The Strad’s editor Emma Baker introduces the June 2024 issue

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Long before the phrase ‘portfolio career’ was coined, resourceful string players have been finding ways to diversify and thrive: playing in orchestral and chamber ensembles, teaching, composing, fixing, even being entrepreneurial impresarios. And particularly since the pandemic and subsequent strictures on arts funding, all musicians have to work harder to find opportunities.

Take the piano trio, for example. This chamber grouping has a rich repertoire, but as Charlotte Gardner explains on page 46, unlike string quartets, there are very few professional piano trios that are full-time groups and their members usually have other major strands to their careers. Despite, or maybe even because of this, the genre does seems to be flourishing.

But artists don’t diversify only for practical or financial reasons; even star soloists feel the need to find other outlets for their creativity, and this includes the British cellist Laura van der Heijden, who positively seeks out new musical experiences. ‘It’s not one career for life,’ she tells Toby Deller on page 26.

Even luthier Roger Hansell (My Space, page 68) considered pursuing a tandem career as an artist when he first began his professional life, but he found he just didn’t have the time. Might it have been possible if he was starting out today?

Also this issue we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Henschel Quartet – definitely a full-time ensemble. Ahead of concerts at the Aldeburgh Festival this month, where the quartet made its debut back in 1994, Andrew Stewart speaks to violist Monika Henschel-Schwind on page 38 about the group’s longevity and how three decades seem to have gone by in a flash.

And on page 32, US violin maker Korinthia A. Klein shares how she goes about creating a harmonious experience between staff and customers, based on her years of running a busy shop. There is also advice that applies to players who want to know how to get the best out of their relationship with their luthier.

Emma Baker editor

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