Two thousand and sixteen has been an incredible year. So much has happened. Every year is of course a year of learning, of discovery, of love, of birth, of death. This year I learned so much. I wanted to share a few beautiful moments with you now, looking back at the last twelve months. I got an email this morning that congradulated me on having one of the top 25 violin blogs in the world. I have no idea how I got to be on this list, and I don't really know what it means, but I'm simply happy and excited that some of my adventures, shortcommings, and opportunities may get shared around the world and encourage my fellow people to continue to enjoy, create, and imagine incredible ways to make, perform, listen, and be part of the world of the Arts.
I want to give a big thank you to so many incredible people in my life that have helped me this last year to continue to become the musician I am constantly struggling to become. A big thank you to my dad, Jan Huizinga, to my sister, and her husband, to my dear friend Jennifer Toole, to my California parents Bob and Leslie, to my fairy godmother MJ, to my bandmates Gavin, Simon, Andrew, and Kip, to my duo partner and dear friend William Coulter, to strangers sending me messages along the way, encouraging me, and to all the hugs I have recieved that literally provide me with the energy to forge ahead and keep sharing the beauty of the world, with the world, to the world.
I made a little list, just for fun. It is a way for me to remember some incredible moments, and to share them with you.
In 2016 I released an album with my friend William Coulter. It is a duo album, for violin and guitar, and it explores both of our loves of folk and baroque music, and beyond! I hope to share it with as many people as I can in the next year. Have a listen if you can. I will include a link HERE.
CBC "This Is My Music"
I have my publicist Amy Gottung to thank for this incredible opportunity. Everyone in the world of running their own business, or being self employed knows how incredibly challenging it can be. Well, there is absolutely no way I could do what I do without my dear friends. I consider Amy one of these friends. Thank you Amy. I look forward to continue working with you as long as I can, until you become way to busy for little people like me :)
CBC is an incredible organization that shaped my entire life as a musician. And on December 10th 2016 I hosted a show on CBC Radio 2 called This is My Music and I shared some of my story, and love, and passion. Thank you to all of you that listened all across Canada and around the world. The link to the show is up and will remain up if you are interested in listening at any time.
Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington, DC
Early on in 2016 I was invited to be part of a concert at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. This was definitely one of the highlights of the year for me, as I got to play with some incredible colleagues, work closely with Kenneth Slowik, the Director of the Institute, and have a chance to play on some incredible Stradivarious Violins.
Wunderkammer CD Release
ACRONYM ENSEMBLE is one of the projects in my life I care very deeply for. It is a 12 piece band of my friends, and we get together and find incredible unknown baroque repertoire and record and perform it. Wunderkammer is no exception, and it is such an incredibly unique disc of many different unknown composers from the Baroque Era. One of the other reasons I love this band, is that we never say no to an idea, at least at first. Everyone in the group is always willing to give something a try. You would be so surprised, or maybe you wouldn't be, as we get older, people are less and less inclined to try anything new out at all - let's fight that movement... if we can, together!
Whole Note Cover Article and Podcast
Podcasts are becoming a very popular and very intersting form of information and story sharing I think. I felt really honoured this past year to be part of Wholenote's launch of their very own Podcast. It was so fun to sit down with the magazine and talk about my new album Fire & Grace, and also discuss things about Toronto, Canada, and my place as an artist in the world today. Also, it was a huge surprise when they put my face on the cover - thank you Wholenote, as we all know, a little recognition of your work as an Artist goes a long way sometimes.
AGO performance with Jennifer Nichols "The Mystical Soul"
Art + Music + Dance is about as mathamatical as my life gets, but these three things are something that I constantly crave to put together. Jennifer Nichols is a really great friend, and we spent a few weeks working together in preparation for our first performance at the AGO. It was an incredible project, with The Sun, by Edvard Munch as the background (the real one). Jennifer Choreographed the dance to one of my favourite baroque violin pieces. Biber's Passacaglia. We ended up performing this work three times in one evening, all three to completely packed audiences, and left the scene feeling very compelled to do more. I'm so excited to figure out what our next project is going to be! Also - if anyone has any suggestions on when we could possibly launch this one again, that would be grrrrrreat!
