Presenting our musicians: Hannu Vasara
Musician interview 13.10.2023
Hannu Vasara started playing another instrument, but for practical reasons he switched to violin. That might be as well, since Vasara and his violin is a familiar sight for friends of many a musical genre!
Violin and baroque violin
I’m a musician in many different ensembles and orchestras, among them FiBO, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. I’ve played in the Zagros String Quartet since the beginning of the 21st century.
Tell us about yourself. How did you decide on your instrument?
I’m from Tampere, where I started playing the piano at the age of eight. However, I switched to the violin a couple of years later, as my father was a realist and he was worried that it might be hard to find work as a pianist! And my father the accordionist was indeed right, even though playing the violin was quite hard in the beginning and I started missing the already familiar piano. Anyway, playing an instrument was my own thing, and there was never any pressure from home, instead I got important support.
Playing the violin was always important, but equally important in my teenage years became rock music, especially the new wave: Hassisen kone and Sielun veljet, which I adored in a manic way. This might be a reason for my interest for experimentation in everything I’ve done since: in addition to early music, I also have a soft spot for klezmer, modern music and dance.
What inspires you as a musician and also otherwise?
I see music as a way of communication, and a beautiful one at that. After concerts I usually feel more energised than otherwise, something I suspect comes from the intense interaction with other people during the concerts.
What is your biggest musical dream?
My biggest musical dream is to still play many concerts with all of my dear colleagues.
What is your favourite travel destination, and why?
I have lost interest in long distance travel. The Nuuksio national park is nice and close enough, I can go there even by bike.
Which kind of place do you find restful?
My family roots are in a one hundred year old house in Southern Savo, where my father spent his childhood. It’s always restful to be there and do different things, to be part of the nature.
How do see the impact of your work in the arts in society?
I think that if there was no art, we would live in a horrible dystopia, like in a world without bird song.
Why do you feel that it’s meaningful to play music from over 300 years ago?
Early music is a difficult term, because the performance is now and always lives in the moment. For me, early music brings solace and joy, and at the same a sense of that the most important things in humanity are eternal and ageless.
Choose a favourite from FiBO’s concerts in autumn 2023 and tell us why.
The ¿Spain? programme (Sipoo 8th Oct, Oslo 14th Oct, Helsinki 15th Oct and Pszczyna 17th Oct) is a good example of FiBO’s ground breaking programming. Antti Auvinen’s concerto Andalusian Panzerwagen Jazz for guitar and baroque orchestra is playful and full of juicy sounds. It’s been a pleasure to play it.
Do you have a “secret” skill?
I play the electric bass, for my own enjoyment.
If you’d have to choose between running a Cooper test or baking for a party with 30 guests, which would you choose?
It would be nice to run a Cooper test, it has to be at least forty years since the last one.