'The better my body is working, the more efficient I can be' - Elena Urioste: She’s like a rainbow

Photo May 13, 1 12 38 PM

The award-winning violinist Elena Urioste has many strands to her career. She speaks to Toby Deller about making her BBC Proms debut, yoga, chamber music with friends, and how she kept the music alive during lockdown

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Not that I ever banked on a Proms debut, but this is exactly the sort of piece I would have hoped to play,’ says violinist Elena Urioste of Ethel Smyth’s Concerto for violin, horn and orchestra. ‘I’m in some ways more comfortable playing music that people haven’t heard zillions of times; in particular, I have always been drawn to both American and British repertoire. So it feels fortuitous to make my debut with this piece, which I’ll probably get to introduce to a lot of people for the first time.’

Dame Ethel Smyth (1858–1944) was ennobled in 1922 for her contribution to music, which included composing the 1910 anthem of the British suffragette movement, The March of the Women. But she had previously been briefly imprisoned for her political activities. As such, she is enjoying something of a renaissance in today’s climate, as musicians and musical figures, galvanised by her example, look to champion her once again. The Concerto is not new to the BBC Proms, however. It was first performed at the festival in 1927 (with Antonio Brosa as violin soloist), a few months after its premiere (with Jelly d’Arányi), and most recently in 2008 (Tasmin Little). Nor is it new to Urioste, who is joined by horn player Ben Goldscheider for the 25 July 2022 performance with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra…

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