Iskandar Widjaja

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Iskandar Widjaja began learning violin at the age of four as natural-born person coming from musical family; a pianist mother, a conductor uncle and (late) grandfather, Udin Widjaja, who was a famous composer in Indonesia – have been names of reason towards his good start as violinist. 

Entering university at the age of 11 at Berlin College of Music, a hard learning process was then started, with a lot of sacrifice as well as rewarding. “Children with a strong sense of colour, fantasy and emotion would rather choose the violin. It`s very personal instrument, close to a feminine voice, warm, breathing. My violin became a part of me, it is my favourite tool to express, to train, to cleanse mind, to calm down, to invigorate, to satisfy my intellectual needs – the list does not ever end”, Iskandar explained how he has made violin as a part of his life since he was really young.

During his career, Iskandar`s mother has been the first inspiration and later at his teenager time, he admired his teachers at college and Midori Goto. Nowadays, conductor Christoph Eschenbach has opened up a whole new world and imagination for him. In further, those inspirations then led him to his upcoming most significant achievement. Debut performance with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra as a soloist in Mozart Violinconcerto Nr next year in June 2014. It is one of the most important orchestras of the world and the selection of soloist is especially keen in Europe; a huge honour for him and huge stepping stone that perhaps can bring him to perform at Carnegie Hall New York that he always dreams on.

Sorotan was curious to know how Iskandar would compare the vibe of performing between Berlin and Jakarta. He said “Berlin audience is extremely educated and know what they are listening to. In fact, probably it is the most challenging audience in the world. There are high class performers playing every single day. I try to give a Jakarta touch to my European performance; as getting loose, enjoy and have fun on the stage. As much as I try to be sincere when performing in Indonesia. My love for music though stays the same wherever I perform.”

“To know a lot and being educated can be both blessing a burden. My big chance and opportunity in Jakarta is that there is no classical tradition whatsoever. It can be very liberating to play there”, Iskandar continued, “Of course, without the excellent education which I received in Berlin, this would not make any sense.” Nevertheless,he loved the vibe when he performed at JERIN Festival 2013. He liked the spontaneity and the urge to try something new as he never heard before.

Toward bilateral relationship of two countries, Iskandar is a definition of it as he feels gaining a lot from it; everybody knows music as a multinational and omnipresent language. On his new single Burn, which has been available since October 2013, he even combines Indonesian and classical music idioms in the score. It is a big mix, just like him.

Music is able to give strength to the soul, give hope and enlighten people`s heart. It is not an extra – but a necessity – and this is what politics must understand. To strengthen Germany – Indonesia relationship particularly in music, he suggests having Masterclasses of German educated performers in Indonesia, as well as conducting performances of Indonesian youth orchestras in Germany.


Anisa Kirana | 2013 | Published on SOROTAN Magazine – Column: Focus Report / Bilateral Friendship (edition IV/2013) | Photo credit: Facebook, Iskandar Widjaja

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