Read violinist Esther Yoo’s personal insights on the tools of her trade


Photo: Pieter Peeters

Yoo plays the 1704 ‘Prince Obolensky’ Stradivari, lent by a private collector. She says it was clear when she tried it that she felt comfortable with it, physically and soundwise. ‘It hadn’t been played for a long time, so I had to imagine its potential once it started opening up. I had to work out how it would react and what its sound was. I was taking a chance, but I think it was worthwhile! I felt I could explore and develop and grow with it. Over the years I’ve been able to discover my sound and my expression. The violin also changes and adapts to the person, it’s a relationship that is alive and growing, and that is the great beauty of playing with an old Italian instrument.’

Yoo’s favourite bow is a Dominique Peccatte that she uses for concerts and recordings. ‘It’s an all-round bow for me – it has a beautiful, fluent lyricism and it’s also extremely precise and sharp, bringing out great dynamics and accents. As with my violin, I feel lucky to have used this bow for a long time.’

Watch Yoo perform Shostakovich Piano Trio with her ensemble ZEN Trio:

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