Luke Das, Thursday 30 August 2012
It is a Bank Holiday Monday and violist Emmanuella Reiter-Bootiman relaxes with a cappuccino in the cosy surrounds of the Olive Garden Café in Raynes Park.
As a professional classical musician she divides her time between the London Philharmonic Orchestra and her personal project Jigsaw Players.
Friends of T&L Jigsaw Players will launch their fifth season at 7.30pm on Saturday 15th September. As resident artists at Christ Church West Wimbledon they are pleased to have accrued such a loyal local following. ‘I moved to England in 2006. It was a very hot summer and my best friend and I were searching for a suitably cool venue to put on a recital. We approached a local church and we managed to get lots of people to attend at just a week’s notice. That is where I got the idea for Jigsaw Players,’ Emmanuella explains.
‘Our members play in many different arrangements, hence the name ‘Jigsaw Players’. The idea is that we all find a way to fit together to play our music. It started by inviting close friends to join in, they recruited their friends and it has grown into a big pool of people. Sometimes I get disappointed because I cannot fit all of them into a single season.’
Jigsaw Players offer an eclectic range of classical and romantic music at their concerts. Their fifth season will begin with Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major and Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor. As the Artistic Director Emmanuella explains the selection process to me, ‘I am a great supporter of contemporary music, however, we keep our repertoire as accessible as possible. I was nervous to include a piece by Schoenberg in our past season but lots of people came and enjoyed it.’
Jigsaw Juniors reach out to school children and their parents from across the borough via events and workshops. This initiative is already in its third season and Emmanuella has other exciting educational projects on the agenda. ‘A musician friend of mine had a horrific accident. She was in a coma and before she could stand and speak she was able to play the violin,’ she tells me. ‘So I decided to start a partnership with The Royal Hospital of Neuro-disability in Putney. This spring we plan on doing a joint concert and lecture with the senior research figures at the hospital. Their talk will highlight the importance of music during recovery from brain injuries.’
Emmanuella has had the privilege of an international upbringing and education. She was born in Israel, raised in France and completed her studies in the United States. ‘My entire family is musical. Both my parents are violinists. You could say that I was born into music,’ she tells me. ‘My younger brother is a musician too, but he is a jazz player, and my husband also plays the viola!’