June 23, 2015 · Old Lyme, CT – Sennheiser’s MOMENTUM campaign has highlighted dozens of unique sound stories from all over the world: stories about creators with MOMENTUM and people who push the world forward with their creative passions. These stories feature artists, innovators and entrepreneurs in the most authentic sense, and serve to inspire others to uncover their own unique MOMENTUM.
Alexandra Soumm is the latest creative visionary to share her inspiring story. When she lifts her violion and starts to play, the music is sublime. The violin - the revered “ex-Kravakos” - is a priceless instrument crafted by an Italian master craftsman in 1785. It is a virtuoso performance worthy of the most elite classical music venues. But the audience, some of whom are in tears, are actually patients in hospital who have paid nothing to attend this ultra exclusive concert.
First taught by her father, Alexandra Soumm started playing the violin at the age of five and performed her first concert at age seven. She left home at a very young age to study in Vienna - working tirelessly to become one of the world’s top violinists, a journey that saw her win the 2004 Eurovision Competition at just 14 years old. Today she is a leading light on the international classical music scene, playing to audiences at some of the world’s most prestigious venues.
Despite her international success, Alexandra also feels passionately about bringing music to the unlikeliest of venues – including hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, on a charitable mission to bring art to those in the greatest need.
“Of course if you’re playing in a really prestigious hall and the next day you go to a hospital, a homeless shelter or a school, the contrast is huge, but you receive different things and give different things and I could never choose between the two,” says Soumm. “For me it is really half and half. It brings me enormous joy to play in concert halls around the globe, but it is just not enough for me to do only that.”
Along with two friends, musicians Maria Mosconi and Paloma Kouider, she founded the non-profit organisation, Esperanz‘Arts in 2012 - the culmination of four years’ involvement in various charity projects.
For Soumm, the drive to play to different audiences started with the realization “that I was always playing for the same kind of audience – great and attentive people – but there were so many others that I didn’t reach, like homeless people or handicapped people – they couldn’t come to the concerts.” Eager to make a change, Soumm teamed up with like-minded artists Mosconi and Kouider, making it their mission to approach these people and “bring them not only music, but other forms of art as well, which are always linked to each other. Art is a fundamental right for everyone.”
Through her charity, she works with other artists - including photographers, dancers and musicians to perform in hospitals, homeless shelters and schools, returning regularly to the same venues to help create a better understanding of and emotional link with the music for people who may never have seen classical music performed. For many, it is more than a concert. It is an awakening. For Soumm, this has become her MOMENTUM: “When I play for 10 or 20 people who have never heard classical music before it makes me think about the way we, as artists, express ourselves, and the place of each of us in society. The emotions are so raw because people cry, laugh, are surprised and moved. For them it’s not just entertainment, its not just beauty - at first it is mostly shock and then pure emotion. And that’s where art is really coming from. It’s meant to change something in you, both in the performer and in the audience.”
Leaders have MOMENTUM
Alexandra Soumm has MOMENTUM. Working with unique people like her, Sennheiser tells the stories of a hugely diverse yet 100% inspirational group of people, following their journeys and learning more about their passion, their lives and their own personal MOMENTUM. They’re people with a passion and connection to sound that has taken form in many different ways. People who go further than others. People who know what others don‘t know. People who do things that haven‘t been done before. People who push the world ahead. People with MOMENTUM. This spirit, this commitment to the core to create something that is special, unique and that has uncompromised authenticity and substance is what Sennheiser seeks to celebrate over the course of the MOMENTUM project.
About Alexandra Soumm
French violinist Alexandra Soumm is a multi-faceted artist who is equally at home in concerto and chamber repertoire. In recent years she has collaborated with prestigious orchestras such as the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre de Paris, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Helinski Philharmonic, Trondheim Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony. The 2014/15 season sees Alexandra working with the Orchestre National de Bordeaux, London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Munich Symphony and Orchestra Svizzera Italiana.
Passionate about passing her skills and knowledge on to others, she has given master classes in America, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan and Israel. This summer, she will be teaching at the Musica Mundi Chamber Music Festival. In 2013, Alexandra was named Godmother of El Sistema France, a free music education programme for children and adolescents in need.
Alexandra Soumm’s full biography can be read here: