Justin Bruns Talks Violin Life and Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'

Feb 7, 2019

ASO Associate Concertmaster Justin Bruns
Credit Jeff Roffman

Broken string? Tumbling shoulder rest? Nothing stands between Justin Bruns – second chair violinist of the Atlanta Symphony – and Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” 

In May 2018, his solo in those four concertos anchored the ASO’s debut performance at Spivey Hall in Morrow. That concert airs at 10 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday, February 7 and 10, 2019 on The ASO on GPB.

Bruns spoke with GPB’s Sarah Zaslaw about Vivaldi and birds, roles and nerves.


Highlights

On a mishap in Peru

“That day the weather changed from about 30 percent humidity to 85 percent humidity and the AC gave out, and my E-string popped at the end of the ‘Spring’ concerto. I, as gracefully as I could, finished the concerto and then said something silly like, ‘Springtime is a time for renewal and I need to put on a new E-string, so I’ll be right back.’”

On a mishap at Spivey Hall

“In ‘Summer,’ my shoulder rest fell off, maybe a minute into the first movement, because I think I bonked it putting my violin up. So I played the whole ‘Summer’ without shoulder rest.”

On nerves

“I get nervous all the time. I think it’s a good thing, because it means you care and you want to share something meaningful with the audience.”

On the greater musical good

“[During my three years as acting associate concertmaster] what developed for me was this mission to figure out what my section needed and what my stand partner needed to be better at their jobs. It became less about me and less about spotlight and more about doing our best jobs for ourselves and for our community.”

On unconventional headshots

“There was a push at the symphony to do new headshots for everyone with a more informal or laid-back bent. We did a number of different poses, and at the end the photographer said, ‘Now let’s do something fun; grab a prop.’ So I grabbed a rocking horse pony and tapped into my Western roots and did a nice yee-haw.”