They say when you play a violin piece; you become a storyteller, what better way to celebrate your wedding day than with one of the best storytellers in Mallorca performing on your big day.
Imagine your wedding day with the magical shoulder instrument playing in the background, offering a sense of romance and enchantment to all your guests. Today we meet violinist Soriana Ivaniv, a native of Ukraine, who has been performing at weddings for over two decades.
The violin is notoriously difficult to learn to play, taking a while for the beginner to be able to pull off a mellow sound! How easy was it for you, and at what age did you first pick up the instrument?
I’ll be honest, learning to play the violin was not easy at all. But I fell in love with the instrument from a very young age, I was six years old when I started to play and despite the complexity of the instrument I was determined to learn. I would play all day and night just attempting to get some sort of sound out of it. The early memories are a bit blurred, but what I do remember clearly is that the neighbours would close all the windows so they wouldn’t hear me hahahahaha!
Which brings to mind the words of Jim Fiebig who once said “No one should be allowed to play the violin until he has mastered it.” But of course to master it, you need hours of training. Where did you train to play the violin?
At first in a local music school from a very early age, and then when I was older I got a place in the Academy and in the Higher Conservatory of Kiev (Ukraine). Today the academy boasts to be the largest music school and research centre in Ukraine. Originally founded on 3 November 1913 and distinguished Ukrainian musicologists and composers as Lev Revutsky, Borys Lyatoshynsky, Pylyp Kozytskiy, amongst other have served on its faculty.
How long have you been playing the violin at weddings?
I’ve been playing the violin at weddings for two-and-a-half decades. It sounds a long time, but at the same time it has gone so quick. I think it’s because I enjoy performing so much and every time I play it’s a moment I cherish.
What do you most love about the beautiful island of Mallorca, and what do you think draws couples to this destination to get married?
Personally, I love Mallorca for its natural beauty, the island has so much to offer in terms of nature, from virgin beaches, azure views, remote mountains and hidden hilltop towns. I also think that this is what draws so many couples to get married on this beautiful island as there are so many different wedding venues to choose from. From rustic to very modern and elegant places. Mallorca has a wide range of possibilities.
When people think of famous contemporary violinists, the iconic Vanessa-Mae Nicholson and Nigel Kennedy often spring to mind. Who are your favourite high-profile violinists and why?
My favourite violinist was (and still is) Leonid Kogan, a Soviet violinist whose potential was immense. Why? Because his music goes straight to the heart. In general I am moved by violinists who can transmit their sensitivity with their instrument.
How does your wedding violin music compare to your other styles of music performed at completely different venues?
Wedding music is mostly romantic. It is the style where I feel very comfortable playing. Depending on the client’s request I often play during the ceremony, sometimes during the cocktail reception and at other times during the dinner.
The music during the ceremony is usually romantic, during the cocktail reception more cheerful and during the wedding party more “heavy'” which is when I often get a chance to play an electric violin alongside a DJ.
I’ve performed with several DJs and my repertoire is versatile, from classical to pop, from popular song to soundtrack etc…
The music during the ceremony depends on whether the wedding is religious or civil. If it is religious the songs are usually classical and more solemn. On the other hand, in a civil wedding there are usually fewer restrictions on the choice of repertoire.
Do you have a planned playlist or are you happy to accommodate a bridal couple’s song requests?
Yes, I have a playlist but am happy to play new requests. A musician who doesn’t learn stops growing musically and spiritually.
Do you prefer to play solo, or do you like to collaborate with other musicians and singers?
I don’t mind either option, to be honest. I’m quite happy performing solo, but I also enjoy the company and musical connection when I collaborate with other musicians.
Can you tell us about some of the most magical wedding venues you’ve performed at in Mallorca?
I have played at weddings for famous football stars, movie stars, etc. but the wedding that stands out above the rest was a couple who had a very simple, minimalist wedding. The ceremony took place on the beach and what I will never forget was the LOVE between those two people. There was so much tenderness reflected in their eyes. The groom was about 60 years old and the bride was 55…and it turned out to be a couple who had fallen in love 40 years ago and met again…it was MAGIC!
How is 2020 shaping up for you? Which up-coming musical events are you most excited about?
2020 will be a great year. I prepare for every wedding with a lot of enthusiasm and love, each event will hold its own magic and so I’m excited about all of them.