Grégor Monlun began performing with Symphony Nova Scotia in 2019 and joined the First Violin section during the 2021/22 season. He is also an active violin teacher, soloist, and chamber musician throughout Canada and Europe.
Grégor is a graduate of the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music, where he studied violin, string quartet, and chamber music with Eduard Grach and Mikhail Gotsdiner (both former pupils of David Oistrakh). He also has a Doctor of Music in Performance from Université de Montréal, where he was a student of Vladimir Landsman (himself a former pupil of Yuri Yankelevich). Grégor has also studied with Robert Papavrami, Maya Glezarova, and Viktor Tretyakov.
At only 14 years of age, Grégor won First Prize at the Radio-France Competition in Paris. He also received a scholarship from the Canada Council and was awarded the Gélinas scholarship for excellence at the Université de Montréal. He is regularly invited by Jeunesses Musicales du Canada and Chamber Music Societies of Montreal and Quebec, and has played during masterclasses for Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Isaac Stern, Ivry Gitlis, Tedi Papavrami, and Maxim Vengerov.
Q&A with Grégor
How long have you worked with Symphony Nova Scotia?
I started at the end of 2019.
What do you love about symphonic music?
I love the endless possibilities of sounds, repertoires, styles, genres… It’s always a great experience to share music with colleagues and audiences and I’m always amazed to see so many musicians “breathing” as one person.
Why is Symphony Nova Scotia important to our community?
Symphony Nova Scotia plays such an important role in our community for the education of different generations. It is not only a way to entertain people, but most of all we can share so many emotions and unite so many people in our community with music. I love the fact that Symphony Nova Scotia can introduce so many different styles of music to our community.
Do you play an instrument?
Yes, I play violin. Or at least I have pretended very well to do so for about 30 years!
Why did you start playing your instrument?
I think first I was just curious and wanted to try. My parents always listened to all kinds of music at home. My older brother played a bit of piano so obviously I wanted to try a different instrument! And very quickly I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to play an instrument; that life lesson about the process, being patient and constant in your daily practice, and getting such a high emotional reward at the end when you finally realize you can play something. It also helped me to really develop my memory and become way more focused at school.
If you couldn’t be a violinist, what would you like to do?
Maybe a vet or owner of a flower shop. Or any job related to travel or food! 😊
How have you been keeping busy during COVID-19?
Learning new repertoire on my violin, teaching online. But most of the time, taking care of my newborn son.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Playing with my son, hanging out with family and friends over a good meal, cooking, playing tennis, and… playing tennis again as much as I can. 😊 I’m a complete tennis geek and I’m always looking for a new tennis partner. So please, feel free to ask me anytime! If the Atlantic Tennis Centre wants to create a program or activities that combine music and tennis, I’m in!
What are your outside interests?
Did I already mention tennis? I also love to teach, read history books, and appreciate any high-quality watchmaking.
What’s your favorite music group(s)?
The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Metallica, Britney Spears, Céline Dion, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin. I also really like any kind of folk music.
What’s your favourite indulgence?
Like many people, I love to have a piece of dark chocolate or a bit of ice cream at 11 pm. I know it’s not good for my body, but it’s so good for my mood.
What was the best day of your life?
After all these years, I still want to believe it will be tomorrow.
What’s your favourite sports team?
Hockey teams: Canadiens de Montréal and Dynamo Moscow. Soccer teams: Girondins de Bordeaux and Real Madrid. Tennis players: Federer, Nadal, and my childhood idol, Guga Kuerten!
What’s your favorite food(s)?
Growing up surrounded by French and Italian people in my family was pretty amazing for food! I also really like Indian food and Asian such as Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai. Russian soups are also delicious.
What are your favorite quotes?
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”
-Harriet Jackson Brown, Jr.