Stereo Live CBC Recording
Looking back on my year, I was in the CBC studio a few times. Once to have a coffee with Tom Allen, and discuss some really fun projects that I hope we can continue to work on, once to host a show, and also to record the Schubert cello Quintet with some absolutely fantastic colleagues. Keith Hamm, Elinor Frey, Tom Wiebe, and Mark Destrube. These four musicians, and then myself recorded one of my favourite pieces of chamber music for CBC Radio. It was part of a series Keith Hamm and I run called Stereo Live, and it was such a great experience to perform this piece around Toronto for several different audiences and then bring it into the studio. I hope you may hear it on the air at some point this next season, although keep in mind, it is a live recording, and may not be completely flawless. I say, it keeps everything real. Fresh. and Exciting.
BEETHOVEN WITH BRUNO
Recording Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Bruno Wiel and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is something I simply had to mention in this list. Bruno is a dear friend of mine, and his musicianship is one of old. I do not mean he is old, although he is definitely no spring chicken anymore, but his ways, and his knowledge runs deep. Like that of Gandalf the Grey. He has been a huge inspiration to me, and being able to play my heart out IN AN ORCHESTRA WHILE RECORDING is what he wants from me, and so I give it to him, and it makes for an incredible relationship.
Photography + Improvisation + Dance
A dear friend, Jennifer Toole invited me to be part of her photography exhibit early in January 2016. We brainstormed about what this collaboration would be, and I ended up getting three musicians together, and Jennifer brought in three dancers, and we talked about bringing to life some of the aspects of the Goddesses that Jennifer was capturing on film. We ended up assigning, with deep consideration of each of the artists feelings and ways, a specific Greek Goddess, and then I assigned three musicians, one of which was me, to each dancer, and as they correographed a piece with each other, I had one violin, one cello, and one voice, follow the journey, react and anticipate and provoke the dancers, and we came up with a moment during the exhibit where the Photographer came alive. These collaborations fuels my desire to be an Artist. Thank you to all invovled in that project.
THE FIRE OF APOLLO
Although my year was absolutely wildly busy and crazy, I will end this list with one last short tour that I enjoyed so much, and that was an east coast tour with Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Apollo's Fire. Jeannette Sorrell is a big mentor for me, especially when considering what it takes to bring a small group of fine string players together and turn them into one of the hottest most saught after Baroque Orchestra's in the World. yes, Jeannette is a force. Thanks for your inspiration and I look forward to working with you again in 2017!!!
Ever since I was a little boy, growing up on ten acres with my mom, dad and sister, some goats, chickens, and my dog Robin, I always listened to CBC. My sister Linden and I would dance around the house to Tchaikovsky, the Brandenburg concertos, you name it. When I was young I figured it was the only station on the radio. In the car I would get to know so many pieces that I grew up to love, and now play, from listening to CBC. It is such an incredible journey to go from hearing the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on the radio, to not only performing and touring with them around the world - but also recording with them! One of the pieces that I will play for you on this show is one that I recorded with Tafelmusik. Some of you might not even realize yet why I'm talking to you about CBC Radio, well, a few weeks ago I was approached to host a show called "This Is My Music". This show airs every Saturday morning at 10:00 AM on CBC Radio 2. So many of my colleagues, mentors, and heroes have hosted this show, and I am so excited to host this one tomorrow morning, December 10th, at 10:00 AM! I wanted to let as many of you know in advance as I could because, even though it is pre-recorded, I haven't even listened to it yet, so it will be an exciting moment. For those of you that are far away, and in other Countries, I believe you can stream it, or even tune in on Satelite radio. Some other people and music that I talk about and share with you are a few new tracks from my latest Album "Fire & Grace with WIlliam Coulter, also one of my favourite tracks from my band ACRONYM, an incredible piece of classical rock and roll performed by Mark Fewer, and so much more!! I'm so excited to share these couple of hours on the radio waves with all of you. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me!!!
