The Global Perspective



Few musicians manage to balance teaching and performing as well as Greek-born violinist Areta Zhulla. A recipient of the Triandi Career Grant as well as the Tassos Prassopoulos Foundation Award, a passionate chamber musician with an equally full solo recital diary, she is also a passionate educator, coaching regularly around America and further abroad, and teaching as guest faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

This season sees Areta playing with pianists Chih Yi Chen, Michael Bukhman, and Taisiya Pushkar: does she have one pianist with whom she plays the most?

‘I actually have several different pianists that I enjoy working with, so I don’t have just one pianist I exclusively play with. I like it this way though; it keeps things musically interesting!’

Areta Zhulla and Taisiya Pushkar – Elgar Salut d’Amour

Areta has received high praise for her playing from The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and she believes inspiring the next generation is an important part of her work. She still retains strong links with the Perlman Music Program based in the beautiful Shelter Island, New York, where Areta herself studied for seven summers when she was still at school.

‘Honestly, going back to The Perlman Music Program every summer was what I looked forward to all year round in high-school. This program is kind of a paradise for young musicians.

‘It’s a place where individuality and positive feedback are highly encouraged, and you are free to be yourself. A place where you’re making music with your best friends for 6 weeks, and where the faculty is simply the best of the best.’

It’s clear to see that this ethos Areta encountered at an early age informs her teaching work, where the approach is all about flexibility.

‘As a teacher, I personally like to find what excites each student in what they do, and I try to use that to guide them towards finding their own voice,’ she explains.

‘Every student has different needs, and different approaches to what they do, and I try to recognise that as a teacher. I think it is very important to work positively, and also to know when not to say something.’

Chausson’s ‘Poeme’
Areta Zhulla, with conductor Michel Plasson and the Athens State Symphony Orchestra
Rehearsal at the Megaron Hall in Athens

Despite being based in the USA, Areta still has a vibrant relationship with her homeland of Greece. She has performed previously with the Camerata Orchestra of Greece, and is returning to Greece this season to give a number of public masterclasses. She was recently named Young Artist of the Year by the National Critics Association of Music and Drama in Greece, testament to her achievements to date.

‘This was an award in recognition of a great performing season in Greece, which meant a lot to me. It is always very special for me to make music back home, and to be recognised for that is a huge honour.’

Travelling regularly between Greece and America is no mean feat, and Areta also regularly voyages around the USA and Canada. Travel is inevitable for musicians – how does she cope with the moving around?

‘I don’t enjoy sleeping in hotel rooms, or the actual travelling part, and I miss my husband when I am on the road. I love performing though, so we are willing to put up with it all!

‘I do enjoy certain parts of the lifestyle, like getting to spend time and work with some fantastic musicians, and I love finding great food in every city I visit!’

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