Jasper Wood - Canadian Violin Virtuoso
Leading edge of new musicians
An interview article by Rosemary Phillips, 2003
UPDATE 2019: Jasper Wood has now established himself as one of Canada's top violinists, often heard on National Public Radio in the United States and on CBC Radio in Canada. Currently Jasper resides in Vancouver where he is professor of violin at the University of British Columbia. He performs regularly with his dynamic piano trio Triple Forte - with pianist David Jalbert and cellist Yegor Dyachkov - and Duo Rendezvous with guitarist Daniel Bolshoy. See below for a video of Jasper Wood and for links to more information.
ARTICLE INTRO: Jet setting violinist Jasper Wood was on his way to Florida,
flying here and there across the North American continent to share
his talent, when he took time from rehearsing a new piece of music
to hold this interview. Jasper definitely represents the future
of concert music. The following article was written for Symphonie of the
Kootenays in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, in preparation
for his Valentine's performance at the Key City Theatre.
Accompanied by pianist David Riley, Wood was paying homage
to the late great violinist Jascha Heifetz. "When I was young,"
said Wood, "Heifetz
was my influence. He found these gems and promoted them and transcribed
them with such a wonderful personality that is so inspiring."
The leading edge of new musicians
A member of the leading edge of new musicians Wood is finding his
own voice in the music, "… My own individual style that’s
not forced, just tends to be," he said. "I find that when
I’m doing that, what is currently going on in my life affects
how I interpret the pieces. So I try to stay happy. I do tend to
smile a lot more than I do in my photos," he laughed. "It’s
important to get out there and experience as many things as possible
so that you have a reason to express something."
Jasper Wood and Judy Kang, violin, perform Prokofiev's Duo for 2 violin for CBC TV.
The violin is his passion
The violin is his passion, his expression. "I don’t
know how to describe it. It’s rather like falling in love
with somebody. I can’t imagine not playing, not being with
the violin. It’s sort of a calling, something I have to do.
I feel empty when I’m not playing."
And just like lovers, there can be moments when there is dis-harmony
which makes the harmony even more beautiful. For the first time
in his life he and his love had a short separation. "I had
a difficult Fall with a lot of concerts so things were crazy in
my life," he explained. "Then I recorded the CD. When
that was done I didn’t want to look at my violin. I felt burnt-out
and it scared me because I had never felt that before. I put the
violin (an 1820 Giovanni Francesco Presenda on loan from the Canada
Council) on the shelf for about a week. Then I pulled out a piece
of music that I will be performing in April. After I got through
the initial hour and got my fingers going again, I felt the passion
Could it be that Wood is maturing, getting his own experience of
all that love has to offer? "When discussing this with other
musicians they asked how long I put the violin down. I said seven
days. They said that wasn’t long. I guess I needed a vacation
which is not something I do very often."
Catching the eye of the younger
Wood has been performing professionally for six years now. "One
thing that I’ve learned is there needs to be more community
outreach for those who don’t get a chance to come out to concerts,
like those from seniors homes and in schools, what with the arts
being cut in schools. Children hear rock music on TV. They also
need to see that classical music and musicians have a life."
Wood is presently working on developing a formula for next season
to offer outreach. "I’m trying to find a balance,"
And Wood’s image is definitely one to catch the eye of the
younger generation. "Image is an important part of being a
performer," he explained. "I got the idea when I did the
East Coast Music Awards," he continued. "I got to play
with a lot of Celtic fiddlers and East Coast rock stars. I didn’t
want to come off as the typical classical violinist in a tux, so
I watched the media for dress styles. I'm trying to stay away from
the old image. What I wear varies with every recital - something
a little catchy that’s interesting for the lights on the stage."
An inspiration for any generation
Wood is an inspiration for any generation. He’s living his
dream. "Someone asked me that a year ago - about my goals.
It’s funny because when I was younger I wanted to play with
an orchestra. I’ve done that. I’ve done everything I’ve
wanted to do. What I want to do now is continue to play in difference
places, to learn new music."
And learn new music he does. When the phone rang for this interview
he was so absorbed in learning a new piece that he didn’t
Make no mistake, this young man represents the cream of Canadian
talent. His program on Feb. 15 will nourish all hearts. "This
was standard for Heifetz," Wood explained. "The first
half is classical and serious, and the second half has more show
The ears will be blessed with works by Corelli, Morawetz and Ravel,
followed by Debussy, Prokofiev, Sarassate, and even a bit of Gershwin.
"I get right into the pieces," he continued. "The
Sabre Dance (Khabaturian) is ridiculously difficult with octaves
and tenths. It stretches my technique and keeps me in shape."
Combine passion, technique, talent, dreams and hope together with
the dark, rich and powerful sounds of his violin and Wood gives
you the makings of a splendid Valentine's gift.
Shortly after this item was published Richard Paul Concert Artists announced that Jasper Wood had been awarded use of the $3 million
Stradivarius "Taft" violin by the Canada Council for the
Arts as the winner of the national competition for the loan of the
violiin. This award came during the kick off of an exciting season
which also included an appearance in a short film called "The
Last Violinist" by Winnipeg film-maker Spenser Maybee, and
in an episode of a 13-part series called "The Classical Now"
by Red Star Films aired on Bravo!
For more information visit Richard
Paul Concert Artists web site or go to Jasper
Wood's own web site.
Jasper released a CD under the Endeavour
Classics label, titled "Jasper Wood
- Stravinsky: Works for Violin and Piano". Check out the
review of the CD.
NOTE: There are many more articles on this site - see Index of Articles.