Comment, opinions and reports from The Strad team and leading figures in the string world

Blogs Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein – two titanic violinists who still divide opinion today

Tully Potter compares the recorded legacy of the two renowned performers

Heifetz or Milstein? Well, now that we can hear them only on recordings or films, we do not really have to choose! We can enjoy each man’s playing for its unique qualities.

My own opinions...

Blogs Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Does winning a violin competition at an early age place too much pressure on the artist?

An interview with violinist Nicola Benedetti this week highlights the potential risks of too much success for the very young, writes Charlotte Smith

Competitions: worthwhile platforms for launching brilliant new artists or arbitrary hothouses which routinely produce skewed results? The merits and disadvantages have been debated often enough, but...

Blogs Thursday, 19 December 2013

Aaron Rosand on how to produce a beautiful tone

In the first of a series of articles on violin technique, the American violinist examines the role of the bow in tone production

How do you produce a beautiful tone? It is a question frequently asked. The simple answer is: with the bow. There is no sound until the bow touches the strings. Several factors are involved and coordinated...

Blogs Thursday, 19 December 2013

Violoncello da spalla – story of a rediscovery

Dmitry Badiarov, who crafted the violoncello da spalla that will make its London debut in the hands of Sigiswald Kuijken in March 2014, talks about the process of reconstructing this rare historical instrument

When Sigiswald Kuijken approached me with the idea of reconstructing a violoncello da spalla in 2003 I was on tour with La Petite Bande, the orchestra he had created and conducted for 40 years. ...

Blogs Friday, 22 November 2013

My years performing with Benjamin Britten

The violinist Nona Liddell first met Britten at Sadler’s Wells during rehearsals for the Aldeburgh Festival. She performed alongside him for many years, and remembers an extraordinary musician with very high standards

The first time I went to Aldeburgh was in 1950, for the third festival. I was very young and I’d been booked to play with a small orchestra led by David Martin, called the Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra...

Blogs Friday, 22 November 2013

Janine Jansen on the struggle and pain of Britten's Violin Concerto

Benjamin Britten, born 100 years ago today, produced only a small number of string works, but musicians rate them among the greatest – and most testing – of the 20th century. Violinist Janine Jansen describes the enduring lure of his Violin Concerto

I’ve been playing the Britten Violin Concerto for about 15 years. Back when I started it was played far less than it is now. From the first moment I got to know it, I was strongly drawn to its...

Blogs Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Cultural learnings from Russia’s ‘window to the west’

When the Calder Quartet was invited to visit St Petersburg, its players leaped at the chance to learn more about the music they grew up playing. Violinist Andrew Bulbrook shares the struggles and rewards of visiting Russia

Many of us grew up studying with Russian teachers at different points in our education, so when the St Petersburg Conservatoire and the US Consulate invited us to visit St Petersburg, we were excited...

Blogs Monday, 18 November 2013

Leonidas Kavakos on modern violin making: 'This is an art that I want to support'

The Greek violinist offers an enlightened view of modern instruments that might inspire other players, as Ariane Todes reports

In a fascinating new interview for the Boston Musical Intelligencer, violinist Leonidas Kavakos explains his views on violin making and the fact that although he plays the 'Abergevenny' Strad...

Blogs Thursday, 14 November 2013

Steven Isserlis on his long-time collaborator, the late John Tavener

The British cellist talks to Chloe Cutts about the conception and premiere of The Protecting Veil

Steven Isserlis has vivid memories of the night he premiered John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil at the BBC Proms in September 1989. The piece, a concerto for cello and strings, had...

Blogs Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Important violin memorabilia at the Library of Congress

The editor Ariane Todes pays a flying but revelatory visit to the string archives of the largest library in the world

What does the editor of The Strad do on holiday in Washington, DC? Why, visit the Library of Congress, of course: home to extensive collections of string players’ archives, including those of ...

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