Get to know Marzena Malinowska

Marzena Malinowska is a 24-year-old violinist of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic. She passed the audition for a violin tutti position in an orchestra in Wroclaw out of about 30 candidates. It was her first audition for a professional orchestra and she got the job. BYP is one of the most important milestones in her musical career.

“BYP made me a different musician and also a different person” says Marzena, about her life-shaping experiences with the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic. Her passion began in 2012 when she went on tour with the orchestra for the first time – her ‘personal survival camp’. During the tour, the orchestra performed challenging works of art: Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.3. Marzena recalls “What an experience! During the concert, as a newcomer sitting in the 7th stand of the 1st violins, Kristjan did something he hadn’t done in rehearsals: he took a longer breath, a fermata, creating the most magical moment of the highest tension, a stop in time for every musician. It was very quick, like an eyewink. I felt like we were all together, we were aware of him, of ourselves, of others. It was at this very moment I started to become addicted to BYP”. An addiction that still lasts to this day, an addiction to grow and to transcend borders musically and personally. “You just go for everything and try to do things better than you believed you could.”

Marzena also recognises that the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic is an innovative orchestra in its approach to rhythm and groove. She remembers the last BYP LAB prior to the Usedom Music Festival: “I will never forget being one of 100 people walking in a circle to internalise the feeling of the rhythm! It was fun, but very important fun. Nowhere else will you practise Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy with a drum kit. Maybe this is one of the secret ingredients as to why the learning process – from day one until you reach the concert platform or the recording studio – is swift, efficient, and more effective,” says Marzena. She agrees that the orchestra’s success is also to do with the orchestra’s unique profile when it comes to its members, who originate from every country surrounding the Baltic Sea. Marzena is Polish and proud of the history and culture of her country. It makes her happy to present her roots to the world while also being part of a larger whole – the sound of the Baltic Sea region. That’s why she likes the idea of the unique Baltic Sea Voyage programme – which takes the audience on an expedition to discover the music of all the countries bordering the Baltic Sea. “I’m also an ‘explorer’ type, I like finding and experimenting with new or forgotten things – interesting facts, pieces of music etc. It’s nice to have a region bigger than your own country but smaller than a continent or the European Union, for example, to feel connected and integrated with.” In working with BYP alongside studying for her Master’s Degree, not to mention exams, teaching, and performing with her own quartet, Marzena clearly has to handle an enormous workload. But it’s all about motivation, something that is a key element of the BYP teaching approach: “When you really, deeply want something, you automatically do your best to make it happen.” In particular, she refers to how invaluable it is to be able to work with BYP’s ‘outstanding musicians’, the coaches, plus its Founding Conductor and Music Director, Kristjan Järvi: “Kristjan is one of BYP’s most magnetic elements. At first, I needed some time to understand him and what he is doing. But he is without question someone who helped me to get ahead in BYP and in real life. He gives 100% to everything he does, and his certainty and self-confidence are so solid, that you really benefit from that and also believe in success. Because of this, you do everything better. Never say ‘no’, ‘never’, or ‘impossible’ until you try.”