Q&A: Cora Venus Lunny
Photo: Lucy Clarke

Q&A: Cora Venus Lunny

We talk to violinist and violist Cora Venus Lunny.

Cora Venus Lunny is a violinist and violist who aims ‘to become as complete a musician as possible’. She currently plays with, among others, Fovea Hex, Yurodny and Ensemble ICC, while continuing to perform classical repertoire as a chamber musician and soloist. Lunny is currently working on her first solo album, 1943. Visit www.lunnymusic.com

What is your earliest musical memory?
Hanging out backstage with Stéphane Grappelli when I was very small. I remember him telling me to change my bow hold, and he always smelled wonderful.

What did you want be when you grew up?
A doctor or an astronaut. However, as soon as I grasped that I couldn’t quite be a violinist at the same time, I abandoned all those ideas.

What quality do you most admire in other musicians?
The ability to transcend their instrument or genre, to translate music into pure emotional trigger, to draw those in who might not have expected to enjoy a particular style.

Which living musician do you most admire?
Leonard Cohen.

What was your happiest musical moment?
It might have been seeing Leonard Cohen in June, although I would liken that more to a spiritual experience than a musical one. Nearly every moment in music is a happy one for me, as cheesy as that sounds.

What new musical skill would you like to learn?
I want to improve my improvisational skills and, being obsessed with rhythm, have promised myself that I’ll start messing around with beats when I’ve gotten my album finished.

What was the last concert you attended?
I was at the Big Bang Festival in Dublin recently and, before that, Bootsy Collins’ James Brown tribute.

What is the last book you read?
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Where do you listen to music?
Sometimes at home, but mostly while travelling or shopping.

What radio programmes do you listen to?
I’m not a regular radio listener; I love silence too much.

What was the last recording you bought?
Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark.

What other jobs have you held?
I worked in a solicitor’s office for two weeks once. The experience made me appreciate music like never before! It also made me determined never to do a ‘real job’ again.

What do you cherish most about irish musical life?
The fact that anything and everything can, and will, thrive here.

What would you change about it?
I can’t think of anything I’d change that isn’t already happening naturally.

What would you like played at your funeral?
Something by Messiaen, maybe from Harawi: Songs of Love And Death.

If you could take a year off, what would you do?
Expand my repertoire, write a lot, and spend tons of time just messing about with friends and family.

Give us a tune.
I’m currently in love with and very inspired by Jonny Greenwood’s instrumental album, Bodysong.

Published on 1 September 2008

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