Comment, opinions and reports from The Strad team and leading figures in the string world

Blogs Wednesday, 19 February 2014

6 pieces of advice for performers by violinist Vadim Repin

There are as many ways to advise violinists about performance careers as there are violinists, says Vadim Repin. Nevertheless, he tells Pauline Harding six of his secrets to success

Keep charge of your own lifeDon't make compromises about the path you want to follow – stick to it, and hopefully you will become successful with it. There will be good times ...

Blogs Friday, 14 February 2014

The art of distraction is more effective than repetitive practice

Repeating a difficult passage over and over again can lead to stress and tension. Instead distract your mind at the point of execution to feel relaxed as you play, writes cellist Thomas Demenga (pictured)

When people ask me how much I practise I usually say, 'I don't practise, I check whether I can still do it...'

This is, of course, a joke, but it also contains a truth. Before one starts to practise...

Blogs Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Aaron Rosand on portamento

The American violinist examines how the great 20th-century violinists used the ‘gliding technique’ to bring personality and individuality to their interpretations

Portamento: the carrying of a sound with the voice or stringed instrument, the transition from one note to another, higher or lower, without any break in the sound.

This expressive...

Blogs Tuesday, 11 February 2014

10 habits of successful musicians

American cellist David Finckel embarks on a series of seminars – entitled Being a Musician – at Stony Brook University, New York on 3 February. Here, he identifies the important habits of those musicians who have built and maintained successful careers

All musicians, especially those soon to emerge from formal education, wonder what path their careers will take and whether they can control their artistic destinies. While there are no proven methods...

Blogs Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Making a double bass

Constructing a double bass brings with it challenges of design and method, size and sound, cost and travel – as experienced German-based British luthier Roger Hargrave found when making his first bass

Although I have always felt it incumbent on violin makers to construct a bass, at some time in their career, like most violin makers I pushed such thoughts to the back of my mind, where I hoped it would...

Blogs Wednesday, 05 February 2014

Recording the soundtrack to Gravity

William Schofield, cellist with the Emperor Quartet and Academy of St Martin in the Fields, describes recording the soundtrack to the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated film

Recording sessions can be run in a number of ways, usually determined by the particular use. For a classical session you will want to record in a natural acoustic, aiming to create an impression of ...

Blogs Friday, 24 January 2014

Claudio Abbado — an orchestral violinist's personal tribute

Berlin Philharmonic violinist and member of the board of directors, Stanley Dodds, remembers the great conductor, who died this week

My first concert as a violinist with the Berlin Philharmonic was in September 1993, with Claudio Abbado conducting. I had felt spellbound watching him previously in concert but at the same time baffled...

Blogs Monday, 20 January 2014

Violinist Augustin Hadelich on performing a concerto with the LA Phil at three days’ notice

The soloist describes his recent experience filling in for Christian Tetzlaff at LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall

Last week I was in Dallas packing my bag after a recital when the phone rang: the Los Angeles Philharmonic needed a violinist to fill a cancellation by Christian Tetzlaff; Edo de Waart was to be the...

Blogs Thursday, 16 January 2014

Aaron Rosand on how to produce a good vibrato

In the second of a series of articles on violin technique, the American violinist examines the role of vibrato in enhancing the sound

Wrist Vibrato and Arm Vibrato are the terms used to describe the manner of vibrating. But this terminology is inconsistent with what actually makes the vibrato. The...

Blogs Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein – two titanic violinists who still divide opinion today

Tully Potter compares the recorded legacy of the two renowned performers

Heifetz or Milstein? Well, now that we can hear them only on recordings or films, we do not really have to choose! We can enjoy each man’s playing for its unique qualities.

My own opinions...

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