Tai Murray’s violin has 287 years on the orange typewriter

Tai and her Giovanni Tononi, Bologna, c. 1690.

Described as ‘technically flawless,’ by Muso Magazine, and ‘superb’ by the New York Times, Tai Murray has impressed and enchanted the classical music world with her virtuosity and energy, and secured her place as one of its great violinists. Her skills as both a concert and chamber musician have taken her to concert-halls and  salons around the world, and won her numerous accolades and prizes including: an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and two years as a BBC New Generation Artist. Her new album was chosen as a Gramophone choice disk, and this March Tai was awarded a Sphinx Medal of Excellence at a black-tie dinner hosted by Justice Sotomayor at the U.S Supreme Court.

S&D: How old were you when you started playing, do you still have your first violin?

T.M: I snacked on my first violin!  I was five when I started with both the Suzuki and Traditional methods, so my first “instrument” was a crackerjack box with a drumstick attached.  All joking aside soon after I was able to have the candy as a stale treat, and my family lucked upon this 19th century Italian half-size violin that I used for maybe 10 months. Such a nice violin of that size is really unusual; I often wonder where it is. I traded it in when I moved up to a three-quarter-size instrument.

S&D: These interviews have been with Paris-based artists. You live in Berlin, why Berlin? (We ask everyone ‘why paris’)

T.M: My only rule for a place to live is that the city have a “heartbeat”. For me this could be a community vibe, a sense of shared general curiosity, a certain crackle-and-pop that drives things. I’d found those things in New York City so when I decided to move to Europe I found what I was searching for in Berlin. I also relish the idea of learning a fourth language having studied French and Japanese as a child, so … Viel Glück für mich!

S&D: Is there a particular city or venue on your bucket-list?

Growing up we had a faux-photograph painting of a scene in Santorini, Greece.  If I ever get to experience the bright blue roofs of that photo, I will probably cry with joy.

S&D: A lot of us wish our parents had made us stick with an instrument. What would you say to a kid who wants to quit music entirely and will regret it later? 

I believe that just as I was, and am, sure I wanted to play forever, not wanting to play in the present is just as valid a thought. I would say not to self-pressurize, and realize that if music is not what you want to do with your life, it is quite alright to enjoy it in whatever capacity you choose.
S&D: Do you ever get stage-fright? What does it feel like to play to an audience?

T.M: I get what I call stage-exhilaration.  It includes adrenaline and anticipation but mainly focus, similar to the moment that a spinning top is going at its fastest, and as a result takes an incredible amount of disruptive energy to knock off its axis.

Tai Murray’s new album is now
available on Amazon and iTunes.
Next Week: Painter and novelist, Alizé Meurisse shares her canvasses and her ashtray.
Interview by Charlie Daly,
Photos & Video
courtesy of Tai Murray.