Violinist Bartosz Woroch is a very fitting guest leader for our final tour of the 2016-17 season, a programme of Eastern European music. It’s not just because he’s Polish, but because he studied in Poland (the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan, as well as Berlin University of The Arts and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama – we’re talking a deeply talented, award-winning kind of violinist here), and knows a lot about Polish music, and seems to care really deeply about the past, present and future of it.
We know this because we assembled this careful journey through Polish and Czech music (OK, and Polish-French, depending on how you categorise Chopin) together; it was very much a joint venture, and we hope this comes across in our performance of it, which you can catch in Dundee (31 May), Dumfries (4 Jun), Inverness (6 Jun) and Glasgow (7 Jun).
There’s also his experience as a chamber and ensemble musician. Yes, he’s played in prestigious venues across the world, and with big name orchestras from the Royal Philharmonic to the Bern Symphony Orchestra – but his work with groups such as Sinfonia Cymru (which he led and directed for three years) and his own chamber group, the Lutoslawski Quartet, is the stuff which makes him such a natural and easy fit with the style of Scottish Ensemble. As we’ve discovered since starting rehearsals, he’s also friendly and relaxed and modest (and a beautiful violinist), which is a lovely bonus.
We hope you can join us at some point on our tour to hear Bartosz for yourself – meanwhile, we caught up for a quick chat as part of our Work & Play series.
What’s your favourite venue to play?
I’m not sure I can pick one…so over next two weeks – all the venues in Scotland!
What is/are your favourite piece/pieces to play?
Again – impossible to choose, really, and I stick to philosophy that my favourite pieces are the ones I’m playing at the moment, which brings me to Bacewicz, Czyz, Górecki, Chopin and Dvorak…
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
There have been quite a few moments I cherish and hold dear in my memory, but in terms of feeling some sort of accomplishment (and perhaps relief) it’s probably releasing my debut CD last year.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Apart from playing itself, and the constant struggle to try to improve, I suppose it’s adapting to fast- changing reality in the music world. Perhaps it’s just growing up, really… But that’s a good challenge!
If you hadn’t become a musician and composer, what do you think you’d be doing now?
I’m not sure what the substitute for music is, but I might have pursued my other passions in life – like mountaineering or scuba diving.
What are the best things about being on tour?
Getting to know people well over a certain period of time, having a chance to improve with every concert – and socialising, of course!
What are the worst things about being on tour?
Packing and unpacking…
How do you relax between concerts?
A generous nightcap of good Scottish whisky usually does the trick. And if there happens to be a nice hill or a mountain around I might go and climb it!
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from tour?
Nothing. Literally. 24 hours of pure laziness.
Where in the world would you most like to live, and what’s your favourite place to visit?
New Zealand would be my top pick to live, but it’s just too far, so actually the UK is the next best thing! To visit, however, south-east Asia is just the best place. Just think of the food.