What's In My Suitcase: How Concert Violinist Gwendolyn Masin Travels In Style - The Gloss Magazine

What’s In My Suitcase: How Concert Violinist Gwendolyn Masin Travels In Style

How does Gwendolyn Masin, a concert violinist, tackle business travel? Penny McCormick gets the scoop on her suitcase…

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“A fourth-generation classical musician, I come from a family of violinists, violists and pianists. I was born in Amsterdam and am of Dutch, Czech and Hungarian descent. My family moved to Dublin from Holland in the 1980s. I’m an enthusiast with numerous interests – music is the thing that glues them together. The variety that my career offers me is something I really appreciate.

“I’m based in Bern, Switzerland, and travel three to six months every year. So far this year I’ve played in Obwalden, Lucerne, and Zurich and I’m looking forward to concerts in Turkey, Hungary, Germany and Italy. At the moment, I’m practising for upcoming solo performances with a Hungarian chamber orchestra, where I have an artist residency.

“Having at least one other language is essential for the niche, yet global, world of classical music. I speak five languages. At home I speak English with my Swiss-German husband and son.

“Within Europe, I travel by train as the rail networks are so good. My most precious cargo is my violin which belonged to my father, Ronald, former concert master of the Amsterdam Philharmonic orchestra. He gave it to me when I was twelve and I’ve played it ever since. My Gordge violin case is usually stuffed with things. I collect bows; depending on the pieces I’m playing, I’ll take a few with me when I travel.

“Packing depends on my mindset – if I feel well prepared for the work ahead, I pack quickly. For concerts, I tend to wear black, well-cut dresses or trousers, nothing too restrictive. When I’m concerned about the reception of my work, I find myself trying on everything in my wardrobe, the floor a sea of sequins, velvet and mismatched socks. I haven’t worn shoes on stage for more than 20 years, so that makes packing slightly easier.

“I am drawn to smaller labels and sustainable designers, often sourced on my travels. I recently bought a few pieces from South African label Erre; when in Dublin I often shop at Costume (Castle Market, Dublin 2). Jewellery is a passion and I accessorise with Alexis Bittar’s fun pieces.

“I return to Ireland up to ten times a year, synchronising performance opportunities with family time. I’ll be in Dublin this summer for the National Concert Hall’s International Master Course (July 29–August 3) of which I am founder and artistic director. I created this course because I want to be part of Ireland’s bright musical future and give back some of the opportunities Ireland has given me.”@gwendolynmasin

Photograph: Hotel Widder

Gwendolyn’s Zurich

“Anywhere near water is my preferred spot to be, so I make a beeline for Barfussbar in Zurich – an original Art Nouveau swimming pool. I recommend Hotel Widder as a stylish base. For coffee, La Stanza and Nude cafés are my go-tos. Other haunts include Milchbar for brunch, Vineria Centrale for an aperitivo and Ristorante Italia for dinner. As for shops: The New New is great for pre-loved clothing; Vestibule for Isabel Marant; Freitag for sustainable fashion and accessories. The GAIA Music Festival is a must-visit (from April 26-May 4) – as its artistic director, I’m biased. It features over 40 musicians in ten concerts and conceptually driven events with an interesting repertoire.”

Packing tips 

In my vanity case: SPF50, skincare basics from Uriage, SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic vitamin C serum and hand creams from Aesop and Neutrogena. I wouldn’t be without MAC, Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath make-up, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and Blistex lip balm. I can’t go anywhere without La Mer facial mist. In transit: I wear separates from Swiss label Pfeffer Verbeek and carry a bespoke travel bag created by Swiss artisan Fiona Losinger, with my laptop, iPad and other essentials stored inside. I listen to music, read scores or learn new pieces.

Shop Gwendolyn’s essentials:


Black Terena dress, Isabel Marant, €750; www.costumedublin.ie.



Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum, €147; www.dpharmacy.ie.



Gold plated Solanges Post earrings, Alexis Bittar, €645; www.harrods.com.



La Mer Revitalising Facial Mist, €95; www.arnotts.ie.



Aesop Aromatique hand balm, €25; www.spacenk.ie.



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