Thanks to Fiona for answering these questions:
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
I would like to hole up at home in my little music room and really do some tough practice. I really enjoy the idea of pushing myself to play the violin in different ways and discover new sounds. I have also written some rather tricky tunes that are going to take a bit of hard practice to make them sound easy! Apart from this I will be doing more concerts around NZ and looking at performing at some Aussie festivals.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Don't be scared to try new things. I was really nervous about anyone hearing my own compositions in the early days but you just have to trust your own musical instinct and go for it!
Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands, and why?
There are so many! I do love Split Enz and also Lorena Harding who is an amazing folk style singer/guitarist/songwriter. What never ceases to amaze me are the artists that you never hear about but are playing in local bars and are just so talented. NZ is full of original interesting artists.
What will your next release be?
Not 100% sure but I have a few ideas in the pipeline. I am thinking about going down the string quartet, solo violin, piano and percussion track... All just ideas at the moment. I would also like to put out a 1930's swing style CD in memory of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reindhart.
How do you come up with your melodies?
I get very influenced by travelling and meeting people. As I have not been travelling so much over the last few years I have found that I write a lot more about home. Moody evenings by the sea, watching my puppy dog grow up, listening to a big storm at night while I am lying in our old cottage that has a bit of a tin roof! I never know quite what will inspire a new tune but these are some of the things that I have written about lately.
Who would you most like to support live?
This is a tough one! Not another violinist! I did support for Tony Bennett which was amazing so let's stick with someone like that. On the other hand I travelled with Heather Nova doing support for her which was totally different and just loved that also... Sorry, don't know!
How do you believe you fit into the NZ music industry?
I am a bit on the outside as the violin tends to be a lot less mainstream. I hope that what I play suits many different listeners. I try to play and write something for everyone. Young or old! When you think about how many young people learn the violin only to give it up because they get bored with doing just the same music over and over again I hope to try and change that. I got very bored about the age of 13 and started to jam along with old records, (everything from Jazz to UK punk bands). This is what started me mixing together many styles of music and making the violin interesting for myself. I hope that other people can start doing this more with the violin as it is an amazing instrument with a wide range of things it can do. I always think of it like a voice without the words. You can be left as a listener to make up your own stories to the compositions.
What can you never leave home without?
I am so unromantic! After the earthquakes - My phone!
How do you describe your music?
This is a tricky one! I can't do it in one work.. It has many influences. Classical, jazz, latin, Gypsy, folk, Irish...
What is your favourite NZ venue?
Sadly a lot of musicians like myself who are based in CHCH have had to say goodbye to the beautiful old Harbour Light in Lyttelton. That was my favourite venue for many many years. There are heaps of awesome places are NZ. I am just on a NZ tour with AOTNZ at the moment and a few nights ago we played at Donavon's Store in Okarito. 36 people live there and 40 turned up to the show. It was awesome.
I guess on a larger scale I just love the old Wellington Town Hall, Royal Wanganui Opera House and the Dunedin Town Hall. I do rate our beautiful Theatre Royal in CHCH as a top venue. She will be up and running again in time so that is a good bit of news for us in CHCH.
What is the best part of being a musician?
Getting to do what I love everyday! (Don't always love the scale practice but do love the result!)
What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
I guess that being an instrumentalist I would love to see more solo instruments about. I love the wide range of vocalists we have in NZ but there are so many great instrumentalists that don't really get the credit they deserve. It is just the way the industry works but maybe one day it will become easier for solo instruments to get out in the public eye more.
Strange collection! Some of my fav's are Over the Rhine, Roby Lakatos, Pictures at an exhibition.
What is your favourite place in NZ to be?
Home in Lyttelton with my hubby and doggy.
What inspired you to become a musician?
My Mother and her love of music. I knew from the age of 5 this is all I wanted to do.
What is the best gig you have ever performed at, and why?
To be honest there is not one that really stands out as I love 99% of the shows I do. A couple that were out of the ordinary for me were playing at Ronnie Scott's in London a few years ago and also performing at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. Just an amazing reception from the crowd that I will never forget.
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
These days it is so easy.. Twitter, website, Facebook fan page.
Violinist and composer Fiona Pears started performing as a soloist with orchestras at the age of twelve. Now based in both London and New Zealand, she has forged a career as an international soloist and recording artist.
Fiona started the violin at the age of five after hearing a performance by Carl Pini where she fell in love with the sound of the instrument. In an interview with the Otago Daily Times she said, “Apparently I stamped my feet and cried ‘I want a violin’, and I got one in my Santa stocking that year!”
Her first public performance was at the age of six where she won first prize in a local competition.