VC VOX POP | “Have You Ever Played a Concert That Has Affected You for the Rest of Your Life?” [Q&A]

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

Julia Fischer Violin Violinist Cover

“Have you ever played a concert that has affected you for the rest of your life?”

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

German Violin Virtuoso, Julia Fischer:

“Quite a few actually … for different reasons … Shostakovich 1st concerto with Vladimir Jurowski at BBC Proms is certainly among them … it was our first performance together, after having waited for almost 5 years …” [PICTURED]

German-Canadian Cellist, Johannes Moser:

“At the very beginning of my career, I played in Rwanda … it was absolutely new music for the audience in Kigali … and they laughed and danced to Haydn and Saint-Saens … unforgettable.” 

Canadian Violin Soloist, James Ehnes:

“Absolutely … I think that in a way all concerts leave lasting effects … I think it’s important to treat every concert as an opportunity for learning and growth.”

Korean-American Violin Superstar, Sarah Chang:

“My New York Philharmonic debut when I was 8 years old … that one concert kickstarted my career and the rest of my life …”

French Cello Soloist, Gautier Capuçon:

“Yes … every concert changes me as a musician and as a man … every concert is part of the big picture …” 

Georgian Violin Virtuoso, Lisa Batiashvili:

“My debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2004 … that was when I fell in love with an entire orchestra …”

Canadian Cellist, Amanda Forsyth:

“I played a concert in youth orchestra where a large bee landed on me right before I played the Borodin solo … that was scary!”

Russian Violin Virtuoso, Ilya Kaler:

“Cannot think of any particular one …”

Dutch Violinist, Rudolf Koelman:

“Yes … actually quite a few but one sticks out … Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Kurt Sanderling at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw … 1999.”

Australian VC Artist Violinist, Ray Chen:

I’m the sort of person where every week I’ll excitedly call my mom and tell her “I’ve found a new technique!” or excitedly tell her about my “new sound”. So it goes that every year I’m fortunate to be deeply affected and inspired by many concerts, and I get to feel like I’m constantly reaching a new level.”

VC Artist Violinist, Stefan Jackiw:

“I think every concert I play has some role in my life … after all, our lives are the aggregate of every one of our experiences …”

Mozarteum University Salzburg Pedagogue, Pierre Amoyal:

“Alban Berg Violin Concerto … with Herbert Von Karajan … and the Berlin Philharmonic.”

South Korean Violinist, Dong-Suk Kang:

“I had my share of concerts which I would like to forget … when that happens, the impact stays with you for a long time … fortunately, there are more happier occasions which help you to keep going.”

Japanese Violin Pedagogue & Former Tokyo String Quartet Violinist, Koichiro Harada: 

“New York debut at Town Hall  … in 1972.”

Russian-born Austrian Violin Pedagogue, Boris Kuschnir:

“A concert in December 1969 … where I performed at the final of the All Union Competition in Leningrad …”

Russian-American Violinist, Philippe Quint:

“I can’t think of my own … but I can think of a few of other musicians that were unforgettable.”

American Concert Violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers:

“Years ago I played a recital that I knew would be the last performance I would give with a borrowed Guarneri del Gesu … every piece I performed was one step closer to its return and left me feeling depressed and miserable …”

Russian-German Violinist, Kirill Troussov:

“Yes  … my very first concert with orchestra when I was 7 … was just an amazing feeling to have such a power of an orchestra behind you on stage …”

Portuguese-American Violinist, Elmar Oliveira:


British Violinist, Alexander Sitkovetsky:

“There have been a few markers … some concerts that taught me more about myself or that were a culmination of certain things and an opening into a new phase of my development … my debut at the Concertgebouw with the wonderful and extremely missed Yakov Kreizberg back in 2009 is a memory that I won’t forget.”

Ukrainian-Israeli Violin Virtuoso, Vadim Gluzman:

“My first time playing at the Musikverein in Vienna made me realize that a great concert hall is a musical instrument in itself … ever since, my perception and appreciation of concert halls has changed.”

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

“I have been lucky enough to play a part in a few performances which I will remember forever … one that stands out was a performance of Shostakovich’s 8th quartet with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, violinist Maxim Vengerov and violist Yuri Bashmet … it was one of Slava’s last concerts and was truly a night I will always cherish.”

London Symphony Orchestra First Violinist “Queen of Bling”, Maxine Kwok-Adams:

“Probably leading the National Youth Orchestra in Mahler 3 at the Proms as a teenager … I’ll never forget it but the thought of it now makes me feel terrified!”

Armenian-American Violinist & Pedagogue, Ida Kavafian:

“Yes … a memorial for the firefighters from the Lincoln Center Station that died on 9/11 … I’ll never forget the raw emotion.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Violinist Malcom Lowe:

“I am reminded of a quote that was posted by a colleague … ‘It’s actually sweat, grind, tears, and perpetual unhappiness.” At the other end of our music life continuum is the intense, fulfilling expression and communication of music that is our raison d’être. I will mention the overwhelming joy of playing in the Boston Symphony Orchestra in concerts conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Bernard Haitink, and Andris Nelsons.”

VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:

“Messiaen Quartet … for the End of Time.”

VC Artist Cellist, Pablo Ferrández:

“Playing Brahms Double with Anne Sophie Mutter … London Phil … and Jurowski.”

VC Young Artist Violinist, Stephen Waarts:

“There are a couple for sure … the one that comes to mind first was playing the third movement of the Ravel Quartet when I was 16.”

VC Young Artist Violinist, William Hagen:

“I feel like every concert I play teaches me something new and affects me … but if I had to pick more specifically … I would say both of the times I’ve been lucky enough to play with Steven Isserlis …”

VC Rising Star Violinist, Anne Luisa Kramb:

“I think the first one … it’s that feeling you never want to give up again …”

VC Young Artist Violinist, Luke Hsu:

“Playing Beethoven Op. 70 No. 2 last summer … the news that a close mutual friend within the trio (and our pianist’s boyfriend) tragically passed away about five minutes before we went on stage was probably the most heartbreaking event I have experienced … we were told we didn’t have to perform, but our pianist insisted … even though no notes could bring him back alive, the beautiful Allegretto third movement couldn’t have felt more significant at the moment … for now, I’ve decided to stay away from the piece for awhile …”

VC Young Artist Cellist, Zlatomir Fung:

“The two memorial concerts that I’ve played in my life have revealed to me a depth of meaning in music that has totally changed my perspective on performing and music-making generally …”

VC Artist Calidore String Quartet Cellist, Estelle Choi:

“I was a kid performing Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody with lots of supportive friends cheering in the audience and I still remember the feeling of being so happy and excited about going on stage instead of nervousness and dread … it sparked my love for performance.”