Mats Zetterqvist, Principal Second Violin

My first experience of the COE was back in 1994, when I was asked to join a tour as a guest leader. I had heard about the orchestra from Swedish colleagues, but didn´t really know what to expect. And I was blown away! I had been a chamber musician for many years, with my own string quartet, but I had no idea that it was actually possible to play symphonic music in exactly the same way as chamber music in a small group. Attentively listening to the musical totality and adding your own impulses when needed. What a treat it was!

I returned a number of times as a guest leader, and after a break of some ten years I joined the orchestra as a member, mainly as principal second violin, sometimes as a leader. The orchestra became my second family. There is a huge difference between a stationary orchestra and an orchestra that always meets far away from home. The social life always continues off the podium, with a lively exchange of opinions, nice meals and a party now and then. I must confess I am probably considered a part of the group called “the Foodies”…

In times of growing nationalism and skepticism towards the unknown, I consider the COE to be such an important European project. Both musically and personally we bring our national characteristics to the group and to the audience. On the other hand we also bring qualities and ideas from other nationalities back home to our own countries. I find this exchange so rewarding.

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