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Meet the Orchestra: Amanda Goodburn

June 19, 2024

“There is simply nothing like sitting on stage with musicians, making the music that we make.” With these words, Amanda Goodburn, a violinist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, captures the essence of a performer’s joy. And it’s a sentiment that resonates deeply with all orchestral musicians. For Amanda, music isn’t just a profession—it’s a profound expression of the human experience, one that often moves her to tears on stage as she finds herself overwhelmed by the beauty and wonder of the performance. “I’ve stopped even trying to hide it now,” she jokes.

Amanda’s musical journey began at a very young age, when she was influenced by her mother, a piano teacher. “I played the piano from the time that I could reach the keys,” she recalls. However, her mother envisioned a more communal musical experience for her, steering her toward the violin. “She didn't want me to play the piano because she regarded it as a bit of a lonely instrument and she really wanted for me to be able to make music with other people.” It wasn’t long before her identity as a musician shifted. “By the time I was 10, I knew I was a violinist,” she says, reflecting on her early passion and dedication.

Music, for Amanda, transcends mere notes and rhythms. “The whole realm of human experience can be expressed through sound. To me, that’s kind of miraculous,” she shares. Each concert is a privilege, an opportunity to share something uniquely human without uttering a single word. “Sharing music makes people better…. I truly, truly believe it.”

Amanda’s violin has its own unique story. Crafted by French luthier Nicolas Morlot in the early 19th century, it found its way to Amanda in an unusual manner. “I was playing in the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and one of the members knew I didn’t have a really good violin,” she recounts. That colleague had seen a classified ad for a violin made by the same maker as his own. When Amanda reached out to the seller, she discovered (to her benefit) that they were entirely disinterested in violins and music, having acquired the instrument as payment for a debt. She seized the opportunity and purchased the violin, which has since become a staple of her career. Its sound and feel have made it Amanda’s instrument of choice throughout her two-decade tenure with the TSO. 

Discover more about Amanda’s bond with her violin and emotional connection to music in our latest installment of Meet the Orchestra.

Meet the Orchestra: Amanda Goodburn