Gwendolyn Masin (born 17 November 1977) is a violinist.
Born in Amsterdam, Gwendolyn Masin is the descendant of a long line of professional musicians from Central and Eastern Europe.
Masin began to play the piano at the age of 3. She took up the violin at the age of 5 and within her initial year of schooling, gave her first public performance in the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. Aged 11, Gwendolyn was introduced to the Irish public, giving a recital in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, and later that year appeared on the country’s most popular television programme, The Late Late Show.
She continues to perform live broadcasts and, reputed as an engaging, charismatic speaker, is a regular guest on TV and radio shows.
Gwendolyn Masin began learning the violin in the class of Coosje Wijzenbeek. Following a move to South Africa, she continued her studies with her parents in Cape Town. She was the youngest violinist to receive a Grade 6 diploma with distinction from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music at the age of 6. Discovered as an exceptional talent at a young age, she studied in Amsterdam with Herman Krebbers between 1990 and 1996.
She has received degrees and diplomas from four countries and her graduate studies were guided by Igor Ozim, Ana Chumachenco, Professor Zakhar Bron and Professor Shmuel Ashkenasi.
Masin tours extensively as a soloist and chamber musician. Appearances with orchestras include the performance of concertos with the Hungarian National Philharmonic, the State Symphony Orchestras of Saint Petersburg and Belarus, the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the MÁV Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva Chamber Orchestra, the Savaria Orchestra, and the Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes. She performs and records regularly with Ireland's major orchestras, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and with youth orchestras such as the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, the Chamber Orchestra of the Young European Strings School of Music and Portugal's Concerto Moderno.
Chamber music collaborations include concerts with musicians such as violinist Philippe Graffin, Jan Talich, Maxim Vengerov and Yuzuko Horigome, violists Guy Ben-Ziony, Gérard Caussé, Lilli Maijala, Isabel Charisius and Roger Chase, cellists Adrian Brendel, Alexander Baillie, Pavel Gomziakov, Gavriel Lipkind, Martti Rousi, Alexander Rudin, Julian Steckel and István Várdai, pianists Kit Armstrong, Julia Bartha, Finghin Collins, Robert Kulek, Peter Frankl, Aleksandar Madzar and György Sebök, conductors Janos Fürst and Gerhard Markson, wind instrumentalists Reto Bieri and Kaspar Zehnder, soprano Rachel Harnisch, and the actor Hanns Zischler.
Gwendolyn has premiered works from Raymond Deane, Urs Peter Schneider, Eric Sweeney, Martijn Voorvelt and John Buckley. Buckley's Violin Concerto was premiered by Gwendolyn on 21 September 2013 in Savannah, Georgia's Lucas Theater with the Savannah Philharmonic conducted by Peter Shannon. It received its European premiere in the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland, on 3 February 2015 with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Gavin Maloney. Don Li (composer/musician) has specifically composed for her, both solo pieces and film music, releasing the works on Tonus-Music Records.
Gwendolyn Masin holds a teaching position for violin studies at Haute école de musique de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland, since September 2013.
Her most recent undertaking is a TV and web-series, titled Gwendolyn‘s Playground, that takes viewers to a myriad of cities around the globe to explore how classical music inspires and influences Masin, as well as other artists and their audiences.
Festivals and Music Series
Gwendolyn Masin established the international, multidisciplinary series In Search of Lost Time in 2004, continuing it in 2010 with a commissioned work inspired by Paul Klee’s writings, composed by Thorsten Encke. Festival appearances include the West Cork Chamber Music Festival (Ireland), Prussia Cove (UK), and Internationaal Kamermuziekfestival Schiermonnikoog (the Netherlands).
In 2006, she founded the annual GAIA Music Festival, described as one of the most important festivals in Switzerland, and in 2007 she was appointed Carrick Water Music Festival's artistic director, a post she held in Ireland for 3 years.
Gwendolyn Masin gives violin and chamber music masterclasses in Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Portugal. She holds a PhD from Trinity College where she has completed a doctoral thesis examining the similarities and differences of 20th century violin pedagogy. Her award-winning book on violin teaching Michaela’s Music House, The Magic of the Violin, was published in 2009 by Müller & Schade, and will be translated into German in 2016. At the time of publication, she was the youngest female accredited with her own violin method.
Awards & recognitions
Masin has won national and international prizes and awards in Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the Netherlands. As the Dutch representative at the Global Stipends Awards, she received the International Music Award. She was nominated for The Outstanding Young Persons of Switzerland award for her achievements.
Gwendolyn plays a Lorenzo Carcassi violin made in Florence in 1761 which has been in her family for more than 50 years.
- 15 Squared - Don Li (composer/musician) (2006)
- GAIA Music Festival 2009 (2009)
- GAIA Music Festival 2013 (2013)
- Eugéne Ysaÿe Sonata No. 3 in D Minor Ballade (2016)
- ORIGIN (2016)
- ORIGIN (2016) (Vinyl)
- ZuekunftsNostalgie - Oli Kehrli (2016)
- GAIA Music Festival 2016 (2016)
- ORIGIN Edition Deluxe (2017)
- "European Strings Teachers Association Book Review" – ESTA Magazine, UK, Issue No. 3, 17/6/10
- "Michaela's Music House" – Schott Musik Paedagogik Online, February 2010
- "Michaela's Music House Wins IDEA Grand Prix" – November 2009
- „Michaela's Music House" – The Irish Times, Music in the Classroom, 17/11/2009
- "Gwendolyn adds yet another string to her bow" – Irish Independent, 1/11/2009
- „A Question of Culture" – Irish Independent, 10/10/2009
- "The Art of Making Music Fun" – The Irish Times, 29/07/2009
- „ARCO Book Review" – ARCO Magazine, Edition 3, 2009
- "Peeling the Parameters of the Grand Delusion" – The Irish Times, 25/09/2004
- "Das Ausnahmetalent" – Berner Zeitung, 23/03/2002