In her latest project, British violinist Jennifer Pike explores part of her heritage. Being half Polish, Jennifer takes a particular interest in Polish classical music and celebrating that country.
Jennifer’s most cherished accomplishment happened in 2017, where she performed during Polish Music Day at the Wigmore Hall. She curated and played in a series of three concerts in one day exploring music from four centuries of Poland's cultural history.
“There is so much great music out there that deserves to be better known. Art, and especially music, is often the most direct way to understand and build bridges with other cultures, and in the current climate I feel it can only be a good thing to explore the world in this way as much as possible!” Jennifer said.
The Polish Violin
In anticipation of her latest album, Jennifer focused on Polish music and recording many works that are both classics and lesser known masterpieces. The results of this effort is The Polish Violin with pianist Peter Limonov on Chandos.
“Every experience shapes you in some way, especially your surroundings and people you spend time with. I’m very lucky to have travelled to a huge range of different places around the world and met wonderful musicians and human beings along the way. I think they’ve all contributed to making me who I am,” Jennifer said.
The album’s repertoire includes Karol Szymanowski, Moritz Moszkowski, Mieczyslaw Karłowicz, and Henryk Wieniawski, sounding dark yet optimistic. This album not only explores history of her family and many others, but the person within her.
“Sometimes I don’t know where the idea or inspiration comes from – it seems to originate from things that have shaped my life in some way. This could be from non-musical things like relationships, life philosophies or the sort of day I had! And of course from reading about a composer or going to places where he/she spent time. Both the historical context of a work and your own life experiences generate ideas,” she said.
Exploring and Giving Back
When she is not performing, recording or practicing, Jennifer is exploring her surroundings, whether at home or during a concert tour.
“Exploring the places you find yourself in for a concert is often a really rewarding experience. Often there isn’t a lot of time when you’ve got to rehearse, but whenever possible I try and get up early and see the place before the flight home,” she said.
Some other causes she supports include The Prince’s Foundation for Children in the Arts, which brings art programs to young people in Britain, and the London Music Masters Bridge Project, another vital program that helps bring music to underprivileged children. She also helps in her hometown with The Wellspring Stockport, an organization that helps many homeless people in the area.
Education in schools is the most important thing, to give children the opportunity to experience music in a live setting and to also play an instrument and discover the benefits of that,” Jennifer said. “Politicians need to listen and take note of the benefits of music in our society and the importance of providing children with the opportunity to express themselves creatively. It should not fall on a just a few generous organizations to keep music alive for young people; the government needs to ensure every school is able to provide a high quality music education to its pupils.”