Performance. It's an act beginning with an energetic audience eagerly awaiting the arrival of the star musicians. As performers cross over to their places on stage, footsteps echo through the hush of the auditorium. Everyone is in position and as the lead musician raises his instrument, he has time for one thought: "Is my fly up?"
While this question, stated with a laugh by violinist Jasper Wood, is a viable one. But it is not the first thought on Jasper's mind as he readies himself for that first tantalizing note in a string of vivid musical narratives. When Jasper gets on stage many things cross his mind. Is his violin tuned? Can his pianist see him? Is the audience responsive to his presence? While some of us have no clue how to determine any of these things, Jasper knows right away. "The key thing is do I feel comfortable?" says Jasper, who is a professional violinist and brilliant at it.
Jasper always waits until the mood is right before playing his first note. That way it is a sure thing his audience will be captivated by whatever musical journey he takes them on.
When asked what he's trying to convey to his audience, Jasper replies, "I just express how the music makes me feel." He allows the audience to interpret the music however they like.
Jasper started playing violin after Mozart's Violin Concerto no.5 caught his ear at the age of four. He was drawn especially by the third movement of the piece and a year later he got his own violin. As a child, though, the violin was only a casual hobby. He was interested in the instrument and worked hard at it, but did not develop a passion for it until he finished high school. But now with a musical career spanning over 25 years, he also teaches violin at the University of British Columbia as well as doing cross-country performances.
Jasper, who is going to be performing at the University of Calgary on Sept. 24 and 25, will play on a top-of-the-line Stradivari violin awarded to him just over a year ago by The Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. But that's not the only reason why Jasper is enthusiastic about his show in Calgary. Near the beginning of his career he not only played in the same Calgary venue as he will be this coming weekend, but with the same pianist, David Riley.