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Katrina Grieve
Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra

Katrina Grieve

Violin

Katrina Grieve

How many years have you played with EPO?

12 years

What is your experience as a musician?

I was raised in a very musical family. I learned violin through the Suzuki method at a time when the method was just beginning to grow in southern Ontario. I later took up the piano and played both instruments equally well by the time I graduated from high school, completing Grade 10 RCM exams on both instruments. During high school I also trained as a Suzuki violin and piano teacher. I chose to do my BA at Oberlin College in Ohio, so that I could continue my musical training at the same time as completing a general arts degree. Although my primary career is not in music, I continue to teach violin at the Miles Nadal JCC, and have enjoyed playing in a number of community orchestras over the years.

What do you do outside of the orchestra?

I’m an education specialist at Unity Health Toronto. I work with teams to improve the quality of patient education across the hospital, so that it's easier for patients and families to access and understand health information and make informed health decisions.

What do you think is special about the violin?

I love the warmth and resonance of the violin. You hold it under your ear and over your heart, making it a natural channel for your emotions. I am fortunate to own a fine instrument that was crafted over 200 years ago. Playing this violin connects you to the past, inspiring reverence for the luthier and his craft, and linking you to all those who have played this fine instrument over the generations. Because the violin's tone can change and develop over time, maybe the personality of each player lives on in some way in each violin.

How do you feel the violin is best used in the orchestra?

The violin can be very sweet and lyrical, complementing the sound of the flute and oboe. The violin can also be very effective to build tension in a piece of music. I think it nicely balances the depth of the lower strings and the power of the brass. Every instrument in the orchestra has an important role to play, but violin just happens to be my favourite!

You were a featured soloist in our November 2021 concert, in a movement of JS Bach's Double Concerto for Two Violins, with EPO colleague Ionel Stoika. What is your favourite thing about this piece?

I love the interplay between the 2 parts. One leads while the other supports, then you switch roles, then at times, both parts are equally important. The harmonic progressions are always so interesting with Bach - sometimes totally unexpected and at the same time thrilling to the mind and ear. I can't quite explain it but there are a few places in the music that are just so striking to me, every time I play them. Sometimes they send shivers down my spine. I have played and listened to this piece so many times over the years as a student and as a teacher, then later as a parent, helping my two boys to learn and master it. It always brings me energy and joy. I was so glad to have the opportunity to perform it with Ionel Stoika and the EPO.

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