Award-winning violinist Tasmin Little, OBE, talks about her distinguished career and preparing to step away from the limelight ahead of her appearance at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds
Having begun playing music at the tender age of six courtesy of a recorder her mother had given her, London-born classical violinist Tasmin Little has never looked back.
In her mid-teens, she was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year and, just four years later, claimed a prestigious Gold Medal at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama annual music competition.
It was a pre-cursor for what was to come.
“I’ve certainly had a tremendously exciting and really rewarding career,” explained Tasmin.
“It’s been a professional career that has lasted more than three decades, which has been both relentless and exciting but also very exhausting and which hasn’t really left time for the family.
“There’s been so much that I’ve been able to do and so, so many people that I’ve been able to work with that I feel quite content with what I’ve been able to achieve.
“From picking up the recorder at aged six, and the violin at seven, declaring that’s what I wanted to do, it’s been amazing.”
A first outing came at the BBC Proms back in 1991 since which Tasmin has performed with the likes of the Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Orchestras, to name but a few, as well as releasing some 20-plus albums.
Then, in 2012, recognising her contribution to music, Her Majesty The Queen (in her Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours) made Tasmin an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an understandable highlight for the then 46-year-old musician.
“My mantelpiece certainly looks quite glittery with the honours I’ve received,” smiled Tasmin.
“HM The Queen bestowed the honour, although I had previously performed for her, twice in fact, at the Horse Guards Parade and with the Liverpool Philharmonic.
“This occasion though, it was really special and a great honour to be able to go to Buckingham Palace.”
The honour is not the only highlight of her career, far from it in fact.
A three-track recording, entitled The Naked Violin in 2008, proved hugely successful with the aim of ‘making classical music more accessible’. (It is available as a free download from tasminlittle.org.uk.)
That, accompanied with other releases and shows, gives Tasmin lots of memories to look back on as she embarks on her final year in the professional circle.
“The Naked Violin, that project was massively successful and I feel incredibly proud to have achieved what I did with it, and I met so many wonderful people along the way as well.
“Yes, performing for and meeting HM The Queen was a highlight, but I also performed Last Night of the Proms in front of over 40,000 people, which was incredible, then there was the Berlin Philharmonic tour, and what we did with Simon Rattle was something really special.
“I’ve also played on every habitable continent across the globe and for so many people.”
On returning to The Apex one last time in what is a run of farewell shows for the classical violinist, Tasmin said: “I’m thrilled we were able to reschedule the show and the staff at The Apex have been fantastic.
“It’s such a beautiful venue and place as a whole, so I’m delighted to be able to include it on my final schedule.”
Tasmin Little appears with Martin Roscoe at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds on Sunday, April 5. Call 01284 758000 or visit theapex.co.uk
More by this authorPeter Mann