The Mystical Soul - Photos by Dean Tomlinson
On November 3rd 2016 Jennifer Nichols and I embarked on an adventure of performing a solo violin and dance piece at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Together we chose The Biber Passacaglia for solo violin as the work, and Jennifer choreographed an incredible 10 minute dance to go along with the piece. The real catch however was the room, and background of the piece. it was an unbelievable painting by Edvard Munch, called The Sunrise. This gorgeous painting hung on the wall just behind Jennifer and I as we danced and played our piece in the gallery three times over the course of the evening. Minutes before we started each set, the crowd would form, eagerly anticipating the performance, which for them, and us, was incredibly unique as there were so many variables! The audience was constantly pushing forward into our performance space to be able to see clearer, yet Jennifer's dance moves kept pushing everyone back again as the circles and movements around the painting as well as myself got bigger and bigger. It was definitely one of those, you had to be there moments in creating art, as so many situations are in the world of art, however Dean Tomlinson, house photographer of the AGO took some gorgeous action shots, and I just thought it would be so lovely to share them with all of you. Please enjoy, and we so look forward to having another chance to make this performance happen again!
On November 16th at the Campbell House Museum on the corner of Queen St. and University Ave, I will be having a CD RELEASE SHOW!!! My great friend and colleague, grammy award winning guitarist William Coulter will be coming all the way from Santa Cruz California to perform with me.
We will be performing all kinds of incredible classical and folk tunes from our first CD called Fire & Grace. We are so pumped and excited to share this experience with you. I sincerely hope you can make it!!!
November 16th 8:00 PM
Campbell House Museum
Stereo Live presents: Fire & Grace,
Edwin Huizinga and William Coulter
It has been an incredible journey recording an album with one of my favourite musicians in the world. William Coulter and I have been touring together for the last three years all over North America, and we have finally recorded some of our favourite repertoire on our new album that I can't wait to share with all of you! It has been so fun to work with some incredible people as well. I want to give a huge thank you to my dear friend Gavin Gardiner for recording and mixing this album. Also to Jennifer Toole for taking some incredible photos of us that we are using for our album art! And for so many people along the way that have encouraged me to record, and put out an album! Last, but not least, I'm so excited to announce that the album will be released by non other then Roaring Girl Records, a very small boutique label run by my very long time and dear friend Miranda Mulholland. I'm so excited to be part of her roster! It is also a very busy time right now because I'm working on my solo album at this point as well, and I cannot wait to share that with all of you soon.
You can buy Fire & Grace online, worldwide, on November 11th 2016.
Edwin Huizinga on violin, William Coulter on guitar, and Gavin Gardiner behind the controls...
William Coulter and I got into the studio together a couple of weeks ago at the end of June and recorded a full length duo album of all kinds of violin and guitar music... We recorded everything from Bach to Bluegrass... Literally!!! We are so excited. This album is going to feature us exploring Bulgarian music, Riverdance tunes, Bach, Vivaldi, Piazzola and so much more!!! the big beast on the album is going to our MONSTER BACH set... a brand new idea of mixing bach with folk tunes... It's going to be an incredible adventure sharing this album with you. We spent three days recording with in the mountains of Santa Cruz at a friends studio. One of my best friends, Gavin Gardiner flew out from Canada to Engineer the album. The three of us had an incredible time together, discovering the music we have been working so hard on all year in a new way, and trying to get the most amazing, heartfelt, gorgeous version for the books... It's going to be a couple of months until the album is completely done, as we still have some editing, mixing, and mastering to do, however, I cannot wait to share this album with all of you. I am so proud of it.
So a few years ago I was hired to play my first Celtic Christmas show. I was completely over my head, Celtic fiddle? I grew up in the middle of nowhere outside of Guelph, Ontario going to Suzuki school once a week for years practicing Mozart and Bach (both of which I love very dearly) Well, for those of you that know me, will not be surprised when I said, Yes to the tour, in fact I think I said something like, that sounds GRRRRRRRRRRREAT. Well it was a life changing experience performing Irish fiddle music all over the USA in gorgeous Theaters. I believe the vibe is what sells it. The experience and energy, and level of fun that we have on stage tearing up those jigs and reels are just totally out of this world. So why am I talking about this you might ask? Well, on this tour, I met a guy named William Coulter. Bill, as I call him, has become a great friend and we have been developing a folk and baroque duo show for the last couple of years. Why Folk and Baroque? Well, baroque music is one of my favourite styles of music, and something I have also had considerable training in - with Gustav Leonhardt, with Marilyn McDonald, with Stanley Ritchie, Libby Wallfisch, Vera Beths, Lucy Van Daal, so many great musicians. I've studied with them, played with them, had a couple drinks with them, ran into the ocean with them after a Saint Matthew's Passion - well that was just with Libby... but another lesson in baroque music none the less!!! So you take Baroque music, you add ornaments galore, and you dance around a bit, and then BINGO! you have FOLK MUSIC!!!!!!!
