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Featured Blog Posts (252)

The Montreal Violin Competition, Pt. III, The Finals

Strings contributor Laurence Vittes is blogging this week from the Montreal Violin Competition:

Of the three finalists who played Tuesday night at the Montreal Violin Competition, Belgium’s Marc Bouchkov, 22 years old, born into a distinguished family of Russian and Ukrainian musicians, emerged as the apparent winner. He was a student of Boris Garlitsky and Claire…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 15, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Catch Up With Casey Driessen's Fiddle/Sticks Project

View the first two episodes of Casey Driessen’s innovative Fiddle/Sticks project. Fiddle/Sticks is a collaborative exploration of rhythm that pairs this Grammy-nominated fiddler—a leading voice in percussive fiddle/violin technique (known as the chop)—with a list of the landmark drummers and percussionists of our time.

It serves as an inspirational and instructional resource for drummers, percussionists, fiddlers and everyone in the music community interested in pushing the boundaries…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 14, 2013 at 10:49am — No Comments

Live from Montreal: The Montreal Violin Competition, Pt.II

Strings contributor and blogger Laurence Vittes is reporting this week from the Montreal Violin Competition:

After the midnight Saturday announcement of the six finalists in the Montreal International Music Competition (MIMC), devoted this year to the violin, the survivors were given three days in which to practice and rehearse for their trials by concerto on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.



Added by Greg Cahill on May 14, 2013 at 10:48am — No Comments

Making a Cello, Part II

Strings corresponding editor James N. McKean writes:

Before I begin work on the rib structure, I join the top and the back. I want to let the joint rest before subjecting the plates to the stress of arching and graduating, but I'll also be using the back as a leveling plate to build the ribs on.

After I’ve run the two parts of the back through the joiner planer to level and roughly join them, I finish the joint with a beautiful old jack plane that my parents found for…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 13, 2013 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Live from Montreal

Strings contributor Laurence Vittes reports on the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and the city's concurrent violin competition.

Added by Greg Cahill on May 13, 2013 at 11:56am — No Comments

Making a Cello: Part One

Luthier and longtime Strings contributor James N. McKean writes:

By the time I left college to go to violin-making school I had been playing the violin for well over ten years—and yet I had not the slightest clue how the thing was made, much less how it worked.

Now, approaching the 40th anniversary of that day in early October when I arrived in Salt Lake City, every time I pick up my tools I’m still amazed at the instrument’s beauty. And by its acoustical…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 8, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments

5 Myths of Baroque String Playing

5 Myths of Baroque String Playing

1. Don’t vibrate

2. Don’t sustain or play legato

3. Swell on long notes

4. Play out of tune

5. Get a student violin, put gut strings on it, remove the chinrest, borrow a baroque bow and…


Added by Elizabeth Field on May 7, 2013 at 5:30pm — 2 Comments

Remembering Master Cellist & Teacher Janos Starker, 1924–2013

Even at an age when other string virtuosi have long since retired or continued to perform past their prime, master cellist Janos Starker could still astound audiences with his near-perfect intonation and impeccable phrasing, Strings contributor Robert Battey, who studied with Starker in the 1970s, wrote in a 2005 review of the cellist’s autobiography The World of Music According to Starker.

Death silenced that famous bow April 28, when Starker, 88, died in Bloomington,…


Added by Greg Cahill on April 29, 2013 at 2:32pm — No Comments

Catch Up with the Lindys in Indy. Say What!?

Catch up on all the action as Laurence Vittes follows the exploits of the Linden String Quartet at the American Pianists Association Classical Fellowship Awards competition in Indianapolis.

Added by Greg Cahill on April 19, 2013 at 3:45pm — No Comments

What's In MY Case?

Of all the awesome articles and interviews and columns in Strings magazine, my favorite is What's In the Case?  It's also the first thing I read when a new issue lands in my mailbox.  I love reading about other artists who are connected to their instruments on a deeper level that only another artist could appreciate.

