My Weekend: The line between work and pleasure can become very blurred with music!

Cork pianist Ellen Jansson is a graduate of CIT Cork School of Music and recipient of the Cork Orchestral Society Emerging Artist Award
My Weekend: The line between work and pleasure can become very blurred with music!
Ellen Jansson, who will be taking part in the Ortus Festival

Hailed as “a major talent” after her Carnegie Hall debut with Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, Cork pianist Ellen Jansson is a graduate of CIT Cork School of Music and recipient of the Cork Orchestral Society Emerging Artist Award. Ellen has appeared as soloist with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Esker Festival Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and CSM Symphony Orchestra. She has performed in many prominent Irish venues as well as abroad in Alexela Concert Hall (Tallinn, Estonia), and the Ukrainian Radio Concert Hall (Kiev).

Ellen Jansson, who will be taking part in the Ortus Festival.
Ellen Jansson, who will be taking part in the Ortus Festival.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I was born in Cork into a musical family. Both of my parents taught piano at CIT Cork School of Music and I began learning piano and cello there aged six. I went on to study piano at Chetham’s School of Music (UK) and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and currently study with Mary Beattie. I’m currently based in Berlin where I enjoy an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher.

I first performed with the Ortús Chamber Music Festival in 2018 and I’ve enjoyed working with the Ortús Outreach initiatives since then, aiming to introduce classical chamber music to primary school children. I’m looking forward to performing again this year with the wonderful Cellist Killian White.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

In Berlin, there are so many options it’s almost overwhelming but I often go to the opera or one of the many concerts halls there. There are also so many great restaurants here to try!

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

I usually try and get up early and make the most of the day. I do love to lie in the morning after a big concert though and if I don’t set an alarm I would probably sleep all day!

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

I think very few musicians are familiar with the traditional concept of a weekend! As I don’t have fixed working hours, and concerts, rehearsals and events can take place on any day of the week, my free days occur quite sporadically throughout the month. It’s very hard to completely switch off because the line between work and pleasure can become very blurred with music!

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

I return to Vienna every chance I get. I absolutely adore the city and have many wonderful friends there.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

I always love to visit the sea when I’m back in Ireland. I’ll often go for a walk along Garretstown beach or the cliffs in Ballycotton.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Many of my friends and family live far away from me so I have a lot of video calls throughout the week!

Ellen Jansson, has performed in many prominent Irish venues as well as abroad.
Ellen Jansson, has performed in many prominent Irish venues as well as abroad.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I read every chance I get and don’t go anywhere without a book! I also love hiking and have been enjoying exploring the many trails around Berlin and the surrounding areas.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

I enjoy entertaining but can’t say I have a signature dish. I have been exploring a lot of vegan recipes in the past few years and always like to try something new!

We have so many places to eat out in Cork — where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

For coffee and a snack I always go to Union Grind; great coffee and a lovely atmosphere. Market Lane is always reliable for a lovely lunch and my absolute favourite place for a great meal has to be Café Paradiso.

Sunday night comes around too fast... how do you normally spend it?

I’ll often need to practice and prepare for the coming week but my flatmate and I usually take the time to cook together also and relax!

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

Usually at about 7.30am or 8am but it really depends what I have to do that day and whether I was working the night before! My schedule is never consistent!

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

An avid chamber musician, Ellen performs regularly with violinist Patrick Rafter, as well as in festivals including the Ortús Chamber Music Festival, Killaloe Chamber Music Festival and the ‘Finding a Voice’ Festival in Clonmel. This year’s Ortús Chamber Music Festival takes place from February 28 to March 1 in various venues around Cork city and county and Ellen will be appearing alongside Killian White on cello at Tracton Arts & Community Centre on Saturday, February 29. Full details on www.ortus.ie

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