Coronavirus: Canadian violinists unite in isolation to perform virtual tribute

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Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian violinists unite in isolation to perform virtual tribute
WATCH: A teenager who attends the Montreal Conservatory of Music gathered 40 musicians, mostly violinists, from across the country to play Bach as a show of unity and a tribute to those who have died of COVID-19. Global's Olivia O'Malley spoke to some of the musicians on Thursday – May 21, 2020

Young Canadian violinists have combined their musical talents by creating a video to unite Canadians across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organized by Sébastien Tsai of Montreal, the video showcases the talents of 40 violinists across Canada.

In late March, Tsai, a student at the Montreal Music Conservatory, saw the grim situation across the country and decided to use his musical talents for good.

He knew just one violin wouldn’t do, so he called his cousin in British Columbia.

“I was just practicing in my basement,. I came up with the idea, I stopped practicing, I gave him a call, and that’s when we both started working together on it,” said Sébastien Tsai.

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So the cousins found the 40 young violinists across Canada, from the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador to Victoria, British Columbia.

In provinces and territories where they didn’t know anyone, Tsai and his cousin emailed music conservatories to see if anyone was interested.

“We wanted to make it as proportional to the population of Canada as possible so therefore we had more people from Quebec and Ontario than the territories, for example,” said Tsai.

The video was played to the tune of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Violin Concerto because Tsai said it’s an easy track to learn quickly and it’s really beautiful.

He gave each musician a line and a click track to record their assigned part.

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Tsai explained a click track included in their part plus a metronome ensured that everyone played at the same tempo.

When he approached his friend and fellow Montrealer Benjamin Seah about recording a line, Seah jumped on right away.

“Music is something that can inspire hope in people. It can help them grow, help them go forward,” said Seah.

After each clip was recorded the violinists would send them back to Tsai, who then edited the piece to make sure each violin’s sound merged seemlessly.

Originally the musicians set out to bring hope to Canadians who needed it, but in turn, they felt inspired.

“I was extremely happy to be a part of this project, be part of something that could help other people around,” said Seah.

“It made me feel like I was part of something greater than myself,” Tsai added.


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