Madeleine Antoine – An Extraordinary Violinist
Updated: Nov 6, 2021
written by Dr Renée Ralph, Co-Founder, The Brilliant Foundation
Photo : Madeleine Antoine holding her electric violin (📸 by the wonderful @zoetheiadore)
At a tender age of 4, Madeleine Antoine first brush with music was the piano, a percussionist instrument. She laughed wistfully remembering how she was “fired” as a student from her piano teacher because she just couldn’t sit still on the piano bench. She wriggled and swayed whilst playing a tune. Madeleine says: "I was impatient to play and would interrupt my teacher."
Her mother who yearned for Madeleine, her youngest of six children, to learn ANY musical instrument, finally found an instrument that she could move and dance to – the violin.
As destiny would have it, Madeleine’s mum located Phillip Noer, an American violinist based in Albany. He started teaching Madeleine the Steiner Method for violin when she was six years old. As Madeleine was home-schooled, the lessons took place every week on an hourly basis and by the age of 9 years, she was able to play a Concerto.
Photo : Madeleine Antoine with her first violin teacher, Philip Noer, his wife and her mum in Albany.
Madeleine and Toffee Her mum would encourage Madeleine to busk solo in the local town of Albany to practice her violin from 7 years to 9 years of age.
Madeleine simply states: “My mum knew that was one of the ways that she would get me to practice my violin was to perform in front of people."
When Phillip Noer returned home to America when Madeleine was nine years old, her mum made the decision to move to Perth to pursue Madeleine’s passion, talent and innate musicality.
By now, Madeleine can play by ear and create music to define her emotions and feelings.
When Madeleine lived in Fremantle (Freo), they had a family dog, named Toffee.
Madeleine and Toffee were an adorable duo basking in Freo, performing classical music on strings. As Madeleine explained that it provided a base for good practise and learning how to perform and interact with her audience.
"I would have my little doggie, Toffee tied around my ankle. Toffee has the same hair colour as me. Thinking back, I suppose that was the cute factor, as passer-by would toss a gold coin or two in my violin case.”
I asked: “What did you do with the money you earned when you were 7 years old?” Madeleine responded: “I gave it to my mum so that I could help contribute and pay for the violin lessons.”
From a young age, Madeleine understood the value of saving money and helping out where she could for her family. Her mum helped set up a bank account for her to understand how an enterprise works and the meaning of having her own financial independence. Jacek Slawomirski was her next violin teacher from Poland and he remained her teacher for eight years. He was an influential teacher and made an impact on her teen hood years till she reached university.