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  • Billy Tobenkin teaching
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    Adult beginner cello: Never too late to learn


    When Billy Tobenkin decided to learn the cello from scratch at 25, he ignited a lifelong passion. He shares what turned out to be a bumpy but ultimately deeply fulfilling journey

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    Historically informed performance: Baroque revolution


    Historically informed performance requires no secret code, argues Baroque violin professor Walter S. Reiter. The information is out there for the taking, and modern music colleges need to get ahead of the game

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    Pietro Castrucci: Resurrecting a Baroque maverick


    When Gerald Elias unearthed music by the little-known London-based 18th‑century composer and virtuoso violinist Pietro Castrucci, he discovered a unique and independent musical voice

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    Otherlands: Music in other lands


    In 2019, American five-string fiddler Casey Driessen and his family took off around the world for nine months for his music-sharing project Otherlands: A Global Music Exploration. In a tantalising snapshot of his journey, often into the musical unknown, he recalls meeting and playing with some of the great regional ...

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    Life Lessons: David Harrington


    The American violinist recalls the path that led him to found the genre-defying Kronos Quartet 

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    Conductorless orchestras: The leading edge


    For those ensembles willing to take the plunge, performing without a conductor can lead to a greater sense of collaboration, fulfilment and, ultimately, responsibility. Jacqueline Vanasse hears from some of the string players involved in such groups

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    Arco project: Evolution of a partnership


    Six years ago, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire head of strings Louise Lansdown established a partnership with a music centre in Soweto to launch the Arco project, providing in-person and online lessons for South African string students. Here she reflects on the importance of the scheme and on how it has developed

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    Covid-19 and young musicians: What you make of it


    The lockdowns of the pandemic were particularly challenging for young artists looking to make a name for themselves, but providing support along the way were a number of schemes that ramped up their efforts accordingly. And, as Charlotte Gardner finds, for those musicians willing to take the initiative, the opportunities ...

  • Abel Selaocoe_BBC National Orchestra of Wales_BBC_CR.Chris Christodoulou_1
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    Abel Selaocoe: Uniting voice


    South African cellist-singer-composer Abel Selaocoe’s genre-defying performances have earned him several recent awards and a recording contract with Warner Classics. Tom Stewart meets the Manchester-based musician following his powerful BBC Proms 2021 debut

  • Boston residency at the Epiphany School in Dorchester, MA. Violist Sarah Darling. Cr Iaritza Menjivar
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    Black America: A race for change


    Still now, in the 21st century, black people are inadequately represented within classical music. Pauline Harding talks to string players in America about lingering social oppression and what the wider community can do to bring about progress

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    Beethoven from a string player’s perspective


    Top string players share their thoughts on Beethoven’s string repertoire. Spoiler: it’s not always smooth sailing

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    Nupen and du Pré: Golden girl


    Documentary maker Christopher Nupen made several groundbreaking films with Jacqueline du Pré. Here he shares his memories of the legendary British cellist who tragically died at the age of 42 after battling with multiple sclerosis

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    Female violinists of 18th-century England: Portrait of a lady holding a violin


    Taking a Regency portrait of an unknown violinist as his starting point, Kevin MacDonald investigates the lives and careers of Louise Gautherot and other female violinists of Georgian England

  • Fig1_Villa-lobos tocando violoncelo (pintura de J. Rosa) cor
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    Villa-Lobos and the cello: A voice for Brazil


    Heitor Villa-Lobos began his musical career as a cellist and wrote numerous works for the instrument, including the monumental Second Cello Concerto. However, his primary interest lay in promoting the folk traditions of his Brazilian homeland rather than advancing the cello’s virtuoso repertoire, writes Felipe Avellar de Aquino 

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    Joseph White: Making history


    Cuban-born violinist Joseph White’s 1875 debut with the Philharmonic Society of New York was both a triumph and enormously significant – as the orchestra’s first performance with a soloist of African descent. Yavet Boyadjiev explores the event itself and the circumstances surrounding it

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    Encores: Time to shine


    Throughout much of the last century, technically showy encores by Paganini and Kreisler were standard fare for violinists, but in recent years players have moved away from the established virtuoso works to embrace everything from solo Bach to folk tunes and contemporary commissions. Charlotte Gardner talks to top players about ...

  • ICP cr Claudio Papapietro
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    Strings and Piano: a sound balance


    Producing a nuanced, well-balanced and blended combination of piano and strings can be a difficult performance feat to achieve. Pauline Harding talks to chamber musicians, soloists and teachers to discover some of their secrets

  • Andris Nelsons at Tanglewood (Hilary Scott)
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    Orchestral Tricks: in plain sight


    Gerald Elias has spent many years as a professional orchestral violinist – in the Boston SO and Utah Symphony – and has been music director of Salt Lake City’s Vivaldi by Candlelight chamber orchestra since 2004. Here he explores some of the universal challenges faced by orchestral string players which ...

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    Chevalier de Saint-Georges: the remarkable revolutionary


    Too long overlooked, the extraordinary life of 18th-century violinist and composer the Chevalier de Saint-Georges has once more been celebrated over the past 25 years. Yet his compositions remain unfairly neglected, writes Kevin MacDonald

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    Two-fingered Tchaikovsky: Beating the odds


    Despite losing the function of the third and fourth fingers of his left hand through focal dystonia and a shoulder injury, violinist Clayton Haslop was determined to continue playing. Here he shares his story