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

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 ...

Blogs Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Technique aplenty, but musicality wins the day in Weimar

Young players are well represented at the Louis Spohr Competition, but a little more experience goes a very long way. Rebecca Schmid reports

At the International Louis Spohr Competition for Young Violinists, age poses no limits. One might watch a procession of pre-teens perform the complete Bruch Concerto one moment, and spot a judging panel...

Blogs Friday, 08 November 2013

A Brief Survey of Summer Festivals Without All the Bother of Joining a String Quartet – Part Six

The American String Quartet heads for the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, enticed by the invitation to perform Schubert’s Quintet – and the promise of fresh lobster

Familiar as we are with the charms of Aspen, what could induce the Quartet to move on? For one thing it’s not easy to get really fresh lobster in the middle of the continent; for another, we were...

Blogs Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Brief Survey of Summer Festivals Without All the Bother of Joining a String Quartet – Part Five

American String Quartet violist Daniel Avshalomov reports from Aspen, where he and his colleagues perform Janáček, Haydn, Korngold and Brahms against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains

From Crested Butte, Colorado to Aspen is a ten-minute flight, a three-hour drive or an exhilarating all-day mountain hike. But careful readers will recall that when the American String Quartet gets ...

Blogs Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Late Quartet – the new DVD reviewed

Ariane Todes watches a film that pushes all the buttons of the string world, and quartets in particular

As the daughter of a Parkinsonian and the sister of a professional quartet player, I’d say I am pretty well placed to review this film. For the story (spoiler alert) concerns the Fugue Quartet...

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