We had the good fortune of connecting with Virginie d’Avezac and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Virginie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking has played a prominent role in both my life and career. From 2003 to 2009, I was a violin and viola teacher at the Conservatory of Music of Cognac, France. Although this teaching position was a great opportunity, I wasn’t happy because the region of Cognac didn’t offer many opportunities for performances ,so I felt disconnected from my creative and artistic life. Since I couldn’t perform, I began to feel that I had nothing to share with my students anymore. Despite most people discouraging me from leaving my teaching position, I decided to take the risk to dedicate my life to music. Later, I faced a similar dilemma when I decided to become a therapist, a dream I had had for a long time. I registered for an online course in Psychology at the University of Paris and a few months later, I moved to Paris. In 2010, I decided to engage in Sophro- analysis of prenatal, birth and childhood memories . It was so life changing that I began to train in the technique so I could become a therapist. My ultimate goal was to combine my musical career and private practice as a therapist. I decided to focus my studies on Sophro-analysis as it offered a practical, comprehensive and holistic approach to life. As I began my new career in therapy and found a balance with my performances, for the first time I had a sense of oneness and belonging. The next turning point of my life came with the decision to leave Paris and the balance I had started to experience in order to follow the love of my life to the US. My husband, Zachary and I met in 2010, while performing chamber music together. After 9 years studying in Paris and London, he had decided to go back to the US to pursue a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance. Here I was, moving to Los Angeles, with only a basic knowledge of English and no job. In spite of its challenges, this journey has led me to develop the life that I have always hoped for, a private practice and a career as a performing artist. Without having taken the risk of losing my safety net, I would never have achieved the life that I have now. I believe that risk taking finds its roots in the recesses of our being. When we listen to the whispers of our inner self, things unfold naturally, and we realize how powerful we really are.
Please tell us more about your art and what sets you apart from others. How did you get to where you are today professionally. What are the lessons your learned along the way.
I began my musical studies with the piano at the age of 5 and entered the Bordeaux National Conservatory at the age of 10. At 14, I found my true musical calling and began studying the viola. Upon graduation, I received first prizes from the Bordeaux Conservatory in viola, chamber music, harmony and counterpoint. During these years, one of my biggest challenges was stage fright. Because I started the viola older than the other students, I had to learn fast to catch up with the Conservatory requirements. My maturity was an asset, but I felt that I didn’t have the time to develop a strong and confident technique. Once on stage, it felt as if I was falling apart and wondered if I had ever known how to hold a bow! Instead of enjoying the experience of performing publicly, I was suffering. In my early 20s, I developed an interest in various approaches to overcoming stage fright. From mental preparation to visualization and breathing techniques, I was eager to explore any and all options. Although I was beginning to feel better on stage, I was still not able to truly enjoy it and I realized that there was more to it than just the physical manifestation of my anxiety. A little later, I started to feel stuck professionally. I was teaching at the Conservatory of Cognac and the musical life in that region of France was very limited. I was losing my inner desire for music and faith in my teaching. I decided to leave my position and move to Paris to find more concert opportunities. During my time in Paris, I was a founding member of the Magnolia string quartet. We had the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Proquartet program for chamber music and had the unforgettable experience of studying for two years under the guidance of great artists such as Guy Danel (Danel quartet), Vaclav Remes (former First violin of the Prazak Quartet), Günther Pichler and Valentin Erben (Alban Berg quartet) and Eric Robberecht (concertmaster of La Monnaie orchestra in Brussels), In 2010, I met the pianist Zachary Deak who would become my husband five years later. We started to play recitals together regularly in France, Morocco, and Southern California. Parallel to developing my career as a chamber musician, I started therapy in Sophro-Analysis of prenatal, birth and childhood memories to try and deal with mental blockages. This work transformed me so deeply both in my musical approach and private life that I went a step further and trained to become a therapist myself. Having a private practice in Paris was a great accomplishment. The circle was complete and it was my turn to help others. From feeling alone and ashamed of my performance anxiety, I had become empowered. My approach to teaching has also been deeply transformed through this journey. With my students, I am continuously encouraging the mind- body connection to create balance and harmony within the practice of the instrument. Since my arrival in Los Angeles in 2016, I have completed a second training to become a certified Hypnotherapist. My private practice in Los Angeles is tailored to both artists as well as non-artists. As a musician, my new life in Los Angeles has been incredibly fulfilling. I have met and played with brilliant musicians in chamber music, orchestra, as well as recorded for film and TV. In contrast to my experience in Paris, there is a variety of work for musicians in Los Angeles and the community of musicians is very welcoming and supportive. Some of the highlights of these past years include playing at the Disney Concert Hall with the LA Master Chorale, the Mount Wilson Observatory, the Broad stage, Zipper Hall, the Ford Theater, Capitol studios and Warner Brothers studios. I was also the Principal Viola of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra for two years. Since February 2020 ,I have been the proud Choir Director of the Love Rises Community Choir. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we have continued weekly online rehearsals and are working on several projects that will be announced soon. As I look back at the path my life has taken, I see how the many challenges that I had to overcome have in turn contributed to helping me find my true calling and a sense of balance and fulfillment in my life. I am grateful to be able to share and practice both of my passions.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love our city of angels. It is full of contrasts and surprises. While in Venice, you can experience both the lively energy of the boardwalk and the peaceful haven of the canals. While on the westside, don’t miss the best Thai vegan restaurant in LA! Satdha is not just your average thai restaurant, the level of subtlety and refinement is without parallel. The endive cups are to die for. A Classy yet laid-back bar in Santa Monica, the Bungalow offers beautiful and comfortable outdoor and indoor seating. My favorite bar in DTLA is the legendary Clifton’s Republic. It takes you back in time with its gorgeous design and grand decor. Their hidden Tikki Bar is a gem. DTLA is also known for its great rooftop bars. My favorite is probably the one at the Ace Hotel. Among many great Sushi places in Little Tokyo, one of my favorites is Sushi Go 55, located in a mall on 3rd and Alameda. Very authentic and the fish is of the highest quality. In that same mall, you will find Shojin, another great vegan restaurant with equally refined food and service. Nothing like what you would traditionally expect from a vegan restaurant. For great jazz music, go to the Blue Whale in Little Tokyo. If you like cocktails, whiskey and dancing, you will love the Wolf & Crane Bar in Little Tokyo. The Griffith Observatory offers some of the greatest views in LA. Palos Verdes is a beautiful place to hike or just meet for a romantic date at sunset. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, the only places where I meet friends are outdoors. Kenneth Hahn state park in Culver City is very nice. The Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades is a magical and peaceful place. The Huntington Library in Pasadena has remarkable botanical gardens.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my parents who encouraged and supported me throughout my musical studies, to all my musical mentors, to my Sophro-Analysis Therapist and Teacher Christine Louveau who guided me through my transformational journey, to all the wonderful musicians with whom I have shared music across Europe and the USA for the past 20 years, to my incredible friends for their unconditional love and support and of course to my loving, caring and talented husband Zachary without whom I wouldn’t be where I am in my life today.
Website: www.innertrueself.com and www.virginiedavezac.com
Instagram: @innertrueself.hypnotherapy and @virginietheviolist
Yelp: hypnotherapy and artist coaching- Virginie d’Avezac
Youtube: @virginie d’Avezac
Credits: @Portrait Madame @Matthew Purpura