Masterclass: Baiba Skride on the Berg Violin Concerto, first movement

Baiba skride by marco borggreve030

The Latvian violinist discusses the importance of thorough planning, together with emotional engagement, when playing this awkward work

Explore more Masterclasses  like this in The Strad Playing Hub

Read more premium content for subscribers here

For me, this has been the most polarising of all concertos. The first time I heard it was in a music class at school and I hated it. I thought, ‘What is this? I don’t understand it! How can it be one of the greatest concertos?’ At that time I was not a fan of modern music in general: I couldn’t hear the melodies or the exceptional harmonies, and as a teenager I wasn’t open to finding them.

I regret that now, because later on, out of curiosity, I started to practise the Berg and I fell completely in love with it. It took me a little time to understand how the violin fits with the orchestra, and the genius of the amazing themes and polyphonies, but when I did, it completely turned my ideas around. Now I am fascinated by how much information there is in the music, every time I play it…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.