Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2018

Vera Panitch

I love to be part of an orchestra with the possibility of playing solo

As a child, Vera both played the violin and the piano. Her level of playing the piano was higher than the violin, but when she had to choose, she chose the violin. There were several musicians in her family, and they all backed Vera’s music career. Vera’s grandmother’s sister played the violin with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and her husband played with the Royal Danish Orchestra. Her grandmother was a piano teacher and a great support in her everyday life.

At lot of my inspiration comes from my family and the people I play music with. I have had the honour to play with a lot of very talented people, which I appreciate very much, Vera says.

Vera has found a paradise in Iceland. She lives in Reykjavik with her boyfriend, who also plays the violin with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. At the moment, Vera is employed for a trial period for the position as 2nd concertmaster, and she hopes that the position will be permanent.

It is the perfect position for me - it was want I always wanted. I would like to be part of an orchestra and at the same time be able to play solo. I was never attracted to life as a soloist, Vera Panitch says. As a soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, she is often the centre of attention but, at the same time, she is part of a team, which is perfect for her. I get to live out my dream and I am very grateful for that.

There are many advantages by playing with a symphony orchestra in Iceland. The orchestra has a full ensemble with around 100 people, and maintaining the orchestra is a high priority in Iceland. The orchestra attracts a full audience at the impressive culture hall Harpa in Reykjavik and is part of a very rich musical life in Iceland. Vera’s job gives her a lot of freedom and a rich musical life with numerous possibilities of performing at concerts. There is also a good chance of inspiration from abroad. When famous soloists come to Reykjavik, you can get closer to them than e.g. in Copenhagen.

Great names visit us here, and they are always ready to go out with us after the concert. I enjoy that very much, says Vera.

For the time being, Vera is the only Dane in the orchestra, actually the only Scandinavian, but most of her musical friends from Copenhagen have been inspired to apply for positions in Iceland, so perhaps horns, kettledrums and oboes will soon join from Copenhagen.

Vera Panitch, violin, in brief

Vera was born in Copenhagen in 1993.

Vera comes from a Russian family and therefore started playing the violin according to the Russian school of Arkadi Zelianodjevo. In 2005, she moved with her mother to Seattle where she continued playing under Yuriy Mikhlin. Vera was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music at age 15 under Alexandre Zapolski, and debuted from the soloist class in September 2017. In 2016, she won a position as 2nd violin with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and is living in Iceland today. In 2017, she once again attended a competition at ISO, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and won the position as 2nd concertmaster.

How Vera will use the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

The scholarship will be used for study trips to Germany and Spain where Vera will receive training and inspiration from the concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmonic, Noah Bendix Balgley, and the soloist, Joaquín Palomare, and participate in the international seminar L’alfaz del Pi in Spain.