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Take Five with Julia Bomfim

Julia Bomfim By

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Meet Julia Bomfim

Ms. Julia Bomfim is an exceptional Brazilian violinist, composer and arranger. Her unique style merges Classical and Jazz genres enriched by South American and World perspectives. Having developed a technique and expression with a recognizable unique sound, Ms. Bomfim's violin mastery has earned her a place in challenging musical genres.

Born into a family of artists, Julia began her music studies at the age of seven. Inspired and encouraged by her father, the renowned flutist Marcelo Bomfim, the violin became the focal point of her early childhood.

In 2013, Ms. Bomfim earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO).

While working towards her Bachelor degree, Julia was selected to participate and perform in top-tier music festivals around the world, including the Académies Internationales d'Été du Grand Nancy (Nancy, France), L'Acadèmia Internacional de Música de Solsona (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain), Summit Music Festival & Institute (Purchase, NY), and the Festival Villa-Lobos (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). In 2011 she earned a coveted scholarship to study for one year at the Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford, Connecticut) under the guidance of internationally acclaimed violinist Anton Miller.

Striving to continue her musical studies at a highest possible level, she relocated to the U.S. and in 2016 she received her master's degree in Violin Performance from Longy School of Music of Bard College (Cambridge, Massachusetts) under the guidance of violinist Laura Bossert.

Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, Julia's language skills have significantly contributed to her teaching success. In September 2017, Julia joined the music faculty of the prestigious Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA, where she serves as a violin and viola instructor until today. In that capacity she has been uniformly recognized by parents and administrators for her gift as a teacher.

Always reaching to maintain and grow her level of excellence as a performer and composer, in 2017 Ms. Bomfim gained acceptance to the New England Conservatory continuing education department, seeking to widen her musical landscape. She will be awarded a Jazz Performance certificate, under the tutelage of two highly acclaimed musicians, David Zoffer and Tucker Antell.

In July 2019 the Julia Bomfim Trio released its debut EP Reencontro alongside guitarist Eduardo Mercuri and percussionist Kan Yanabe. The project is now available on all digital platforms, CD Baby and Bandcamp.

Instrument:

Violin.

Teachers and/or influences?

Violinist Paulo Bosisio, first and main teacher in Rio de Janeiro. I studied classical music and violin technique with him for about six years;

Flutist Marcelo Bomfim, my father, with whom I learned so much about music and from whom I got most of my musical influences since very young;

Violinist Laura Bossert, my mentor and role model at Longy School of Music, I studied with her for two years, that absolutely changed my way of playing the violin;

Pianist David Zoffer and saxophonist Tucker Antell, with whom I have been studying jazz and improvisation, they really opened my musical landscape in a deep and meaningful way.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was in High School, about 15 years old, and my father asked me one day: "would you like to be a professional musician and really devote yourself to music?"

At that time I was playing the violin for about seven year, but never really thought of being a professional musician. That day my answer was "yes" and I realized from that moment on I had to really practice a lot and devote time to improve my playing. I never really thought about it after that, in my head the decision was just made... and I never regreted. All of us musicians have better and worse days but I still consider myself a privileged person for doing what I love and being able to combine my passion and my job.

Your sound and approach to music.

Having an unique and personal sound is one of the most important things for me. When I think of artists who influenced me and recalled my attention the most I find that those who have a genuine expression and recognizable sound are the ones I really love and try to imitate.

My approach to music is to be honest and to express a musical identity that also reflects my personality and my choices in life.

Your teaching approach

I am absolutely passionate about the relationship I build with all my students. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to teach my students how they can become their own best teachers so they can immerse in a continuous and creative process of finding their own personal sound and expression. I encourage my students to constantly use their creativity and experiment in their practice. Each student is a different human being and each one learns in a completely personal way. As a teacher, my strategy is to find the best way to teach each one and to make this learning process unique, special and fun. I believe building a strong technique is essential, but never more important than the music itself.

Your dream band

Well, if I think of a dream band it would definitely be formed by amazing players, responsible and committed musicians. People who I can relay on, and with whom I can honestly express myself. I would chose people who I also give along well out of the stage. Musicians who think about the band first and not only about themselves as players.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

I really like the arrangement of "Naquele Tempo/Por Una Cabeza" recorded with Eduardo Mercuri and Kan Yanabe on our last EP Reencontro.

This might be my favorite one because it really shows two sides of myself: the Brazilian part from my father and the Argentinian from my mother side. I love how Choro and Tango mixed together create this powerful and passionate fusion.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

This is a hard question, I believe all of us musicians contribute by being ourselves and bringing art to this world.

One contribution I have been committed to do is to bring more and more Brazilian music to the U.S. and to listeners that many times never heard of it before.

The first jazz album I bought was:

A compilation of Miles Davis and John Coltrane recordings. This was actually a gift, and I remember listening to the version of "Someday My Prince Will Come" (last track on the album) on repeat mode. Miles' solo in this track was also probably the first jazz solo I ever transcribed in my life!

Music you are listening to now:

Hamilton de HolandaJacob Black
Caetano Veloso Ofertório
Alain Pérez ADN
Carlos Malta Carlos Malta e Pife Muderno

Desert Island picks:

John Coltrane: Ballads
Janine Jansen: The Bach Album
Cartola: Raízes do Samba
Chico Buarque: Construção

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

So many great players and amazing musicians, but unfortunately not nearly enough listeners, venues or opportunities.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Listeners and venues are definitely essential. Jazz is an art that happens in the present moment of a live performance.

What is in the near future?

Moving from Boston to NYC is always on my mind... probably a future plan for next year!

What is your greatest fear when you perform?

They always exist but I prefer not to think about it... every great player makes mistakes and this shouldn't be a reason for fear. When performing I try to just TRUST myself.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Some by J.S.Bach. Or maybe a classical guitar piece.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

Probably songs by Chico Buarque.

By Day:

I usually separate time to answer emails, do yoga, organize my life and teach my students in the afternoon...
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