JUSTINA (Lithuania)

Born and raised by classical musician parents Justina was destined to play the piano. Her mother brought her at a young age to a music school where a teacher asked Justina to follow her into a practice room without her mother.  She remembers little of what happened in the room but when she emerged the teacher proclaimed that she would be playing the violin. Her mother was shocked “I brought her to play the piano and now she will be playing the violin”? To confirm the teacher asked Justina in front of her mother. Justina says she was very shy, a bit afraid of the teacher and perhaps she did not even know what a violin was but she said Yes. “…and that was it. I started to play the violin.”  

As a child she had memories of “I always imagined myself standing on a stage and imagined myself in the future as a violinist”.  The dream has indeed come true many times over and she has performed on stages and in orchestras across the globe, won numerous prestigious awards and even had the time to get a Masters in music from the Famed Julliard School in New York.

It was the love for one Italian which brought her to Sweden and with her she brought another, made from pine wood. In the summer of 2018 Justina decided to adapt to the Malmö way of life and got a classic ladies bike complete with a woven basket upfront.  Whilst enjoying her new mode of transport she still stayed home to practice with her Italian early 18th Century master violin. It was during one of these long solitary practice sessions an idea came to her. Why not combine the two? 

Violinist on a bike was born with the vision of bringing classical music to everyone even in the most unexpected places to counteract the perception that it can only be performed in grand concert halls and theatres by men in tails and women in long dresses. To prove the opposite Justina donned jeans and sandals and set out to bring the music to the people to make it a more present, relevant and natural happening in everyday life. She took her hours of solitary practice public. 

“In the beginning I was just going around the city and stopping in some very random places but particularly nice or strange or unique.” The multi award winning violinist first parked her bike at an ice cream shop and played.  Some Vivaldi with that Chocolate swirl perhaps?  

Then on to a barber shop for Mozart with a shave. Libraries around town followed and as the weather played along Kungsparken and Kallis by the sea. Playing outdoors attracted the largest audience and she met “a lot of nice people and I was called for other events. So now it has become more (I would not call it serious it always was) but more organized.” 

“Live it is just there just now”

Not so though when she joined her husband on a business trip to Trollhättan and took the other Italian along. She went to a music school in town and asked if she could practice in one of their rooms. They welcomed here in and in return she asked if they wanted to hear her perform and so a spontaneous concert was organized the day after gathering an audience of pupils, parents and teachers. It is just this live connection between musician and audience that is the pinnacle to Justina, something not present with recorded music or through the internet. “Live it is just there just now” in the moment and it is only then you can feel it. We have since the first humans had some kind of music “we have to have it” and it gives “a relaxation of your mind”.

She really lights up talking about the live experience by great musicians not only classical artists but anyone, “who are there, living in the moment, living music with their entire body and soul”. We all respond not always understanding why “but for me that is the most inspiring thing about music. “

Surrounded by bicycle parts in the basement of STPLN she has found an unusual place and audience to play for. She pulls her master instrument out of the blue velvet padded case, rest it against her chin and tune it. As she put the bow to strings, her eyes close, heals lift off the ground and her long hair swings as she moves with the notes of Bach, Vivaldi and Paganini. Masterpieces against a back drop of recycled bike rims, it is indeed unusual.

For more on Justina visit Violinistonabike

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