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Meet the musician: Chris Isip

Christopher "Chris" Isip is a musician with twenty years of experience in music. He is primarily a violinist with secondary experience in piano, guitar, bass clarinet and other winds. He holds two music degrees from York University: Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours and a Master's degree. His instructors in violin include Mikki Leung and Prof. Jacques Israelievitch, former members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He studied under Prof. Patricia Wait for bass clarinet. He performed in the York U Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony and the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. 

He has been teaching in his hometown of Brampton, ON since 2008 and is currently a music instructor at Synergy Performing Arts Academy and conductor of the Synergy Youth Orchestra. Over a decade span he has performed at weddings and events located in coffee shops to concert halls; musicals, rock shows and orchestral concerts. Chris is featured as a session musician for several independent movies and as an electric violinist for local bands in the GTA

1. When did you start playing your instrument?
I actually started on piano at the age of 8 but never really got into it (because I disliked recitals). But when I turned 10 I discovered the violin when my dad played the classical 96.3FM station JS Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto 3” was playing. At that moment I immediately fell in love with the violin family. That’s how it all started. I’d practice everyday and since then I enjoyed recitals.

2. Who is your biggest musical inspiration?
JS Bach, as you can tell. But also a string quartet called “Bond". They were the first to really appeal to my love of classical music in combination with pop and other genres. Another recent one is an extraordinary YouTube violinist named Peter Lee Johnson and a violist named Jeremy Green. They perform some of the best pop and hip hop covers on YouTube right now.

3. Who is your favourite composer?
JS Bach haha… I feel like that’s my answer to every question. But outside of the Baroque era I’m also a fan of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

4. If you had to choose only 1 piece to listen to for the rest of your life, what piece would
it be?
Definitely Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3: 3 rd movement”

5. If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
Possibly a tattoo artist or nutritionist.

6. What are some of your non-music related pastimes/hobbies?
I used to draw a lot before I discovered the violin. I also love hanging out with my closest friends and going on hikes and adventures with them or having a fun game night. On low key nights I’ll enjoy some red wine. I also love playing on my PS4.

7. What is your life motto?
“Practice makes perfect.” Especially in practicing music and academics, but also living life by going through new experiences to get you out of your shell and reliving them.

8. What advice would you give your younger self?
Times are changing. Continue to be patient and true to yourself.

9. What piece/song can you not stand?
There were a few top 40s songs from the past that I couldn’t stand. Because I heard them on a weekly basis when a student around me tried to sing it over and over and over again. That
annoying song for me was Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

10. What is your pre-concert routine?
A couple days before I’ll perform in front of someone or a few people and get some feedback.
On the day of I’ll practice a few lines of each piece. Followed by some stretching and getting
some blood to the brain minutes before showtime. Oftentimes I’ll literally yell at the top of my
lungs to let out some jitters—I’ll usually do that in my car on the way to the concert so that no
one hears me. If it’s a major solo recital I’ll meditate to clear my mind.