01 Dec '22

A musician from a tender age

door Anne Peeters
She may no longer live in the Rand but that is where it all started for the leading Belgian violinist Jolente De Maeyer (38).

You began playing the violin when you were four, entered competitions when you were six, and attended the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music in England when you were 14. That signalled the start of your international career. What kind of experience was that for someone so young? ‘I attended the Wemmel Music Academy in the wake of my older sister. I still couldn’t read or write, I was learning to play by ear and instinct. It was a really enjoyable experience but we were expected to take our lessons seriously. Everything went very well right from the start. Later, when I took part in the Queen Elisabeth Competition, they dug up a video from somewhere in the archives showing me at the age of five. Looking back at that now, I can’t help but think: That was really young. But my parents never tried to push me, it all happened quite spontaneously.’