− The orchestra plays with a lot of involvement and commitment, and sometimes it’s overwhelming to be sitting there in the middle of it!

Violinist Eileen Siegel grew up in the USA, and her interest in music was awakened already as a child, when she was taken to Sunday concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

− On my fifth birthday celebration, the conductor of the orchestra asked if there were any birthday children in the audience. My arm flew up, and I was allowed to conduct Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker. That’s when the first spark was lit, and I was given a violin the same year. From when I was nine until I was fifteen, I attended an eight-week summer music camp every year in beautiful, forest-clad surroundings in Michigan. I played chamber music and in a symphony orchestra, sang in a choir, heard many great concerts, and saw dance and theatre performances. It was inspiring being with friends who shared the same passion. I was the concertmaster in Chicago Youth Symphony, and 16 years old, I was soloist with them in the Orchestra Hall where Chicago Symphony hold their concerts.

Husband and wife Roland and Almita Vamos, and the Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh were central teachers and sources of inspiration on her road to becoming a violinist:

− Almita and Roland Vamos are a fantastic couple; very thorough with violin technique, but who succeed in making the students play with a lot of engagement and passion. Vegh was a great musician who knew composers such as Bartok and Kodaly personally. Due to his strong links to European tradition, his teaching - in Salzburg - seemed very different to my studies in New York, at the Juilliard School of Music. He encouraged his students to use fantasy and colour in their playing.

− Try to leave your everyday worries behind

The violinist has been engaged by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra since 1989, and made her debut as a soloist with the orchestra in the same year. She still feels privileged to have the orchestra as her everyday place of work:

− It’s been a lot of fun to have been part of the development of the orchestra. I’m very happy to work in the friendliest and most fantastic first violin group. The orchestra plays with a lot of involvement and commitment, and sometimes it’s overwhelming to be sitting there in the middle of it.

Eileen Siegel loves to play the music of Gustav Mahler, but also has a special relationship with Mozart following her studies in Salzburg. And her best tip for the audience?

− Listen to the programme in advance, and try to catch the pre-concert talk (“Bak Notene”) before the concert. Come with an open mind and try to leave your everyday worries behind.