Rolls-Royce Motor Cars recently presented the latest in its series of ‘Inspiring Greatness’ films, in which classical violinist Charlie Siem discusses the physical and mental challenges of performing some of the most famous, technically demanding and emotionally powerful music ever written.
“The Rolls-Royce ‘Inspiring Greatness’ series shines a light on individuals at the pinnacle of their respective fields. At Rolls-Royce, we empathise with their dedication, courage, commitment and vision, and revel in the creative dialogue the series ignites.
“Charlie Siem defines what it means to be a classical musician in the modern era. His sensibilities are founded in tradition by those who have inspired him – not least, by Yehudi Menuhin, yet his mastery and musical delivery engage new audiences – all of which we can relate to as a marque.” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Born in London to a Norwegian father and British mother, Siem began learning the violin aged just three, after hearing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto played by the great Yehudi Menuhin. Having been awarded a degree in music from the University of Cambridge, he then studied violin under Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music. A highly sought-after soloist, teacher and recording artist, Siem has performed with leading orchestras and chamber ensembles all over the world.
The film explores how Siem seeks to connect with and personify music, transcending the physical act of playing his instrument to express the music directly. Naturally, he speaks reverently of his violin – the 1735 Guarneri del Gesù known as the ‘D’Egville’ – which he refers to as ‘an extension of his body’. Though perhaps less immediately well-known than their contemporaries made by Antonio Stradivari, Guarneri violins are equal in greatness, even favoured by some performers, including Siem’s inspiration Yehudi Menuhin.
Later in the film, Siem encounters the excellence of Rolls-Royce, relishing the opportunity to experience what he calls the ‘majesty’ of Wraith on a drive through the British countryside. “It’s incredibly impressive and indulgent to be sitting in this luxurious cabin, hearing almost nothing, with all this power right in front of you,” he enthuses.
‘Inspiring Greatness’ is an exploratory series from Rolls-Royce sharing a collection of aspirational stories from those who rewrite the boundaries of greatness. Previous episodes include Michelin-starred chef Tom Sellers, photographer and explorer Cory Richards and media artist Refik Anadol. Most recently the series featured British writer, photographer and explorer Levison Wood.
Watch the full series at rolls-roycemotorcars.com.