Presenting our musicians: Maria Vahervuo

Musician interview 22.3.2020

Next up to be presented is bassist and violone player Maria Vahervuo. In addition to playing bass sounds, Maria is especially skilled at making fire and cooking something delicious out of what she finds in the backpack. Maria looks forward to every upcoming project, but FiBO's Sibelius concert is special. Why? Find out on the blog.

Maria Vahervuo

Baroque bass/violone

Short introduction
I live by the sea shore in Zandvoort close to Amsterdam. Often I feel like I am a travelling professional when I journey around Europe with my bass and my suitcase. Most of my journeys are made with Cecilia Bartoli's orchestra Le Musicien du Prince. In addition, I teach the Alexander Technique and Baroque Bass at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. 

Tell us about yourself. 
I was born in Helsinki, but I feel like I am from Espoo. Music has basically always been a great part of my life. My, and my younger siblings', classical music education began with piano lessons with our grandmother Salli. We were all in music classes from primary school up to high school, so orchestras, choirs and instrument lessons were our family's everyday life. My parents did not actively make music, but there was everything from classical to experimental digital music on the record player. 

How did you end up with your instrument? Who or what made you choose it?
The double bass and especially playing in an orchestra won me over at the music class in the Maininki school. From there, my path led me to Espoo music institute and the Sibelius Academy. 

With the Baroque bass and the violone, it's kind of the same story. The first guilty person was Rabbe Forsman, who tricked an unsuspecting bassist into an early music orchestra from the corridors of the Academy. From there, the journey continued through Opus X to the Sixth Floor Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, and on that road I am still, stuck with gut string ensembles. 

What inspires you as a musician and in life?
Reacting together to ineffable an indescribable things. 

What other art form is close to your heart? 
Dance. Because I understand nothing of it, I can enjoy the movement, the beauty and the expression. Once I found myself at a workshop, where all the other participants were dancers. During the presentation I apologised in advance for having gotten lost there as the only bassist. But it was fun anyway! 

Which is your greatest musical dream?
When I left the modern double bass and the symphony orchestras, a terrible thought bothered me: I may never again play the symphonies by Sibelius! In 2020, FiBO plays Sibelius on period instruments. I am already really looking forward to this project. And maybe next the symphonies, too…? 

Which is your favourite travel destination, and why?
The best journey is the journey home. And also a holiday journey to the mountains with my partner, a backpack and a map of the new terrain.

In what kind of a place does your soul find rest? 
I think I already mentioned it, but at home, by the sea and in nature, in Lapland or the mountains. My soul seems to rest in many places! 

How do you feel your art is affecting society at large? 
Honestly, this is something I ponder every once in a while. What is the meaning of art and music at all? Is it meaningful that adult healthy people use hours and hours of their time and energy to produce certain optimal tones? The air vibrates for a moment and then the vibration fades away. 

In the history of mankind, many things have come and gone, and at the moment, we live in the time of the digital revolution. Art, trade and medicine are industries that remain and change. The question is not just about values but about something deeply human. I don't believe that there will ever be a time without art.

Why do you enjoy playing music that is over 300 years old?
It goes directly into the soul, bypassing the mind. 

Choose your favourite among FiBO’s 2020 concerts, and motivate your choice. 
For me personally, the best and most interesting project and concert is always the next one coming up. This attitude has kept my motivation high for decades. 

Do you have a “secret” special skill?
I am pretty good at making a fire and cooking something tasty out of ingredients that don't weigh much in the backpack. 

If you had to run the Cooper test or bake for a party of 30 people, which would you choose?
Are those two alternatives even comparable? Baking for such a party sounds like a marathon, which I would rather choose!  

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