Exclusive: Keep an eye on Charlie

By admin
31 August 2011

His voice is friendly when he answers the phone.

“Could you give me a second?” he asks politely in his British accent. A short silence follows. I can hardly believe I get to do a telephonic interview with the 25 year old violinist, Charlie Siem.

Just a few weeks ago he was interviewed by the well-known fashion magazine, Vogue and also entertained Lady Gaga at a private function in New York. And now I get to ask him a few questions.

“I’m back. Sorry for that,” he says and the interview starts without any hesitation.

I first discovered the talents of Charlie Siem on the video-channel Vimeo in a short video that combined classical music with men’s fashion. The video was fresh and different and Charlie’s talent undeniable.

The attractive young man reminds of a true English gentleman with his clean, classic and almost regal style. And when he picks up a violin he effortlessly transports you to a time in history when men wore top hats and double breasted suits as everyday attire.

South African Roots:

“You know my mother is from South Africa. She was born in Johannesburg and lived in Cape Town,” Charlie says and catches me by surprise.

“Really?,” I ask with hesitation.

“Yes. And so is my grandfather. He is from Bloemfontein,” Charlie says, pronouncing the word “Bloemfontein” like any good South African would.

Even though Charlie has never been to South Africa himself, he is proud of his South African roots; “I would love to perform in South Africa.”

He was born in London and started playing the violin at the prodigious age of three, after hearing a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto by the late Yehudi Menuhin.

His busy schedule of appearances includes tours in Japan, Scandinavia, the USA and at home in the UK.

In fact he had just returned from a trip to France when I spoke to him on the phone. “It was great. I love France.”

His new album has recently been credited as Classic FM’s ‘Album of the Week’ and he will appear at the Royal Albert Hall in October as guest of the station to celebrate the launch of his new album.


Charlie has a great interest in fashion and is currently the global face of the Alfred Dunhill label.

He has continued to appear in many publications including Italian Men’s Vogue (L’Uomo Vogue), photographs of which were taken by the singer Bryan Adams with who Charlie subsequently appeared in concert.

Other endorsements come from revered names such as photographer Mario Testino.

“I would describe my style as simple, clean and smart. I prefer whites, blues and blacks as not to draw attention away from the music.

“I have a tailor who modifies my suits in order to make them more flexible and moveable. He modifies the vent at the back allowing movement so I can play the instrument,” Charlie says.

For as longs as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to play the violin. Charlie Siem makes it look effortless, almost easy and something every gentleman should be able to do.  He somehow manages to bring classic music to a young, modern crowd without compromising himself or the music.

Keep an eye on him, he’s going places. Hopefully South Africa, soon.

Charlie’s new album was released in the UK in August and will soon be available in the rest of the world.

Watch Charlie perform here:

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