Sarah Charness Shares Exciting Career as Electric Violinist

Electric violinist, Sarah Charness, picked up her iconic pink electric violin at the age of sixteen and has taken the music world by storm. Joanna Gagis talks with Charness about her creative process and experiences performing alongside artists such as Diana Ross, Ne-Yo and Jennifer Hudson and performing at New York Fashion week.

4/22/17 #604






"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. She's toured with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, performed alongside the Jonas Brothers, and Cobra Starship. She's opened for Diana Ross, Ne-Yo, Flo Rida, Jennifer Hudson, just to name a few. She is electric violinist Sarah Charness, and when she plays, it is truly electric. Welcome to the program Sarah. Thank you so much for having me. It's so exciting to have you. The hot pink violin is sitting right here next to you. I've seen you perform, and it is really something. You are spectacular. Thank you so much. Thank you. So you started playing the violin... when did you fall in love with the electric violin? So I was about 16 years old when I sort of started moving from classical over to alternative styles of string playing. I was at a Summer camp and actually the person who made this instrument, Mark Wood, came and did a demonstration, played Jimi Hendrix, played the Beatles, played Ozzy Osbourne, and I couldn't believe that the violin could, sort of, transform into this completely different instrument. And that's when I started playing around with alternative styles. So I've seen... you know, we saw some video of you playing, and it was some harder music, right? Some harder elec... Yeah. ...electronic music. What do you play? What are... do you have a favorite genre? What are the genres that you tap into? Absolutely. I really tap into everything from electronic to pop to classical. Still, a lot of the stuff that I do really does have some classical background, because that is my background. And everything in between, I... you know, I'm a violinist, I'm not a singer. So I like to say that I really tap into many different genres. So it's funny, you say you're a violinist, not a singer. You almost perform through your violin as if you're singing. It comes out of you. It's like something is literally pouring out of you? Yeah. You could feel it? Absolutely. Where does that passion come from? Well I'm... you know, I was always... when I was training, I was always told not to move so much when I played. But I was a dancer, and I grew up dancing. And so movement and, you know, being active while I'm playing, is such an important part of the way I perform. And it's sort of another part of how I, you know, portray my message to an audience. So I think, you know, for me, being really physically active in a performance is just a part of how I play..."