If you asked Laura Veeze what life is like without music, she wouldn’t be able to answer. She doesn’t know what that is, because her violin is an extension of herself. The Dutch musician began playing the instrument when she was 3 and has pursued her passion across Europe, to New York, and finally settling in Edmonton with her family.
“I always come to this realization that music is a language that everyone understands,” she says. “I’ve been on stage with people who I cannot communicate with in words, and that’s not a problem. We can still play together.”
Veeze is first violinist at the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO), playing beside her husband Robert Uchida — a violinist himself— who is the concertmaster. Veeze met her husband 16 years ago when they were both studying in New York. They fell in love a month before Veeze was set to move back to Amsterdam.
“We did the whole Transatlantic commuter thing where we lived in New York and Amsterdam,” she says. “Then Robert got a job in Halifax, so we did a triangular Transatlantic commute.”
With two children however, that commute became more and more difficult until Veeze officially moved to Canada seven years ago.
Like most immigrants, Veeze found Canada to be, in the most basic sense of the word, big.
“You can drive for hours and just see another Tim Hortons. Whereas in Holland, you drive for two hours and you’re either in Germany, or Belgium, or in the water,” she says.
Which is why Halifax was a good middle ground. The coastal city was reminiscent of the Netherlands, with the salty sea air and the sudden gusts of wind.
“But I’m discovering that mountains are pretty awesome too,” Veeze says laughing.
On Valentine’s Day weekend, the Winspear Centre is holding a Jukebox Concert, where couples in the ESO will perform personal concerts for you and your loved ones. The performances are made up of four pairs: two cellists, cello and viola, trombone and tuba, and two violinists (Veeze and Uchida). You can pick your choice of music and send in a personal message for ESO to record and add to the performance. But don’t wait too long – orders must be in by 12 p.m. on February 11th.
“There are obviously many romantic dedications, but some people have ordered [the concerts] for their siblings or good friends,” she says. “One person put a beautiful poem in for us to read.”