The Musical #InstrumentBank’s transformative impact – Video
The Musical Instrument Bank (MIB) was established in 1985 thanks to generous donors. More than 20 stringed instruments created by such master craftsmen as Stradivari, Gagliano and Pressenda have been donated or lent to the MIB.
Through a triennial competition, the Canada Council for the Arts enables established soloists and chamber musicians, as well as musicians on the threshold of an international career, to access these high-quality stringed instruments, give concerts around the world and record pieces with them during the length of the loan. The MIB’s loan program contributes to the career advancement of musicians and offers various high-profile opportunities for partnership and public engagement.
In this video, former MIB recipients Noémie Raymond-Friset and Timothy Chooi, as well as Ric W. Heinl, luthier for the MIB, reflect on the ways in which gaining access to such exceptional instruments can have a transformative impact on emerging musicians from Canada.
Former Musical Instrument Bank recipient
Former Musical Instrument Bank recipient
Ric W. Heinl
President of Geo. Heinl & Co. Limited
Luthier for the Musical Instrument Bank
November 7th, 2022
The access of winning an instrument from the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank really aﬀected my entire national presence in Canada. Because this is a national event that happens every three years. It’s a big deal—because it’s not every 18-year-old or 20-year-old using a 300-year-old instrument for their concerts, and really allowed me to enter a diﬀerent profile as an artist. I got to meet great artists from all around the world. The Instrument Bank alumni are very strong as well. It has been a long history of wonderful violinists and cellists who have benefitted from this. And now, it’s over 10 years later, and I’m still at it. I’m still discovering diﬀerent violins. I’m still performing and continuing to discover deeper into music and into violins.
Ric (PART 1)
My relationship—that was a bonus, actually, over the years. I like to say that a lot of these young artists, when we interact and connect, I seem to get the nickname ‘Uncle Ric’ out there. Their talent is immense! Some of the Canadian talent is just... It sits you right down and makes you give your head a shake. But these artists have great personalities and when you start to interact with them through the common cause—which is the musical instrument—your commonalities just open up. You start feeding oﬀ of them and shooting back at them and then they shoot back at you. And the next thing you know, you’re bonding over a piece of wood.
My name is Noémie Raymond-Friset. I play the cello. When I won an instrument from the Instrument Bank, I played on this beautiful cello called The Shark, by Guillami. It’s a very friendly relationship; it’s always a pleasure to come back here. Every year, we had to have our instrument inspected, and we would take time to chat. Ric would tell me all about these great instruments: where they came from… the entire history behind them. It really is a beautiful relationship. As a musician, you don’t always realize it, but you don’t really know that much about how an instrument works. So, to have someone like that, who takes the time to explain it to you… It’s very special. It’s always a pleasure to come back here.
Ric (PART 2)
This is just one spoke in the artistic wheel. I know there are many spokes and there may even be more important spokes in the wheel, but this is it. This is what makes us human. If you look at a violin, sometimes people say to me, “Mr. Heinl, why is the scroll round like that?” Well, there is a very good reason for it. It’s to pay homage to the universe. Have you ever seen galaxies in outer space and they’re spinning like that? They’re perfect… their snails are perfect. It’s nature; it’s nature at work. It’s a natural force and we pay homage to it. The body of the instrument is all just a series of mathematical arcs, creative arcs and curves and numbers. It’s math; it’s nature’s math. How could you not fall in love with it?