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

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Spanish violinist María Dueñas may only be 21 but her name will surely be familiar to those who follow emerging talent with interest, as she has won a string of major competitions over the past few years. But now she has really come of age, especially with the release of her debut album last year – of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, no less. On page 24 she talks to Tom Stewart about her wide-ranging musical influences and upbringing – perhaps surprisingly, neither of her parents is a musician – as well as her latest project, performing and recording a concerto by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.

This issue we also profile Manchester Collective, the string-led chamber orchestra that has gained a reputation for being one of the most innovative ensembles, not just in the north of England where it was formed eight years ago, but in the rest of the UK, Europe and North America too. The group is renowned for unconventional programming, performing in unusual spaces and not being afraid ‘to play music that shocks people’, according to violinist and

co-founder Rakhi Singh. On page 40 David Kettle talks to Singh and others members of the ensemble about new artistic directions and keeping the faith in the face of change.

On page 48 we travel back to the Baroque period and Francesco Geminiani’s The Art of Playing on the Violin. This 1751 treatise contains a section on scale exercises that look somewhat puzzling to the modern player but, according to violinist Benjamin Shute, they can act as a kind of time machine to help us to understand the mindset of an 18th-century musician.

Of all the Italian cities synonymous with lutherie, Ferrara may not be the first that springs to mind, but it was the birthplace for two families of fine luthiers that flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries. Florian Leonhard recounts their histories on page 32. And on page 54, Vladimiros Sorokin-Andreou shares his method for creating a beautiful mother-of-pearl and silver inlay for a bow frog.

Emma Baker editor

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