Cellist Bruno Philippe talks gut strings, competitions, and the pros and cons of old and new instruments

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February 2019 issue

There's a French focus to The Strad's February 2019 issue, in which cover star Bruno Philippe discusses his progress from promising young musician to fully fledged artist. As he releases his first album as an official Harmonia Mundi cellist, he chats with us about the merits of gut strings, old instruments versus new ones, inspirational teachers, his public image – and leaving behind the competition circuit to focus on real life.

We learn about Jacques-Pierre Thibout, the most successful violin maker of his family, andexamine the evolution of his style through ten instruments; and unearth the extraordinary story of Eugène Sartory's long-running legal battle with a US dealer for selling imitations of his work.

Leila Josefowicz tells us about the myriad attractions of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's 1950 Violin Concerto – music that defies categorisation. Philippe Graffin recounts how he chanced upon the original version of Ysaÿe's Sixth Solo Violin Sonata; and Viktoria Elisabeth Kaunzneruses her eight years of experience teaching South Korean violinists to identify the trends that make them so successful in competitions.

In our regular sections:

In Focus features an 1893 violin by Gustave Bernardel; Nicolas Gilles details his intricate method for making oil varnish in Trade Secrets; My Space looks at the workshop of Noémie Viaud, a French luthier now living and working in Denmark; and in Making Matters we examine the unusual techniques of French violin maker Benoit Joseph Boussu.

In our monthly Masterclass Daniel Hope discusses the second movement of the Franck Violin Sonata; double bassist Alex Henery gives tips on controlling left-hand finger pressure in Technique; François Rabbath tells us his Life Lessons; and Gautier Capuçon reveals why on Schumann's Fantasiestücke are his Sentimental Works.

We also bring you news of the latest competitions, products and auctions, and comprehensive reviews of concerts, CDs and books.

In the February 2019 issue

  • henery 1

    Technique: double bassist Alex Henery gives tips on controlling left-hand finger pressure

    How to place down, lift and move your fingers in a way that minimises fatigue, by Alex Henery, Principal double bassist of the Sydney Symphony and head of double bass studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

  • gilles 6

    Trade secrets: a method for cooking oil varnish by Nicolas Gilles

    A technique that relies on the senses and helps you get the right varnish for your needs, by Nicolas Gilles, luthier in Villeneuvette, France

  • korea 4

    Kaunzner in Korea: a nation of winners

    In recent years, string players from South Korea have made headlines as the winners of numerous international competitions. German violinist–composer Viktoria Elisabeth Kaunzner speaks to South Korean colleagues and draws on her own teaching experience in the country to examine the phenomenon

  • sartory 1

    Sartory and the fake bows: Phoney war

    One of France’s greatest bow makers,Eugène Sartory sued an unscrupulous American dealer who flooded the market with fake bows. Using the original court transcripts and contemporary news reports, Gennady Filimonov uncovers how the Frenchman sought justice

  • zimmermann 1

    Making Sense Of The Senseless: Leila Josefowicz on B. A. Zimmermann’s violin concerto

    As Leila Josefowicz explains, the unexpected twists and turns of B. A. Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto make it a rollercoaster worth riding. Tom Stewart finds out more

  • thibout 7

    Jacques-Pierre Thibout: violins fit for a king

    One of the key Parisian luthiers of the early 19th century, Jacques-Pierre Thibout had a distinctive – and often innovative – making style. Florent and Serge Boyer examine ten of his violins to track its evolution, and show why he became luthier to King Louis-Philippe

  • philippe 2

    Bruno Philippe: Sky’s the limit

    This month, young French cellist Bruno Philippe releases his first album as an official Harmonia Mundi artist. He chats with Charlotte Gardner about the merits of gut strings, old instruments versus new ones, inspirational teachers, his public image – and leaving behind the competition circuit to focus on real life

  • daniel_hope3

    Masterclass: Daniel Hope on the Franck Violin Sonata

    The British violinist takes a look at the second movement of a work filled with Romantic flair, fireworks and colour, and highlights the importance of building a perfect piano-violin partnership

  • Performing Ysaÿe's 6th Sonata

    Discovering Ysaÿe’s lost sonata

    In 2017 violinist Philippe Graffin discovered a previously unknown three-movement work by Eugène Ysaÿe: his original Sixth Solo Violin Sonata. As his recording of the piece is released, he speaks to Chloe Cutts about completing the composition.

  • 2018 Viva La Viola.1b

    Postcard from Shanghai: Viva la Viola festival

    Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s biennial Viva la Viola festival returned for its sixth instalment in November, turning the spotlight on one of the most underrated instruments in China, writes Nancy Pellegrini

  • Gautier Capucon

    Sentimental work: Gautier Capuçon on Schumann

    The French cellist finds a whole universe of sound in Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro and the op.73 Fantasiestücke – as well as huge scope for experimentation

  • Arod hall

    Are France and Britain guilty of a lack of musical interaction?

    Classical music should be a beacon of internationalism, yet each country’s scene appears to be stubbornly insular, writes Charlotte Gardner

  • Francois Rabbath

    Life Lessons: François Rabbath

    The French-Syrian double bassist considers his unique technical journey, the inspiration he drew from crustaceans, and the benefits of playing a waiting game