Rising Star Ellen Nisbeth from Sweden declared herself especially “honoured” and “privileged” on 16 May 2018 - the day after her Viennese debut in the Musikverein - to have the opportunity to make music together with students from the specialist high school, the BORG für Musik und Kunst, Wien 1, Hegelgasse 12. The pieces performed included extracts from the previous evening’s concert programme and a further work by a composer whom the students had to (and did!) identify (Tchaikovsky ϑ ). The pianist and presenter for the occasion was the seasoned concert pianist and accompanist Bengt Forsberg.
The countless questions from students included a wish to know whether Ellen still found time for personal life alongside her international career, how an international career is launched, how she made the transition from the violin to the viola, how much energy was required for her daily practice over many years and whether she had ever considered giving up on playing the viola altogether.
Where her private life is concerned, Ellen can count on the active support of her husband in raising their young son. As is usual in Scandinavia, he is completely involved in the care of their child and has placed his own violin career on the back burner while his wife completes her major ECHO tour.
Of course it is true that the years of study involved a huge investment of energy, yet as Ellen Nisbeth explained, this was not merely a “expense”, as “it gives energy” too, in the pursuit of a greater goal - an important message for the students listening in the auditorium of the Hegelgasse academy. According to Ellen and Bengt, performing in the great concert halls of the world such as the Musikverein is the stuff of dreams, yet it is also clear for them that dreams can only come true through consistent hard work: “We are both dreamers - and we are realistic!“
It was particularly important for Ellen to put together a programme for the Brahms Saal that was highly personal – von Bach bis Duke Ellington – something confirmed by her pianist partner Bengt Forsberg: “It was totally you, and that was so great! We played Duke Ellington in the Brahms Saal!!!”
So what would she have done if her career as a musician had not taken off? As a small girl, Ellen Nisbeth’s passion was football, and she could have imagined becoming a goalkeeper ϑ - see our Facebook series #vomdach