MEET THE SFS MUSICIANS: ASSISTANT CONCERTMASTER JEREMY CONSTANT
Articles & Interviews
SFS Assistant Concertmaster Jeremy Constant reflects on the joys of creating something with his hands, both as a violinist and airplane builder.
Jan 1, 0001
SFS member since: 1984
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
It’s easy to forget that a violinist is a craftsman, like a carpenter, a weaver, a potter . . . or an airplane builder. Jeremy Constant is not only SFS Assistant Concertmaster, he’s also the proud creator of Stella, an experimental Vans RV7A two-seater airplane. The varied, yet similarly detailed work required of each pursuit is not lost on Jeremy. “Working with my hands playing the violin, you’re creating something ephemeral. Working with my hands on an airplane, there it is!”
Jeremy’s path to flying high has been a story not only of craft, but also tenacity and patience—all qualities one would also expect to find in a world-class violinist. “I got my pilot’s license in 1996,” he recalls. “It took 7 ½ years to complete my airplane and it passed the FAA inspection, receiving its airworthiness certificate in November 2010. It’s been a blast, and a huge project.” Jeremy’s since flown all over, from a trip to Portland, OR for last summer’s solar eclipse (which he documented in Kitplanes magazine) to Sun Valley, ID, where he has been Concertmaster of the Sun Valley Symphony since 2000. Closer to home, he has served as Concertmaster of the Marin Symphony since 1994.
In addition to savoring the hard work involved in playing the violin and building a plane, Jeremy is also appreciative of the more philosophical aspects of each. “Musical performance and flying a plane are similarly all-encompassing. And there’s certainly risk in both, though as Flying magazine writer Lane Wallace observed ‘In performance you may feel like you could die, but in the end, unlike flying, it’s a death you can live with.’ A lot of people focus on the risks, but both activities are about feeling joy.” Like a pilot, a violinist must also be adaptable and ready for whatever comes at him. Jeremy observes “What made me first love orchestral playing was this idea of having more than 100 people working toward exactly the same thing—the performance can spontaneously change and the orchestra will still be together. It’s the closest thing we have to telepathy. Playing in an orchestra is an inherently uplifting activity and I’m very grateful that I’m able to make a living doing something that I view as a fundamentally positive endeavor.”