Alva Holm

Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2020

Born to be a classical musician 

Alva was destined to have a musical career as more or less everyone in the family works with classical music in one way or another. Her mother used to be a professional cellist, and her brother, Elias Holm, is a pianist. He received the Sonning scholarship in 2015.

Brother and sister have played together quite a bit over the last few years. “It’s extremely educational to play with your older brother. At least it’s fantastic for me – maybe also for him”, Alva laughs.

Something would suggest that their parents have always planned for a sibling duo, because both Alva and Elias started playing at an early age. Alva was four years old and in preschool when she got her first violin.

“I won’t say it was forced on me, but yes, they did say, ‘it’s time for you to start playing!’ They just wanted what was best for me. Once I started, I really enjoyed it,” says Alva. The first big musical highlight she remembers was a concert in the Tivoli Concert Hall where she participated together with the Danish Suzuki Institute at the age of six.

A competition became the turning point

When Alva was 12, she realised that her parents had been right about the violin being the best instrument for her. And that her and her violin were eternally connected. This realisation came after winning a prize in a competition.

“I just thought that it was huge! I was over the moon. It was abroad so we even had to travel to get there. That’s when I thought that this is something I must do and I must do it full time.”

After that she started a four-year talent course (the MGK) from the 7th grade and after just five months in upper secondary school she was accepted into the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

The dream about a Stradivarius

Alva’s ambitions are first and foremost to become a soloist or a chamber musician. Thankfully when it comes to her instrument she is well covered. She plays a very fine Gagliano violin from 1760, which the Augustinus Foundation has leant her.

“It’s crazy to think that it’s ten years older than Beethoven. Because it’s a great violin, people have wanted to play it, and so it has been able to live for 260 years until it coincidentally ended up with me at 17,” Alva says about the big age difference.

Even though Alva is really fond of her Gagliano violin – the two of them have got to know each other in the couple of years she has had it – she cannot stop dreaming about a real Stradivarius. She has actually tried playing a violin built by the great Italian master violin maker from Cremona – something she describes as an otherworldly experience.

“When you play a Stradivarius, it’s almost like you don’t have to do anything for something great to come out: A whole lot of personality. A whole lot of sound – or a completely insane colour. It’s an experience you won’t get with other violins,” says Alva and looks almost guiltily at her beloved Gagliano lying by her side.

Alva Holm in brief

Born in 2000. Grew up in Copenhagen.

Started violin lessons at the age of four.

Is taking a Bachelor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Has won a long range of prizes and scholarships, including 1st prizes at Jacob Gade’s violin competition 2013 and 2016 as well as the Danish Violin Competition 2018.

Has played concerts in most of the world and participated in master classes by a.o. Henning Kraggerud, Milan Vitek, Nicola Benedetti, Dora Schwarzberg, Elisabeth Kufferath, Nikolaj Znaider, Pinchas Zukerman, Gerhard Schulz, Ulf Wallin and Vilde Frang.

The scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

Alva will spend the money from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation on lessons and master classes abroad.

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