Professionals from leading orchestras, competitions, record labels and academies will join The Strad team at London’s Royal Institution on 24 March



Anne Akiko Meyers with the ‘Vieuxtemps’ Guarneri ‘Del Gesù’
Photo ©David Zentz

There’s now less than a week to go until Stradfest, The Strad’s new event designed to help string players develop a rewarding career.

Stradfest is a one-day event, held on 24 March 2019 in association with J & A Beare at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London, with a programme of talks and workshops featuring professionals from leading orchestras, competitions, record labels and conservatoires. Guideance will be offered on impressing at auditions, working on your stage presence, improving your social media skills, looking after your physical and mental health, and looking after your instrument.

You can also take part in interactive sessions, including string quartet playing on Yamaha electric instruments, and a friendly introduction to improvisation.

There will be advice, too, from luthiers and dealers on finding, acquiring and caring for your instrument, plus the chance to see fine instruments up close – including examples by Antonio Stradivari – and even to play them.

The day will close with an intimate performance by violin soloist Anne Akiko Meyers on her c.1741 ‘Vieuxtemps’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ – the world’s most expensive instrument.

Esther Abrami

Violinist Esther Abrami will give a presentation on making the most of social media promotion

Speakers and experts on the day include:

Gordon Back, Menuhin Competition artistic director
Mark Messenger, Royal College of Music head of strings
Rodney Friend, violinist and Royal Academy of Music professor
György Pauk, violinist, master teacher iClassical and Royal Academy of Music professor
Pavel Berman, violinist, master teacher iClassical and Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana professor
Matthew Jones, violist and Guildhall School of Music and Drama professor
Dinah Stabb, actor and Guildhall School of Music and Drama professor
Madeleine Mitchell, violinist and Royal College of Music professor
Alexander Buhr, Decca Classics managing director
Christian Girardin, Harmonia Mundi artistic director
Patrick Lemanski, Warner Music UK director classics
Franz Klanner, Thomastik-Infeld head of development
Ed Milner, HarrisonParrott associate director, artist management
Max Grosch, jazz violinist and Yamaha Artist
François Rive, cellist and former Royal Philharmonic Orchestra principal
Robert Smissen, Academy of St Martin in the Fields principal viola
Nicholas Bootiman, Philharmonia viola no.2
Esther Abrami, violinist and Gewa Soloist
Segun Akinola, film and TV composer
Tara Persaud, Solea Management associate director
Charlotte Gardner, music critic and journalist
Brian Jackson, BBC Radio 3 editor
Kathleen Ross, cellist and Classical Vision director
Claire Cordeaux, British Association for Performing Arts Medicine director
Hannah Goodwin, Guildhall School senior health and welfare advisor
Rosalie Segal, Alexander technique specialist
Simon Morris, J & A Beare managing director
Steven Smith, J & A Beare managing director
Robert Brewer Young, luthier
Julia Sarano, luthier
Derek Wilson, bow maker
Irma de Jong, iClassical Academy executive director
Victor Martin, Classeek CTO
Ariel Lang, MyLuthier director
Pedro Silva, MyLuthier director


Luthier Robert Brewer-Young

The event will also feature a number of stands and exhibitions: The Strad Exhibition will feature photographs of some of the world’s greatest string players from our archive, while artist and violinist Leonardo Frigo, who has been transforming stringed instruments into pieces of visual art for the past decade, will present a gallery of his works – and work on a new piece during the event.

The Strad is teaming up with a number of leading music industry partners at Stradfest:

J & A Beare, our headline sponsor, brings a wealth of fine instrument knowledge and associations with the world’s finest luthiers and restorers – several of whom will give demonstrations on the day. Beare’s will be exhibiting a selection of some of the finest Italian instruments at the event, including works by celebrated maker Antonio Stradivari, and will offer attendees the opportunity to play them.

The Strad’s media partner iClassical Academy will be filming throughout the day, and will offer the chance for one Stradfest attendee to win a video recording for a free promotional piece on their MusiXange platform. iClassical artists György Pauk and Pavel Berman will give individual talks and take part in the panel discussion on competitions.

Gewa will be displaying their line of instrument cases and will offer one as a prize. Gewa Soloist Esther Abrami will also give a talk on the importance of social media.

Thomastik-Infeld’s head of development Franz Klanner will speak about the importance of finding the right set of strings to make the most of your instrument’s sound.

Yamaha will provide electric instruments for the string quartet sessions. Max Grosch will also give three improvisation sessions in association with the brand.

Musical insurance provider Allianz will be on hand to offer advice on insuring your instrument, Public Liability and Personal Accident cover and more.

For full Stradfest programme details, and to buy tickets, visit