (Principal cello of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra).
At the last minute some of the musicians decided to switch instruments between movements, using instruments from the exhibition. The change of colour with the different settings was quite noticeable, a good way to show how the choice/matching of instruments can affect the dynamic of the voices within an ensemble. After the exercise, I was honoured to learn that my 2016 Plowden/Del Gesù model violin was among the instruments selected to perform on.
Overall the event was well attended and quite a success. It was also a chance to see and catch up with peers. The standard of work was very high, and this made me proud to be part of it.
I’d like to warmly thank the organizers for all their coordination work : Elizabeth Barbosa, Fany Fresard and Emanuel Euvrard.