When Edvin Marton was five years old, he had a problem: he was in love with a fellow kindergartner and she didn’t know he was alive. He asked his mother what he should do. “Serenade her,” she said, and Edvin took his little violin and did just that. He was rewarded with a kiss, and, like all good kisses do, it transformed him into a prince, in his case, as he is now known, The Prince of the Violin. Edvin began a life of making music that brings people joy, from five-year-old girls in Budapest to worldwide audiences in five continents.
Edvin Marton is a composer and performer, a romantic virtuoso in the classical crossover genre. He has played such iconic venues as the Berlin Philharmonic Hall and the Shanghai International Festival, and even become a YouTube sensation, performing everything from his own pieces to redefined movie classics and pop classics by Michael Jackson and Coldplay. He has sold 5,000,000 albums, won an Emmy Award, an International Music Composition Gold Medal, an MTV Europe Music Award and the Eurovision song contest. He is breathtaking to watch as he becomes one with his instrument, which is, of late, an incredible 1699 Stradivarius violin valued at $7,000,000. It is a precious instrument, unique in its finish and painfully rare in its playable condition, and its like are usually confined to museums. This violin is lent for ten short years to be played only by a master, which is exactly what Edvin Marton worked his whole life to become.
Edvin grew up in a small village in Hungary, the son of teachers at a music school who understood that the only way out of poverty was via sport or music. “Always, I wanted to play soccer,” he says, “But my father did not allow this because violin was what he understood. This is what he could help me with.” Edvin started to play when he was five, required by his demanding father to practice for two hours before he was even given his breakfast. As you can imagine, he did not like it. “I wanted to play outside, with the other kids,” he says. A self-described “bad boy” as a child, he tried to sit on his violin to break it to avoid practicing, and recorded himself practicing on a cassette recorder, playing it behind closed doors to trick his father so that he could sneak outside for soccer. He was only allowed to choose whether or not to practice on his birthday. “I looked forward to my birthday very much,” he says. Now, he understands why his parents pushed him as hard as they did. “I don’t think you understand at that age what is beneficial for you later. It wasn’t until I was ten or eleven years old that I realized that playing violin is was what I wanted to do. When I started to play with an orchestra and the people came to the concert, even kids my age, I saw that I gave them something different. I gave them emotions. I gave them joy. And I realized it was wonderful to give joy to the people. I always fought with my father, but he was right. He knew there was something in me.” Once Edvin realized the violin was his passion, he practiced so much that he learned seven years worth of his violin program in just three years. “My childhood was so, so tough,” he says, “But I wanted to be the best violinist in the world. So I practiced and practiced—five or six hours a day—to make people happy. Because that is my destiny. I like to make people happy.”
One of the highlights of Edvin’s career was his 2006 Olympic performance in Torino, witnessed by an audience of over 300 million people. He played center-ice for his friend, Gold Medal winning ice skater Evengi Plushenko. “It was unique at that time for a musician and a sportsman to perform together,” he says. “It was the first time.” The performance was not without its challenges. Right as he was due to play, Edvin was missing a key component—his instrument. “The violin was to be brought to me by a police escort, but at the same time there was a hockey match, and the police got confused and took the violin to the hockey game.” Desperate to keep the event organizers from canceling, Edvin had to play it cool. “Fifteen minutes before, they were still setting up the microphones and such and I had to say I was fine, that everything was okay, and I couldn’t tell anyone I did not have the violin.” Fortunately, for Edvin and the worldwide listening audience, his violin appeared and he was able to play the performance of his life.
On December 6th, Edvin Marton will play for the first time in the Los Angeles area, where he now lives. He will play what he describes as a classical/rock fusion show, complete with an all girl backing band, a custom light show, and a “beautiful ballerina” to make the music come alive through dance. It is important to him to play current compositions in addition to the classical pieces that the violin has often been relegated to. Edvin considers the violin a modern instrument that should be played alongside keyboards and electric guitars. “By combining and blending the styles, I am giving life to the violin,” he says. “It is not just to be kept in museums so we can look at it. It has a place in the modern sound. In this way, violin can be alive for longer.” He believes that the great composers would do the same. “Do you know why Vivaldi did not compose music for the piano? Because, at the time, the piano wasn’t there. If Mozart lived now, he would use the instruments of the 17th and 18th century alongside the instruments of the modern world. And that is how you play the violin for the people of the digital age.”
Edvin Marton’s internationally acclaimed “Prince of the Violin” tour makes its Los Angeles debut on Saturday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m. at the Plaza del Sol Concert Hall, Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketsr.com , www.ticketmaster.com or call (818) 677-3000. To learn more about Edvin, visit www.edvinmarton.com
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