Meet a Winnipeg music teacher who performed part of a Brahms symphony — all by himself

With the ability to play almost 50 instruments, one Winnipeg musician has found a creative way to use some of his extra time.

With fewer music students to teach during pandemic, Gage Salnikowski created a one-man orchestra

Gage Salnikowski recorded approximately 30 tracks during his performance of the third movement of Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 3. (Gage Salnikowski/YouTube)

With the ability to play almost 50 instruments, one Winnipeg musician has found a creative way to use some of his extra time during the coronavirus pandemic.

He's created a video where he performs a symphonic work — all by himself.

Gage Salnikowski is a music teacher and the performer behind the one-man orchestra. 

"I don't think one should feel forced into productivity … especially in a pandemic situation, but for me it's something I enjoy doing," he said. "It's a silver lining."

Prior to the pandemic hitting Manitoba, Salnikowski had already been practising Johannes Brahms's Symphony No. 3. But with fewer students to teach because of the pandemic, he found himself with more free time than usual. 

So he decided to make music for himself — and to share his performance of the symphony's third movement online. 

Watch Gage Salnikowski perform and speak about his one-man orchestra: 

Gage Salnikowski can play almost 50 instruments. Here he performs the third movement of Johannes Brahms third symphony as a one man orchestra. 1:28

For the video, he recorded nearly 30 tracks, playing every single instrument himself — from violin to French horn to bassoon.

"Art can't exist can't without a sense of community. You should be creating art so that other people can experience it," he said. 

Growing up, Salnikowski studied piano and guitar, before taking on the goal of learning as many instruments as possible. 

He found cheap instruments through sources like Kijiji, fixed them up and learned how to play them. 

"If I hear something I want to be able to do it by myself as an act of creation," he said.  

Aside from classical music, Salnikowski also enjoys playing progressive rock and heavy metal. (Submitted by Gag Salnikowski)

In addition to his classical repertoire, Salnikowski enjoys playing progressive rock and heavy metal music. 

He says playing music brings deep meaning and intrinsic value to his life.

"If you're pushing forward and not having fun doing it anymore, then it's coming from the wrong place," he said.

Recording an orchestral piece all on his own has been a long-term goal for Salnikowski. He hopes to tackle works by Vivaldi and Beethoven next.  

Watch Gage Salnikowski's full performance: 


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