One of my favourite questions I get all the time is what's the difference between a violin and a fiddle. For some reason, soooo many people believe the fiddle is smaller.... of course most people think I play a tiny violin..... when will they ever learn??? I wish Einstein was alive and beside me to explain why the violin looks smaller when I hold it then lets say, when my amazing friend Johanna holds it... hehehehe...
I'm not quite sure why I started writing this blog - but now I'm starting to realize that it's because I'm pitching this duo, this tour, this project... And I think it's going to be AWESOME. And.... we are going to be recording it in June as well, so after our 15 concert tour this month, we're gonna put it all on a record. I'm psyched. Bill is an incredible guitarist, and has been studying and teaching and performing folk music for decades... yes he has a couple of years on me, but not too many! And me? Well, I love it so much, and Bill has decided to put up with my craziness and try out this duo. #LIQUIDGOLD I hope you guys like the name... It makes me smile every time.
So keep in touch, let me know what you think, let me know if you can come to a show, let me know if you want a copy of the album, or if you'd like Bill and I to come to your house and play a concert... you know the drill, we're musicians. If you give us a chance to make music, we will.
At Oberlin Conservatory, where I did my undergraduate degree in violin performance with Marilyn McDonald I was also part of the baroque ensemble led by Jeannette Sorrell. One of the highlights of that experience was performing the Bach Double with Evan Few and the Oberlin Baroque Orchestra. Just a couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of performing with Apollo's Fire - Jeannette Sorrell's very own baroque ensemble based in Cleveland.
It was such an incredible feeling to be working together again, and with so many great friends and colleagues. Four of us violinists were in the same studio together at Oberlin.... Talk about a small world. And none of us even live in Cleveland. However, this ensemble is full of superstars and we fly in from all over the world to make magic, and music :) The concerts and tour this last month was for the St. John Passion. One of the most incredible works that J.S. Bach ever wrote. It was totally incredible to perform it seven times, record an album with the group, and make a bunch of really beautiful looking videos. We performing it a few times in Cleveland, brought it to Michigan, and then also to New York City and had a live broadcast at St. Paul's Chapel, part of Trinity Wall Street, in New York. What an experience!!!
I was playing second violin, in a section of three, with Adriane Post and Andrew Fouts - two really great friends of mine. I have known them both for at least a decade, and performing with them every day for over two weeks in this ensemble was absolutely incredible. I have also performing chamber music with both Adriane and Andrew many many times over the last ten years and so I often felt like I knew exactly what was going to happen before it happened. There is absolutely nothing like working with the best of friends. The first violin section was full of four rockstars as well. Olivier, Johanna, Evan, and Emi, Emi being the only one I had never worked with before. Of course by the second week I found out she was in an all girls rock and roll string quartet that performed Michael Jackson covers... of course...
Well, the whole experience was incredible, and I absolutely have to take a moment to talk about the soloists and the choir. Many of them are great friends of mine from other ensembles and concerts and festivals, but meeting a few for the first time was a true highlight. Amanda Forsythe singing soprano was just so beautiful. Every time, the arias would give you sometime new to think about and enjoy. And then Nick Phan - he just completely blew my mind. As the evangelist he was our storyteller, every single day, in GERMAN no less, and it was just some of the most amazing singing I have ever heard, day after day, night after night, what an honour to work with you Nick! And last but not least, a final nod to Jeannette, who I've known since 2002, my first year at Oberlin. Thank you for caring so much, thank you for being an awesome musician, and thank you for inviting me to be part of your incredible band!!!!
till next time,
Several months ago my friend Jonas and I were making music together in his studio, and talking about how it would be great to start a series in Sharbot Lake, Ontario. A small little town where his partner Sylvie Smith & Nicole Tarasick have recently opened up a gorgeous cafe. Cardinal Cafe, is a gorgeous red brick, one room church that has been completely renovated into a beautiful cafe and on Saturday night, January 30th it was transformed into a concert space. When Jonas asked me what we should bring to this tiny church turned Cafe without hesitation I said, Bach. Bach is and has been my favourite composers of all time. His music transcends all else, for me. The pieces Philip Fournier and I performed had surely been played at the Zimmerman Cafe, Bach's own coffee house cafe where many of his works were premiered hundreds of years ago.
