‘Pierre Rode is important to every generation of violinist that followed him. In October 1820, Niccolò Paganini heard him play in Rome and wrote ”the monarch of variety… even in the antechamber of Paradise, it could not sound better than he…”

‘Rode reaches out to me in many ways. There is the manuscript of Beethoven’s G major Sonata op.96, which the composer dedicated to him, where one can see Beethoven’s fascination with the subtle intricacies of bowing (and one fantastic fingering), handwritten on the manuscript.

‘Then there is his Air Varié op.10 which offered a new sort of instrumental lyricism, so impressive that pianists such as Johann Baptist Cramer transcribed it, and the great singers including Angelica Catalani used it as a vocal display piece.

‘And then there are the books of Caprices. Taken with the comparative works by his friends and fellow Viotti students Baillot and Kreutzer, they offer a compositional and violinistic “summa” of the first generation of post-Revolutionary French violinists. They are central to my work and understanding of the what the instrument can do.

‘In the spring of 2023, as part of my “Knowledge Exchange Violin” project, I filmed on Pierre Rode’s ornamented 1722 Stradivari at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Rode’s Caprice no.16 offered illumination, as often happens when I play music on an instrument associated with its composer. The instrument shed new light on the music, the music on the instrument. But most of all, the unquantifiable happened – I had the chance touch the spirit of one of our great voices from the past, a friend of Mendelssohn, Cherubini and, of course, our “Père Créateur” Giovanni Battista Viotti.’

Peter Sheppard Skærved has also filmed an in-depth introduction to the 1722 ‘Pierre Rode’ Stradivari, where he speaks to Colin Harrison, Senior Curator of European Art in the Department of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum, which holds the instrument in its collection. The film also features a selection of music, from Kreutzer, Tartini and Telemann to Rode Trip, a new work by Nashville-based composer Michael Alec Rose.

The documentary was directed by Malene Sheppard Skærved, filmed and edited by Immo Horn, and recorded by Adaq Khan.

With thanks to Research England, the Royal Academy of Music, London, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN, whose support enabled this project to happen.

Best of Technique

In The Best of Technique you’ll discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers. It’s packed full of exercises for students, plus examples from the standard repertoire to show you how to integrate the technique into your playing.


The Strad’s Masterclass series brings together the finest string players with some of the greatest string works ever written. Always one of our most popular sections, Masterclass has been an invaluable aid to aspiring soloists, chamber musicians and string teachers since the 1990s.


American collector David L. Fulton amassed one of the 20th century’s finest collections of stringed instruments. This year’s calendar pays tribute to some of these priceless treasures, including Yehudi Menuhin’s celebrated ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri, the Carlo Bergonzi once played by Fritz Kreisler, and four instruments by Antonio Stradivari.