Raum, Erika

 Raum, Erika. Violinist, teacher, b Halifax, NS, 13 May 1972; B MUS (Toronto) 1993. The daughter of composer Elizabeth Raum and trombonist Richard Raum, Erika Raum began studying piano at the age of two; at three her family moved to Regina, and she began studying violin. Her formative musical influences in childhood were her parents - she studied theory, composition and oboe with her mother - and her early violin teachers, Elman Lowe and Howard Leyton-Brown. She made her concerto debut at the age of 10, performing Haydn with the University of Regina Chamber Orchestra. She began playing professionally, with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, at 12. In summer 1984, Raum attended the Banff Centre's program for gifted youth. Raum studied with Valery Kilmov at the Wienermeisterkurse in Vienna during the summers of 1985, 1988 and 1989. In 1989 Raum enrolled in the University of Toronto, studying violin with Lorand Fenyves, who became her most important musical mentor, along with her mother and the pianist Marek Jablonski, whom Raum met in 1992. Upon graduation, the university awarded Raum its Eaton Scholarship.

Performances

Early Performance Successes
In 1992, Erika Raum came to international attention when she took first prize, as well as the prize for best interpretation of a Mozart concerto, at the Josef Szigeti International Violin Competition in Budapest. That triumph led to extensive touring in Europe, and debuts with the Budapest Radio Orchestra, the Szombathely Symphony Orchestra, the Austro-Hungarian Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Hungarian National Philharmonic.

Festivals
Raum is a frequent performer at the Casals Festival in France; other international festival appearances include the Budapest Spring Festival, the Szombathely Festival (Hungary), the Caramoor and Prussia Cove Festivals; the Beethoven Festival (Poland), the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Festival de l'Abbaye de l'Épau (France), and the Alpinglow Festival (Colorado).

Canadian Appearances
Raum performs regularly across Canada, with orchestras and in recital. Her recital partners have included the pianists Anton Kuerti, Lydia Wong, Andrew Burashko, Walter Delahunt, Francine Kay, David Moroz, Peter Longworth, Jon Kimura Parker and Jamie Parker.

Artistic Assessment

Erika Raum stands in the first ranks of Canadian violinists. Her playing presents a dynamic balance of communicative power and analytical rigour. Her warm yet unforced sound, her refinement and range of tone colours, stand in contrast to the heavy, undifferentiated sound associated with violinists of her generation trained in the principal US music schools. Although she possesses a virtuosic technique, Raum gravitates to serious repertoire; she has turned down orchestral engagements that involve only showpieces.

Raum's repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary works, but she feels a particular affinity for composers of central and eastern Europe: Janacek, Enesco, Dvorak, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, and above all, Bartok, whose works she performs with exceptional idiomatic fluidity and clarity. She gave the North American premiere of Penderecki's Violin Sonata No. 2 (with Lydia Wong).

On stage Raum is charismatic without being showy. She is highly effective in contemporary pieces that call for mobility and acting from the instrumentalists - e.g., Omar Daniel's The Flaying of Marsyas (2001), and Queen of Puddings' 1996 production, Mad for All Reasons. Raum's collaborations with dancers have included performances of Bartok's Sonata for solo violin (choreography by Brian Macdonald); she has accompanied Evelyn Hart.

Composing and Teaching

Erika Raum has composed music since childhood. Although she writes mostly for her own instrument, her score for Tobi Lampard's experimental film Remember In-between the Forget (1996) won Best Musical Score at the Saskatchewan Film and Video Showcase.

Raum has taught annually at the Banff Centre's summer programs since 1997; in 1998 she joined the Glenn Gould Professional School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 1999 she became an instructor at the University of Toronto. Her violin students have included Amanda Goodburn and Csaba Koczo of the Tokai String Quartet.