VC VOX POP | “What’s the Last Thing That Runs Through Your Mind as You’re Walking on Stage?” [Q&A]

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

Backstage Fedor Rudin Cover

What’s the very last thing that runs through your mind as you’re walking on stage?

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

VC Artist Violinist, Ray Chen:

“I always do this backstage countdown thing to the person opening the door for me … where I hold out my hand and count 5…4…3…2…1… and then as they open the door, I pull out the double hand-pistols and go “PEW PEW PEW!” … and then I walk on stage … basically it’s my way of being in control of the situation … I decide when I’m going to walk on stage, not someone else … and the double hand-pistols keep things real by making everyone laugh so that when I do walk out onto the stage, it’s with a smile on my face ….

VC Young Artist Violinist, Fedor Rudin:

“Sh*t … is my zipper up?” [PICTURED]

German-Japanese Concert Violinist, Arabella Steinbacher:

“I remind myself that it’s a gift to do what I do … and try to let go of all thoughts …”

Russian-born Violinist, Dmitry Sitkovetsky:

“I love going on stage … it is my domain, the place where I live my happiest moments … I just hope that it will be a special, inspired performance …”

Canadian Violinist, Lara St John:

“I’ve done it before … I can do it again … unless of course it’s a premiere …”

American Violinist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg:

“Showtime! … It’s like a decades old mantra for me … they open the backstage door … I feel the breeze from the hall … I say to myself “Showtime” … and I become someone else …”

VC Artist Violinist, Augustin Hadelich:

“Remember … you’re not a doctor … it’s not life or death!”

VC Artist Violinist, Stefan Jackiw:

“Remember … everyone is on my side …” 

British Violinist, Chloe Hanslip: 

Let’s have some fun!”

Colburn School of Music Violin Professor and Co-Director of String Chamber Music, Martin Beaver:

“I hope I remembered to zip up my fly!”

Israeli-born Cellist, Matt Haimovitz:

“Sing, sing, sing …”

American Violinist, Stephanie Chase:

“I make a supplication to the greater force to help me play my absolute best … when playing a concerto, I make sure that I protect my violin and bow from accidental encounters with orchestra members en route … and that I am not close to the edge of the stage … or too close to the conductor’s left arm”

Korean-American Violinist and New England Conservatory faculty member, Soovin Kim:

“Am I really about to do this?

Dutch Violinist, Noa Wildschut:

“I often hear the beginning of the piece I am going to perform in my head … and I tell myself … c’mon let’s enjoy this …”

American Violist and Instagram Star, ThatViolaKid, Drew Alexander Forde:

“I forgive myself for any mistakes or embarrassing things that may be about to happen …”

Violin Virtuoso and Fashion Model, Filip Pogady:

“Sleep! … All my senses are usually way too heightened to being able to have napped …”

Chinese-Cuban-American Cellist Sophia Bacelar:

“Um … do I need to pee?”

Australian Funster, TwoSet Violinist, Eddy ‘Shreddy’ Chen:

“Enjoy it … and give it your all … “

Australian Funster, TwoSet Violinist, Brett ‘Bang’ Yang:

“Let’s do this!”

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

“Usually because I’m wearing such ridiculously high shoes …  it’s … don’t trip!”

VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:

“What kind of food should I have after the concert?” 

VC Artist Cellist, Kian Soltani:

“The opening bars of the piece …”

Canadian VC Young Artist Violinist, Timothy Chooi:

“For a recital … do I have an extra e string in the case it breaks … and what is the first note of the concerto?”

Canadian VC Young Artist Violinist, Kerson Leong:

“The anticipation for the music making to start is indisputable … but did I check my fly?”

VC Rising Star, Kevin Miura:

“Actually, I don’t have any memory of what I’m thinking … next time, I’ll take note and tell you, ok?”

VC Young Artist Cellist, Aurélien Pascal:

“I love my job!”

VC Young Artist Violinist, Nathan Meltzer:

“C’mon … being nervous is a good thing …”

VC Young Artist Violinist, Marc Bouchkov:


VC Artist Violinist, Jennifer Pike:

“What’s the best way on to the stage …?”

VC Rising Star Violinist, Yesong Sophie Lee:

“I try to think positive thoughts like … I can do it …” 

Ariel Quartet Violist, Jan Grüning:

“Um … is my zipper definitely closed?”

VC Artist Dover Quartet Violinist, Bryan Lee:

“God help me!” 

VC Artist Dover Quartet Violist, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt:


VC Rising Star Violinist, María Dueñas:

“I try to think about how I am creating a gift for the audience … and that I need to give this opportunity my absolute best for all the people who have made it possible …”

VC Young Artist Violist, Timothy Ridout: 

“Usually I try to sing the first phrase of the piece under my breath as a walk on stage … to get in the mood of the music before I actually play the first note

VC Artist Violinist, Benjamin Beilman:

“I try to work up my emotions to whatever the opening phrase demands … If I nail the opening … everything else is easy”