Izabela Wiktoria Oliwia Torfs
Izabela Wiktoria Oliwia Torfs was born in 12 December 2012 in Antwerp, Belgium. She is bilingual as her mother is Polish and her father Belgian. She also speaks English. She started learning violin from Serdar Erkmenis in May 2019 (Vioolschool Leidschenveen), and in July 6 2019 she had her very first public concert (Student concert of Vioolschool Leidschenveen), where she enjoyed the the attention of the public. In 2022 Anna Morozova also became Izabela’s violin tutor. In September 2019, Izabela added piano to her curriculum by joining the Pianoschool Haagse Lande, under tutorship of Hulya Keser.In September 2022 she joined the first violins at the Youth Viotta ensemble.Izabela likes a broad spectrum of artists, such as, H. Wieniawski, W. A. Mozart, A. Vivaldi, Bach family, T.A. Vitali, F. Chopin, O. Rieding, J.H. Fiocco, R. Schumann, but also A. Walker, and Y. Tiersen. She enjoys both classical pieces as well as pop music. At times, she composes some small pieces for violin or piano (with or without song lyrics). In 2022 she has given violin and piano concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna, Royal Albert Hall in London, Mozarteum Salzburg, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Amphithéâtre Cité de la Musique-Philharmonie de Paris; she has also been invited to perform at the Carnegie Hall in NYC, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, BP Hall in Los Angeles, and the Studio Recital Hall at Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) of Brussels.In her spare time, Izabela enjoys rollerblades, reading books, comics, construction things with Lego, and horse riding. She is an animal and nature lover. Izabela also loves to write book stories for children about animals.
What inspired you to start playing music, and how did you get started?
“Well, once, at school, we listened to a violin piece. That was the first time I heard a violin, and I loved its sound from the first moment. A few weeks later, I thought about the sound of the violin, and I decided that I would like to start learning playing the violin. So I went to my parents, (It was weekend) and I said that I would like to start learning the violin. They asked if I wouldn’t want to learn drums, (I was then VERY loud) but I said that I want to learn the violin. With piano, I started, because my Dad started. He started, and bought an electric piano, and I liked the different sounds, and rhythms of the piano (my Dad started to play “Fur Elise”). So then I started to play on the piano too. After a few weeks learning, I was already better than my Dad.”
Can you describe your practice routine and how it has helped you develop as a musician?
“Well, I always wake up at 08:00 AM. Then I eat breakfast, and I go to school. Then I eat a snack, and I start learning violin. Often I have violin lessons, but I also learn always alone. First I do my exercises. Then I begin my concerto’s, sonatina’s, sonata’s, and pieces. Then, after my violin lessons, I have a rest, and then I do my piano. With piano I do the most pop pieces. But I also have concerto’s, sonatina’s, sonata’s and classic pieces. I first do my exercises, and then I start to learn my pieces.”
How did you choose the piece you performed for the competition, and what do you think sets it apart from other pieces you've played?
“Well, on the moment I heard that now is that competition, I learned ‘Mozart in G Major’. So I thought: “Well, I’m learning ‘Mozart in G Major’, and It’s a great piece, so why couldn’t I send that piece to the competition?”. With my piano, It was a little bit different. I just started ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, and then I heard about that competition, so I thought: “Why couldn’t I send ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ to that competition? It’s a tough piece, and it’s mysterious”.”
How did you feel when you found out you were a winner of the London Young Musician of the Year?
“I could jump to the moon, of joy. I sent a lot of pieces, but I didn’t really expect that I would be a winner of the London Young Musician of the Year. I’m really glad that I’m a winner. I really would like to be a bit famous. And I feel already a bit famous by being the winner of the London Young Musician of the year.”
What advice would you give to other young musicians who aspire to achieve success in music competitions?
“I’d say, sometimes you maybe would think: “I don’t feel like playing the violin at this moment”. But, the best to think about in that situation, is to think about your own motivation. It’s good to have something, what is making you motivated, because, when you don’t want to practice your violin, then you can think about that. Sometimes, when I have a really full day, I think that I don’t want to do my violin, but then, I try to concentrate on the fact, that, I will be able to play ‘Vivaldi The Four Seasons’. So, the best to have a thing, that really motivates you to go practicing. And, when something hurts, like your wrist, finger, arm, or something with your hand, stop then at once. Doesn’t matter what your playing, or where your playing, just stop when something begins to hurt.”
What's the most challenging piece of music you've ever learned, and how did you approach it?
“The most challenging piece I learned, is ‘Wieniawski Scherzo Tarentelle’. Well, I’m now learning it. It’s really a difficult piece, and I need to spend at it 1,5 hour's. But it doesn’t matter for me how long I practice ‘Wieniawski Scherzo Tarentelle’, because, I love to practice ‘Wieniawski’. And, what’s also a reason that I love Scherzo Tarentelle, it’s my first piece of ‘Wieniawski’.”
What does music mean to you now?
“Music is my life. I can’t live without it. I’m attached to music. I stepped into the world of music, but I can’t get out. When I only set one step, into the world of music, my parents couldn’t get me out of the world of music. I love music. And I’ll stay in the world of music, to my last second of my life.”
How did you prepare for Musician of the Year? Did you record the whole performance many times?
“I recorded ‘Mozart in G Major’, the piece I prepared for Musician of the Year, two times. I’ve spent a lot of time to practice the piece for Musician of the Year, but, I’ve reached my goal, so I’m very happy, that I’ve spent so much time to practice my piece for Musician of the Year. I also played on the piano ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. It took me a lot time to practice ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. But, just like with ‘Mozart in G Major’, I’ve reached my goal, and I’m really happy that I’ve reached my goal.”
During your recording for this annual competition, is there any interesting story you would like to share with us?
“Well, on the ‘first of April’, then, I and my pianist, (Gulmira Issabekova), we went after the recordings to a restaurant. It was already late, but from Mum and Dad I could go for once to a restaurant with Gulmira. It was really a very fun evening. First I was recording my second favorite piece (Wieniawski is my first favorite piece), and my favorite piece of piano, and then go with Gulmira, Mum and Dad to a restaurant. But the most fun was the recording. I was really tired after the recordings, but, it was really fun.”
Anything else you would like to share with our music community?
“Well, I would like to share with your music community, one, special thing: My cat Zulu. It was really fun to get ready to the competition, while he was snoring behind me. He’s a really good friend: He’s a black, yellow eyed cat, is VERY stubborn, he sleeps nearly the whole day, and he doesn’t give bad luck. I also have a cat Joli, but I nearly never can touch her, or get close to her, because, in one meter distance, she’s already gone. I can only touch her, when she sits on her ‘throne’. But Zulu, when I sit on the couch a few seconds, there on my legs, there lays already a black ball.”