A French violinist finds his way to Arizona, and then Cleveland. Along the way, he learns how to fiddle, rock out, and has enough superb technique and artistry to sub in the violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra… Yep! He’s none other than the spectacular Victor Beyens, and Classical Rev CLE is lucky to count him as a regular and enthusiastic performer!
If you don’t yet know him, you should… and here’s a great place to start:
Hi! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, originally?
Well, I’m originally from Clermont-Ferrand, France. I went to high school in Scottsdale, Arizona and moved to Cleveland in August 2009 to attend CIM and study with David Updegraff. I stuck around for my masters degree, studying with Bill Preucil, and I’m still here because I love this city, I love the work I have as a musician, and I love the incredible musical culture we have here in Cleveland.
In a city that bustles with independent classical music ventures, what makes you unique?
I try to make sure that I am involved in several different musical projects around the area. I currently do a lot of work with Classical Rev CLE as well as the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. I enjoy performing classics as well as “pop” tunes. I enjoy exploring different techniques on the violin that allow me to reproduce sounds commonly found in rock or pop ensembles. I am also a member of “S.T.A.R.S In The Classics” where I regularly perform great chamber music repertoire in a private setting in people’s homes here in Cleveland. It is a nice opportunity to perform chamber music as the genre was first intended, as well as connect with wonderful audiences in Cleveland. Outside of Cleveland, I am the concertmaster of the Mansfield Symphony and a member of the Firelands Symphony.
Anything recent that’s noteworthy?
Yes – I loved the opportunity to perform in the first violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra for several concerts this summer. I also organized the East Cleveland Music Festival, where cellist Wesley Skinner and I arranged music by American composers for string duo and performed them at seven different retirement homes.
Tell us about your focus on education and community outreach.
I spend a lot of my time organizing and teaching the Rainbow Strings violin program at Chambers Elementary School in East Cleveland. Currently, we have about 25 violin students and many are playing on new strings and great new full size violin and bows thanks to the generosity of the Classical Rev CLE audiences! I have been involved with the school for three years now and really enjoy my work there. I organize a chamber music concert for the school every year where they get the chance to see other instruments and hear live music performed by professionals.
What are your long-term plans as a musician?
I am always working on becoming a better and more well-rounded musician. I want to make sure I have a great understanding of violin technique and I am constantly studying to learn more. I hope to eventually land a job in a great orchestra as well as establish a free afterschool music program, wherever I end up!
Craziest performance memory?
Playing the Danse Macabre solo, onstage in front of over 2000 school children, dressed as batman!
How about your most affirming performance memory?
Studying and performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Mansfield Symphony in May was a great recent performance.
Favorite NON-musical activity?
I enjoy watching basketball, and learning about fixing cars. I also love ping pong and all racket sports, in general.
What about your favorite NON-classical music and/or artistic inspiration?
I enjoy classic rock as much as classical music in a lot of ways. I am a big fan of all the classic bands like Queen, Led Zeppelin, etc…
What do you love most about Cleveland’s independent classical music scene? I enjoy the variety of work available for all the musicians around. I love having a Saturday night performance of Beethoven in Severance Hall, and then finding myself at the Happy Dog on Tuesday night performing a quintet arrangement of the Mozart Requiem; then performing an arrangement of “Sir Duke” in an art gallery on Friday night.
Clevelanders know the richness of music culture in their city (after all, we boast the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Cleveland Orchestra). They take pride in and show appreciation for the work we do as musicians here. I love it.