Passion and Vulnerability
What inspired you to become a violinist?
I knew I wanted to be a musician at a very early age, and had already started singing and performing in front of my kindergarten friends when I was only 2 years old. Music came very natural to me, and as my mom was also a violinist, I remember seeing her and thinking how beautiful it was, and that I wanted to play too… but she decided I should have a calm and carefree childhood, so we waited until I was 6 years old to begin lessons, when I went to the George Enescu Music School in Bucharest.
You also create your own arrangements and compositions—where do you draw your inspiration/ideas from?
I’ve been making my own arrangements for about 6 years now, and am inspired by everything I hear and like—it could be something from a soundtrack, a popular song, or a classical piece... I like making the works my own by giving them a very personal touch, or even mixing different styles together in order to create something new.
How did you come to form ‘Panfili & Friends’, and what is your artistic vision for this group?
My vision was to create a group of musicians who have the ability and mindset to create something unique and out of the box. All the band members are my friends, and come from either a strictly classical training or a jazz/folk background. I’ve been making music with them individually for many years through different projects, so I knew they would all get along and enjoy working together. Having this personal connection among musicians is something that’s very important for me when making music.
You’ve performed in a wide variety of settings, from large arenas to intimate chamber salons… how do you find the experience differs within these environments?
I feel there’s something very special about playing chamber music in a beautiful old Baroque Salon, where you’re so close to your audience that you can almost hear them breathing… playing in a sold out arena with 20,000 people on the other hand is very different—it’s actually quite an empowering and impressive feeling to look out into the audience, and receive their powerful applause! Both environments suit my personality, and I enjoy every performance I give to the fullest!
You also design the clothing for your performances—what role do you see fashion playing in the context of performance?
I try to match my outfits to my personality, as well as the style of music I’m playing. It empowers me to wear something I feel comfortable in that I’ve also created; I find the design process to be a lot of fun, and see it as another way for me to express myself.
What is it like being a musician living in Vienna today?
I came to Vienna 20 years ago, and I stayed because it’s a fantastic city. It’s full of aspiring as well as accomplished artists, and also many appreciative art lovers. I believe it’s one of the best cities for young musicians to build up their musical education, and also connect with other great artists. It can be very inspiring and empowering to be in a cultured society where art is appreciated by so many people, and in Vienna this is certainly the case.
What does music mean to you on a personal level, and what do you wish to contribute through your art?
My instrument is my second voice. When I make music I do it without fear, and try to connect with the audience on a high spiritual level… in order to achieve this, I expose my deepest feelings and emotions; I’ve seen the power that music can have, and it motivates me every day. Music has the power to heal wounds one cannot see, to save memories and bring them back in a second, to draw people together, and make strong statements about life and the world we live in. I will try my whole life to be a force for good through music, whether by collaborating with charities to help those in need, or simply sharing something beautiful to bring more peace or joy into someone’s day.