Martin Beaver | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Martin Beaver

Martin (Paul) Beaver. Violinist, teacher, b Winnipeg 10 Nov 1967; ARCT 1986, Artist's Diploma (Indiana) 1990.

Beaver, Martin

Martin (Paul) Beaver. Violinist, teacher, b Winnipeg 10 Nov 1967; ARCT 1986, Artist's Diploma (Indiana) 1990. Martin Beaver began violin lessons around age four with Claude Letourneau in Quebec City, studied 1971-9 with Carlisle Wilson in Winnipeg, and from 1979 at the Royal Conservatory of Music under Victor Danchenko. He made his concerto debut with the Hamilton Philharmonic at age 12. At Indiana University 1987-90 he studied with Josef Gingold. He also attended masterclasses with Pinchas Zukerman, Henryk Scheryng and Yehudi Menuhin. Beaver gained attention with a string of competition successes, winning the Canadian Music Competition 1977-81; the Kiwanis Festival concerto class 1981-2; the CIBC National Competitive Festival of Music (1983; was named its most distinguished performer); the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Concours (1986, with Scott St John); the Canadian Music Competition grand prize (1986, resulting in performances in Argentina, Portugal, Washington and Montreal); the Priz Mozart at the Montreal International Music Competition (1991); and fourth place and a silver medal at Belgium's Queen Elisabeth International Competition, along with the prize for best concerto performance (1993). He became the first Canadian finalist at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (1990). Beaver received the Canada Council 's Virginia P. Moore award in 1993.

Professional Career

With Jeunesses Musicales, Beaver toured Quebec and New Brunswick in 1988. With Jamie Parker, he formed the Beaver-Parker Duo in 1990. As soloist and chamber musician, Beaver has played in most Canadian music festivals, as well as festivals in the US, Scotland, Japan and Europe. His main series solo debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was in 1992, when he played the Bach double violin concerto with Pinchas Zukerman. In Canada, he led the Guelph Spring Festival Chamber Orchestra 1995-6. He debuted with the National Arts Centre Orchestra 29 March 1996, playing Sarasate's Gypsy Airs and Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo. Other Canadian orchestras with which Beaver has performed are the Edmonton, Montreal, Newfoundland, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Windsor symphonies, the Calgary and Hamilton philharmonic orchestras, the Orchestre metropolitain du Montréal, and the McGill and Manitoba chamber orchestras. Beaver formed the Toronto String Quartet and the Triskelion trio in 1998, leaving in June 2002 when he became first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet. The US-based ensemble's first Canadian engagement was with the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival 7 Aug 2002.

Recordings; Teaching

Canadian composers whose works Beaver has recorded are Patrick Cardy (Tango!, Danses folles et amoureuses); Alexina Louie (Thunder Gate, Arc); and John Weinzweig (Sonata for Violin and Piano). Beaver taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music 1991-6, University of British Columbia 1995-6, and Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore) 1997-2002. He began teaching at Yale University in 2002, and served on the jury of the 2004 Banff International String Quartet Competition.

Praise for Beaver
Martin Beaver is acknowledged as a virtuoso violinist. He has played on a 1729 Guarneri del Gesù violin lent by the Canada Council in 1998, and since 2002 on a "Paganini Quartet" Stradivarius. About his performance with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Strad said "Beaver found a most appropriate sound for the lovely theme of the second movement, the white-hot intensity of his sound stretching into endless lines" (Sept 1994).

Further Reading