Kristin Skjølaas

2. Violin

− I can suddenly be struck by a feeling of happiness when I look around at my colleagues, and think that we are creating music together here and now. The greatest joy in being a musician is that I can be part of giving someone an experience which takes them outside themselves.

Kristin Skjølaas

Violinist Kristin Skjølaas attended Barratt Due Music Institute from when she was nine years old, and her contact with Stephan Barratt-Due (Senior and Junior) and Soon-Mi Chung was critical to her becoming a musician.

− The environment they have created at Barratt Due Music Institute has represented a home for everyone who went there, I think.

Another very important influence came from her own mother:

− In those years when practicing was of critical importance, but when you often want to do other things, she made sure that I was able to concentrate, and that I got to practice every day. I practiced in all my holidays, and established good working routines I still benefit from.

− It was a fantastic experience

In 1984 the Youth String Championships were held for the first time, and Kristin was the sole contestant in the youngest category.

− I was very proud of this! At the final round concert in the University Aula I decided to become a musician. I thought it was a fantastic experience to have the opportunity to play in such a beautiful hall, with so many people listening. It fascinated me that, with my violin, I could make adults fall completely silent.

She then studied for four years at the music college in Lübeck with professor Nora Chastain.

− I had to work incredibly hard on my technique, and she was tough on all levels. At the same time I am forever thankful for everything I learned from her, and that she had the energy to work so hard with me. She made it clear to me how hard it is to get a job in a good orchestra.

− The best orchestra school I could hope to attend

Kristin was engaged by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005, but started working as a substitute in the orchestra already in 1992.

− I thereby got to experience much of the period with Mariss Jansons. That was the best orchestra school I could hope to attend. Not an hour goes by in the orchestra without my using what Mariss has taught me.

Every year she experiences several unforgettable moments, both in rehearsal and at concerts:

− I can suddenly be struck by a feeling of happiness when I look around at my colleagues, and think that we are creating music together here and now. The greatest joy in being a musician is that I can be part of giving someone an experience which takes them outside themselves.

Among her musical favorites there are two composers who distinguish themselves:

− There is always something extraordinary which happens for me when we are playing Mahler’s symphonies. He plays on the whole emotional register; he himself wanted every symphony to be like life itself, and for me they are. At the same time I find Beethoven’s symphonies just get better and better for every time I get to play them! We who play in the orchestra are lucky enough to be able to live in the music, and it often turns out that the music we are playing at any given moment, is the best one!

− Don’t think about whether something is ugly or beautiful

Kristin’s top advice for a good concert experience is to come with an open mind and to be open to new sounds.

− Don’t think about whether something is ugly or beautiful. Try to experience the music as a child would; be receptive to it and see where it brings you.

At the same time she thinks knowledge of the composers and the works can give the music experience another dimension:

− It’s always interesting to get to know the conductor and composer’s ideas. It might open up your own creativity, and you might listen to the music with another attitude if you have some advance knowledge.

When Kristin isn’t playing, she enjoys being with her daughter and husband.