UChicago Presents: What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
Isabelle Faust: "After the banquet" by Mishima, a wonderful and very sensitive book, introducing you to the subtle way of communicating between men and women in former Japan.
UCP: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
IF: At age 11 or 12, when I started to enjoy playing concerts with my quite successful children's string quartet. We took it really seriously for 5 years and got a first glimpse of what it means to be on stage, and I did like it indeed!
UCP: What's the weirdest thing you have seen someone do in your audience?
IF: To hear somebody snoring in the public happens from time to time. But once the noise was so terribly loud that while playing I could not possibly explain to myself why nobody woke up this sleeping person. At the end of the concert I noticed that an enormous dog was lying behind the last row, happily snoring all he could. I think that was the first and last dog ever in my concerts, and he certainly wasn't really impressed!
UCP: How did you and Alexander Melnikov start playing together?
IF: We met over 10 years ago in a chamber music festival in Oxford, we played Brahms piano quintet together. We enjoyed playing together so much, that we decided to do more chamber music together outside festivals, we first played a piano quartet concert together and then jumped right into a long lasting and very fruitful duo collaboration.
UCP: You founded a string quartet at age 11. That's such a young age! What motivated you to move toward chamber music?
IF: At that tender age parents mostly still have a great influence. My parents were supporting my and my brother's musical development enormously. My father came up with this original and incredibly clever idea to find two other kids to form a string quartet together with my brother ( who had to switch from the violin to the viola for this ) and me. At those times this was a rather unusual idea for such young musicians, but it has proofed to become the very origin and base of my musical thinking. I think, every young musician should always start off with playing camber music!
UCP: You are partial to the music of Fauré and Debussy. What is it that draws you to them?
IF: I have always adored Debussy's music. Unfortunately there isn't lots of repertoire for violin in his chamber or solo works. Faure has taken me a bit longer to understand. His 2nd violin sonata played a key role for me to get through to his absolutely unique and wonderful late style. From there it wasn't far to his piano quartets and quintets.... An utterly intimate, anything but sentimental or pathetic, but deeply poetic and mysterious composer....
Isabelle Faust performs with pianist Alexander Melnikov on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 7:30PM in Mandel Hall.