We get attached to our instruments.  We describe them as having a soul.  Some of us see them as extensions of…


Added by Kevin Keating on April 4, 2013 at 7:06pm — 2 Comments

Attention String Students & Teachers: May 1 is the Deadline to Apply for the Edith Eisler Strings Magazine Scholarship.

Attention string students and teachers: Will you or someone you know be enrolled in a college or conservatory string program in the fall? May 1 is the deadline to apply for the Edith Eisler Strings Magazine Scholarship. Applications are open to all eligible string students enrolled in an accredited college or conservatory program and able to provide required proof of financial need. One $3,000 scholarship, plus a $1,000 gift certificate for purchases from Shar Music, will be awarded to a…


Added by Greg Cahill on March 28, 2013 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Casey Driessen Meets Futureman

Fiddle/Sticks: The Drummer Project by Casey Driessen is a collaborative exploration of rhythm which pairs Casey—the leading voice in percussive fiddle/violin technique (a.k.a. the Chop)—with a list of the landmark drummers and percussionists of our time. Cutting across all genres and traditions, the project documents these rhythmic explorations through recordings, videos, photos and journals. It serves as an inspirational and instructional resource for drummers, percussionists, fiddlers and…


Added by Greg Cahill on March 13, 2013 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Impassioned, Intelligent, Intense: Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter's Tribute to Polish Composer Lutoslawski

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist Lambert Orkis performed March 4 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco at a recital that unofficially marked the 25th anniversary of their union as chamber partners. Officially, the two musicians were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, and their passionate performance of his 1984 “Partita” was a big part of the reason Mutter and Orkis received multiple curtain…


Added by Greg Cahill on March 5, 2013 at 3:58pm — No Comments

ASTA 2013 Wrap Up

This year’s conference of the American String Teachers Association was held February 27–March 2, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Though attendance was slightly smaller than it has been for the past few years, this year’s ASTA conference was filled with workshops to nurture and inspire players and teachers; the annual competition of high school orchestras; and an exhibit floor of learning materials, prominent string educators and…


Added by Greg Olwell on March 4, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

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Added by Greg Cahill on February 14, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

Study: Violinists' Fates Rest in Their Left Pinky Fingers

According to a new article in the Atlantic:

"Here's something you can try at home: Hold down the index, middle, and ring fingers of your left hand, then try to bend your pinky. Now try it again, but allow your ring finger to bend as well.

"About 18 percent of people can do neither, according to a study in The Journal of Hand Surgery.…


Added by Greg Cahill on February 14, 2013 at 10:39am — No Comments

2013 Grammy Awards Gives a Nod the String Players

Several string players took home awards at the 55th Grammy awards held February 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Violist Kim Kashkashian won the “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” category for her album Kurtág & Ligeti: Music for Viola (read Corrine Ramey’s interview with Kaskahian in this month’s Strings magazine). Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan took home “Best Folk Album”…


Added by Greg Cahill on February 11, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Dispatch from Our Man in Colombia

LA-based music critic and longtime 'Strings' contributor Laurence Vittes—our man in Colombia—has posted a new blog from the 7th annual Cartagena Int'l Music Festival.

Added by Greg Cahill on January 7, 2013 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Violin Left Hand

violin left hand

What is the most important issue for the left hand is for it to be relaxed. There are different schools of thought of how the left hand should be. Some violinists play with the fingerboard resting on the web of the hand between the thumb and index finger. This is based on the Russian school of violin playing training and is shown in the example…


Added by Heather Broadbent on January 5, 2013 at 11:44am — 2 Comments

Remembering Jascha Heifetz

December 10 is the 25th anniversary of Jascha Heifetz's passing. Read Katie Robbins' report on the Colburn School's restoration of the famous fiddler's studio. And view a video of violin instructor and Heifetz Chair holder Robert Lipsett in action in the studio, along with a photo gallery of artifacts found there.

Added by Greg Cahill on December 10, 2012 at 1:37pm — No Comments

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