The healing power of music is needed now more than ever – violinist Jennifer Pike


“The healing power of music is needed now more than ever,” said violinist Jennifer Pike.

She won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award aged 12 and has since built a successful career, including playing the BBC Proms, performing regularly at Wigmore Hall, working with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and also as a soloist.

She received an MBE on Wednesday for her services to classical music from the Princess Royal in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Jennifer Pike with her award (Steve Parsons/PA) / PA wire

Pike, 32, said: “I think in dark times you need something to hold on to. I feel that music gives meaning to life.

“I can’t imagine there would be a single person in this pandemic who hasn’t had some form of uplifting experience through music.”

She said “maybe it’s not how you expect it” and it could be anything from a jingle to introduce the news to something you might hear while you’re on the go.

She said: “We needed it, especially in these times. We needed it to give joy and hope.

“I feel like there’s a lot out there who can’t get out, who are in pain and can’t do their normal things, but somehow connect to the music and the ‘art.”

Pike, from Cheadle Hulme in Stockport, Greater Manchester, said hearing live music during the ceremony made her ’emotional’, and she could share the moment with her sister Alexandra, who is a doctor of the NHS.

It was difficult. Musicians have spent more than a year without being able to do what they love and need to survive (financially)

She said: “It is a nice change from pandemic times to have this beautiful day and celebrate it with my sister. Hearing the musicians play live music during the ceremony made me very emotional. Live music is special.

“My sister came from Manchester to be with me. She’s a doctor at the NHS hospital, so she’s been through a very difficult time. I am very proud of her. I think she and those she works with should receive this award.

Pike, who is of British and Polish descent, has worked over the course of his career to shine a light on lesser-known and under-represented composers, including hosting a Polish Music Day at Wigmore Hall in London in 2017, highlighting featured works specially commissioned from Polish composers.

Last year she performed on the steps of Manchester Central Library, watched by Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham to highlight the difficulties facing the arts sector in due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said on Wednesday: “It has been difficult. Musicians have spent over a year not being able to do what they love and need to survive (financially). It is only now that concert halls are starting to open and even now there is a lot of uncertainty (due to the new Covid-19 variant).

“I know some sites are already doing rollbacks.”

She said “the pandemic has been difficult for everyone,” but cultural industries can help comfort people.

She added, “Music can just get through those dark times and sometimes give people the strength to keep going.”

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