VC VOX POP | “Are There Any Classical Musicians Who’ve Made You Star-Struck?” [Q&A]

"Are there any classical musicians who made you star-struck on your first meeting?"

Yo Yo Ma Daniel Barenboim Itzhak Perlman

“Are there any classical musicians who made you star-struck on your first meeting?”

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …

British Cello Soloist Steven Isserlis:

“Piatigorsky … whom i first met when i was 15 … I might have been more star-struck on my first proper meeting with Rostropovich, but he was eating his breakfast at the time – which made him seem more human …”

Canadian Violin Soloist James Ehnes:

“Plenty! … none more so than Isaac Stern – who I met as a little boy after a concert in Canada … “

Canadian Violin Soloist Lara St. John:

“Glenn Gould … I was 5 and already knew he was a really important musician  …. when he didn’t shake my hand, I cried … “

VC Artist Violinist Benjamin Beilman:

“Janine Jansen … I was seated next to her at a dinner recently and spent the entire night trying not to geek out too much …”

VC Artist Violinist Tessa Lark:

“The most serious fan-girl moment for me was when I met Leonidas Kavakos …. he actually introduced himself to ME … and my first words to him were: “Oh my God.. you’re my hero!”

Italian-German Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Augustin Hadelich:

“About 3 years ago, I ran into Murray Perahia at the airport … I’ve been a big fan for many years, but I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say …”

Australian Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Ray Chen:

“Itzhak Perlman – because he’s a living legend … and Janine Jansen – because she’s “Girl On Fire/ YAAAS Queen” …. Yo-Yo Ma … I tried to play cool when I met him but then he undermined my whole thing by being more excited to meet me …”

VC Artist Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu:

“Itzhak Perlman … when we shook hands, my hand literally disappeared into his huge palm …”

VC Artist Violinist Igor Pikayzen:

“I can’t say that I was ever star struck, but I do remember doing my best not to stare at Itzhak Perlman the whole time during my Juilliard audition …”

New England Conservatory Faculty Member, Violinist Paul Biss:

“I met Leonard Bernstein when I was 10 … the charisma that he had was unparalleled in my experience … “

Curtis Institute Faculty Member, Violinist Ida Kavafian:

“Not in the last 35 or so years … before that, Nathan Milstein and David Oistrakh …”

Veteran New England Conservatory Cello Pedagogue, Laurence Lesser:

“I’d have to say Jascha Heifetz – he was somewhat scary and very unpredictable … I played and recorded chamber music with him and that feeling never diminished …”

Curtis Institute Violin Pedagogue, Aaron Rosand:

“O yes … Jascha Heifetz …”

German Violin Soloist David Garrett: 

“Star-struck no, but for the people I admire I always have a feeling of very strong respect … such as for my teachers Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern and Ida Haendel – even after we got very close and knew each-other well …”

VC Young Artist Violinist In Mo Yang:

“When I was 7, I saw Sarah Chang playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto in Seoul and I was completely in awe …”

Korean-American Violin Soloist Sarah Chang:

“Yes. Isaac Stern and Yo Yo Ma”

Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, VC Artist Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley:

“I was quite star-struck the first time I met Yo-Yo Ma …. and meeting Cecilia Bartoli after going to her concert was a thrill …”

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

“Without a doubt! …. Aaron Rosand, Henryk Szeryng, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Leonard Bernstein … just to name a few!”

French Violinist Augustin Dumay:

“Nathan Milstein, Arthur Grumiaux, Herbert von Karajan, Seiji Ozawa, Iván Fischer and Maria João Pires … I met each of them on stage …”

American Violin Soloist Anne Akiko Meyers:

“Arvo Pärt, Wynton Marsalis and Tony Bennett…”

Milwaukee Symphony Concertmaster, Frank Almond:

” … the closest was probably Yo Yo Ma … but he was so kind and normal and generous that I honestly thought it was sort of an act … but it wasn’t … he is one of my favorite people – musician or not …”

Russian-American Violin Soloist Philippe Quint:

“Meeting Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman was quite intimidating …”

Cellist Zuill Bailey:

“Mstislav Rostropovich made me very star-struck … 1988, I was 16 years old … he was truly larger than life…”

Violin Soloist Arnaud Sussmann:

Definitely the first time I met Itzhak Perlman when I was 16 years old …”

VC Artist Violinist Paul Huang:

“Mischa Maisky and Anne-Sophie Mutter”

VC Artist Violinist Bella Hristova:

“Yo-Yo Ma – and he was SO nice!”

VC Young Artist Violinist Kerson Leong:

“There have been many …”

VC Young Artist Violinist Fedor Rudin:

“Rostropovich … as much musically as humanly…”

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Concertmaster, VC Artist Violinist Nikki Chooi:

“Pinchas Zukerman – back in the day when I met him through an internet video broadband connection for a lesson …”

American Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Stefan Jackiw:

“Christian Tetzlaff and Gidon Kremer”

VC Artist Cellist Kian Soltani:

“Certainly when i met Barenboim for the first time … but i had to audition for him right after so it wasn’t the best time to seem shocked…”

Time For Three Violinist, VC Artist Charles Yang:

“Still can’t get over the fact I spent 6 years studying with one of my all-time idols, Glenn Dicterow … “

VC Young Artist Violinist William Hagen:

“I get totally star-struck when I meet anybody that I admire …. Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Christian Tetzlaff, Steven Isserlis, Valery Gergiev, Gustavo Dudamel, Gidon Kremer… but I have learned that everyone is actually very normal … we’re all just individuals …”