I would like to take a moment to give a huge huge thank you and heartfelt acknowledgement to everyone that came out on January 30th 2016. The place was beyond sold out, there were people standing, sitting on the freezer behind the coffee machine, in the back. A couple people even dropped by just to stand outside by the door to see what was happening. (I only found that out later of course) The energy and spirit in the room was like nothing else. If anyone ever asks me if I want to play a small intimate concert in a beautiful space, or in the country, or in someones home, my answer is always yes. The next step is to figure out how.
We brought in a harpsichord from Toronto, courtesy of the trusted steed known as The Wooden Sky van, something we share together when we're not on tour, and stays parked in Toronto awaiting our cross country adventures. We loaded it up, and I would like to risk saying, it was the first time that little church had ever had the sounds of a harpsichord reverberating in it's beautiful space. For some people at the concert it was the first time they had ever heard a harpsichord, and for some, yes, for some it was even the first time they had ever heard Johann Sebastian Bach. One great moment was when someone said to Phil, "I've been using the harpsichord setting on my electric keyboard for years, and now I finally understand where the sound comes from" A beautiful night of firsts, of sharing, of music, and of community.
Another quote I would love to share from the evening from Ken Fisher "Last Saturday evening, The Cardinal Cafe hosted a baroque evening. Edwin Huizinga and Philip Fournier opened the gates and windows of heaven in Sharbot Lake. Playing together and separately, these passionate and gentle men, shared their very souls through the medium of Bach and Leclair. We are so grateful to Jonas Bonetta, Sylvie Smith & Nicole Tarasick for this most extraordinary evening." thank you Ken!!!
Yes, as Ken says, I played a solo, the E major Partita by Bach, and Philip did as well, one of Bach infamous preludes and fugues. and then a couple of Bach's Obligato sonatas and then a Sonata by LeClair as well.
Lastly, I would just like to say Thanks so much to Jonas Bonetta, a great friend and amazing visionary for this idea. I can't wait to plan more concerts for Cardinal Classics, and to come back and share my love of music with Sharbot Lake.
I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Bruno for the last eleven years. His humble qualities and extreme subtle musicianship almost feels like they come from a time long ago. Bruno's rehearsals are so completely full of gems, phrases, thoughts, interesting quotes, that Tafelmusik comes together in ways that I didn't know possible when he is working his magic. Just yesterday, he says to us, at the beginning of the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony first rehearsal, he says, the first movement starts about 20 bars before the beginning. Now this might not make sense to everyone right away, but to the band, it is so clear, and immediately changed the sound and expressive qualities of even the very first note of our sound. Bruno is one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met. He has a way about him, that I find incredibly hard to describe, and yet I feel like I completely understand where he is coming from. His musical ideas are so often exactly what I wish I could figure out how to put into words, or into an expression, and he does it so incredibly eloquently. It's absolutely incredible. I also feel very close with him. He was one of the first conductors that I got a chance to work with at a professional level where I understood the incredible power that a maestro can have over a group of people, and a piece of music, and making it happen.
Yesterday as Bruno walked into the room for our first rehearsal the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra stayed quiet. We had just finished tuning and we understood how beautiful this week is going to be. How important it is what we are doing. Giving Beethoven's Ninth Symphony another performance. Sharing it with the world, recording it. Working with Bruno. These things are all completely invaluable to us musicians. I have been looking forward to this week since I was asked to be a part of it, almost one year ago.
I managed to find a quiet moment at the end of the rehearsal to say my hellos, but I find myself short of words, being so excited, and having so much respect for this other human being. I realize that there is barely a need for words. In the last two and half hours Bruno has already told me so much through his music making, OUR music making. His love for the music, for us, for the world, for Beethoven, for family, for the notes, for the rests, for the dynamics, it makes so many things make sense.
I just wanted to share a few words with you, and if you have the opportunity to see this performance this week, it will change your life, in some small way, perhaps without even realizing it yourself. I know it has for me.
on tour. kickin it. playin.