The Virtuoso is a Model of Modern Classicism In This Intimate Portrait
Handsome English violinist Charlie Siem turns perceptions of classical music on their head in director Asa Mader’s exclusive, disorientating short. The orchestral world’s current man of mode—the London-born soloist wore Kris Van Assche for Dior Homme in Mader’s film—Siem has been tutored by some of the greatest living violinists, including Shlomo Mintz and Itzhak Rashkovsky. For the soundtrack, Siem pulled his forefather Ole Bull’s Cantabile Dolorosa e Rondo Giocoso from his formidable repertoire for its “lyricism and almost mystically bizarre effect.” Chosen alongside broadcaster Sir David Frost and principal dancer Rupert Pennefather for Dunhill’s Voices campaign, Siem has recently graced the pages of lauded fashion and art publications Vogue Italia, VMan and ACNE Paper. Not content with conquering the worlds of high fashion and classical music, he has also lent his performance skills to pop iconoclasts The Who and Boy George. Here the dashing young gentleman expounds on the intricacies of performance and his take on classic style.
A performer needs to have control. If I completely lose myself emotionally, the architecture and progression of the piece gets lost as well. For an audience member to get lost in the music, the performer has to know where they are every step of the way.
You learn a lot when you go on stage with contemporary pop performers. They don’t necessarily have as much complexity of music, but they compensate by being great entertainers.
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto was the first piece I heard and his Pastoral Symphony always triggered my imagination. My sister played the cello and we always listened to Bach’s Cello Suites at home. I saw Mozart’s Magic Flute as a child and was overwhelmed! Outside of classical, my mum always played Françoise Hardy in the car.
The design of structured jackets and the elegant people that wear them has always interested me. Dressing up to perform is a ritualistic thing to do, out of respect for the tradition of the instrument. It is always an occasion whenever I am playing in front of an audience.
Codes of attire
Being clean, smart and simple always help to achieve a timeless style.
Styled by Robbie Spencer:
Trousers and shoes by Gucci.
Waistcoat by Dior Homme.
Shirt by Dunhill.