Clara Engen

Violin

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Alma mater: Oberlin College and Conservatory
Appearances: Oberlin Orchestra, 2011–16; Chamber Music Workshop with Cuarteto Girasol, Panama, 2015; Oberlin in Panama Project, 2014–15; Teaching Fellow with MusAid, Belize, 2014; Brevard Music Festival, 2013; Madeline Island Music Festival, 2012
Musical origins: I started violin at the age of 8 after I found my mom’s old violin underneath her bed and begged to learn how to play it.
Favorite piece to play: Definitely Brahms’ A major violin sonata. I love the second movement.
Favorite obscure piece: Carlos Chávez’s Tres Espirales
Favorite musical memory: When I was 11, my youth orchestra did a mass performance of the slow theme from Jupiter by Gustav Holst. I remember standing in the center of the hall, totally overwhelmed by the sound of 400+ musicians filling up the space from the stage, the aisles, and the balconies—it was the loudest and definitely the most powerful musical experience I’d ever had.
Which composer would have had the best social media: I’d love to see Dvořák snapchatting his way through the Midwest in 1893. Plus, he’d probably have some poignant social media posts on racism and musical culture in the U.S.
Favorite fact about your instrument: My own instrument is exactly 200 years older than me.
Favorite non-classical musician or band: Dessa – an amazing artist from my hometown of Minneapolis.
Best album to have on repeat: The Danish String Quartet’s album Woodworks of Scandinavian folk arrangements is incredible.
Favorite non-musical hobby: I love making jewelry!!
Favorite painting: It’s a tie between Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, and Twilight in the Wilderness by Frederic Church.
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Heard this piece of advice in a masterclass recently: “Nothing good is done without passion, but nothing excellent is ever achieved through passion alone.”

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