Interview with Ervin Luka Sešek

Philharmonia Northwest is thrilled to welcome Ervin Luka Sešek, violin, as the soloist for our January 27th concert. For more information about that concert please CLICK HERE!

PNW: How did you get your start in music?
ELS: I was born into a family of 2 violinists so I didn’t have much choice I guess haha. I do believe that ultimately I developed my own love for it and continued pursuing it because I wanted to, nothing fulfills me like violin and viola. I was given my first violin at the age of 2. Everyone is fascinated when I say this, but then I immediately follow up with the fact that I didn’t really open it until the age of 7. I started working with my mom at that age, but was not the most perceptive child, if you will. After that, at the age of 9 I switched to my dad, which marked a more rigorous approach. In other words, I was not a child prodigy by any means. 😀

PNW: What do you like about the pieces you are performing at this concert?
ELS: That is impossible to answer! I love it all! I have always been a sucker for romantic music, and it doesn’t get much more romantic than these pieces do. Beautifully dark and touching melodies, coupled with virtuosic but meaningful passages… A wonderful playground for my fingers!

PNW: Can you tell us about CernaBella?
ELS: CernaBella is a duo with my lovely wife Amber. She is a Black-American-Latina and I am a pasty Euro guy. In Spanish, “cerner” means to blossom and “bella” means beautiful. In my language, “crna” means black and “bela” means white. So, “CernaBella” to us means “black and white blossoming beautifully together”. Our mission, besides incredibly enjoying the privilege of being able to do such a thing together, is to promote our violin-viola duo as a chamber setting, coupled with guest collaborators. We want to play all the existing greats of course, but maybe even more importantly commission new works, mainly from under-represented areas, as well as regions which tie back to our heritage culturally, nationally and geographically.

PNW: Do you have a favorite memory as a performer?
ELS: I have many wonderful memories as a performer! If I had to narrow it down to a few: two pinnacle moments happened while studying at Colburn. Once, I played 3 string quintets with 3 faculty members and a fellow student, works by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Vaughan Williams. On Williams (Phantasy quintet) I got to play 1st violin, while my teacher Martin Beaver was sitting next to me playing the 2nd. That, while absolutely horrifying, was an absolutely amazing moment for me! The second one would be Faure piano quartet with fellow students and Gary Hoffman on cello as a guest artist. It was simply magical!

The other very memorable moment was when I premiered the Serbian Fantasy in Serbia, with Sedlar conducting and a bunch of friends forming the orchestra.

And lastly, just recently Amber and I had our debut performance with CernaBella. When you perform with the love of your life, the level of intimacy reaches such peaks that one can not experience them otherwise. It is so pure and powerful that I can’t really think of words that could describe it.