Channel your inner virtuoso. I included this card because so often we sell ourselves short. Over the years I have had many experiences in which I saw a live performance, video or listened to an audio recording that inspired me to play much better than I thought possible. It is the combination of belief and the offer of new ideas. The saying “take what you like and leave the rest” is applicable here as well.
I encourage my students to listen to “dead people”as well as their living heroes. I wrote about this in a previous post about vibrato (3/1/2021). Since the advent of widely available sound recordings, violinists can hear each other more easily. One result of this proliferation of recordings is that violinists’ sound has become less distinct. The older recordings demonstrate a wider range of style including vibrato. I want my students to experience the full smorgasbord of possibilities.
Although I love the violinists on this card list, there definitely is a variety of living violinists that are worth checking out. Listen on a regular basis and be sure to explore a variety of recordings. Before the final printing of my card deck, Inspiration for Violinists, I contacted my good friends Mark and Deb Roe to look at them and offer suggestions for how to improve them. Deb is an amateur violinist and Mark is a power user of adobe who works for Lego. While looking over the deck, Mark offered to “fix” the image of Paganini on this card because it looked too faded out to him. I insisted this was done on purpose. I think it is important to not hold too strong an image, sound or life story of any one violinist in one’s psyche. Take what you like and leave the rest but at the same time, imagine your own image on this card. Below are some violinists I can recommend for your listening pleasure.
Black Violin musicians, Kevin Sylvester and Wilner Baptiste perform classical and hip hop violin and viola music. They perform their own compositions as well as reimagined masterworks.
These five violinists represent the “gold standard” among classical violinists: Itzhak Perlman, Hilary Hahn, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Midori, and Joshua Bell. You will never be disappointed by their recordings. They also frequently perform with major orchestras around the world. It’s definitely worth buying front row orchestra seats to see up front how they make their magic.
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia violinist, Natalie MacMaster, is one of the most famous Celtic fiddlers in world. She is prolific in terms of numbers of recordings and shows she has performed in her career. She is held in very high regard among folk music lovers.
American fiddler Mark O’Connor is highly regarded among both classical and folk violinists. In addition to his many recordings and concert appearances, he is also a composer and he has developed his own string method educational series.
Venezuelan violinist Jesus Florido is known for the wide range of styles he has mastered including classical, jazz, rock and latin music. He is also an active chamber musician.
Award winning American violinist Regina Carter is also known for performing a wide range of musical styles although I first discovered her jazz recordings. The music world has experienced many firsts as a result of her career as she is an internationally renowned jazz violinist and woman of color.