British-American violist Peter Sulski superbly demonstrates his instrument’s true expressive potential on BOWED COLORS from Navona Records. Sulski, who was a member of the London Symphony Orchestra for seven years, has published seminal solo viola recordings of works by Telemann, J. S. Bach, and Hindemith. Combining Sulski’s signature sound with the works of five composers, BOWED COLORS delivers an exquisite selection of contemporary solo viola pieces that range from the neoclassical to the just barely tonal, all tightly knit together by Sulski’s sublime bow control and finesse as a performer.
Today, Peter is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner-workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn how he powered through a coughing fit in front of a 2000-person audience, and why he would master the drums if given the opportunity…
Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?
My favorite artist growing up was Alfredo Campoli, as my father owned a vinyl disc of him playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. I would listen to it all day on my father’s stereo, which seemed to be the size of a truck to a little 7 year old boy. The cover featured this grand old violinist in full expressive performance mode. Oh boy, if I could do that someday……
What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?
The most unusual performance I remember was as a young 25 year old performing Bruckner’s 4th Symphony as a member of the London Symphony Orchestra’s viola section. We were in a beautiful concert hall in Koln, Germany, with an extremely rapt audience. In one of the movements there is a beautiful viola solo section. I had a terrible catch in my throat, and it was all I could do to not cough. Tears streamed down my face. At the end of the movement, maestro Sir Georg Solti calmly took out a handkerchief in front of 2000 audience members, and generously handed it to me.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is collecting beautiful watches, and I like to wear a different one every month. I look forward to handing them down to my children.
If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?
I would have loved, as I was quite good at it in my England days, to have been a professional rugby player.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I love spending creative time in Ramallah, Palestine, as a teaching and performance artist. Alas, a few weeks a year is not enough…
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
If I could master another instrument immediately, it would be a drum set so I could tour with Led Zeppelin all over the world, during their glory days.