PEOPLE

Mikhail Kopelman

Wednesday, 08 January 2014

For the violinist, a wide range of repertoire choices is essential – both for playing and listening

Listen to great singers to learn how to sing on a stringed instrument

What would I tell my younger self? That an early experience of playing chamber music is priceless, especially the repertoire for string quartet, whatever musical field I was going to choose. I was almost 30 when I joined the Borodin Quartet as first violinist, and I had to learn around 20 pieces in my first year. I quickly saw a refinement in my playing, not just in terms of intonation but also in using varieties of colour, vibrato, bow pressure and distribution. I believe it has helped me to grow and become a better musician.

I would also broaden my knowledge of symphonic, operatic and piano repertoire. One of my teachers advised me to listen to great singers of the early 20th century, such as Gigli, Caruso and Di Stefano, to learn how to sing on a stringed instrument. If you understand that, it can become your natural voice.

Photo: Kim Hansen/Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

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