“What are your pre-concert rituals?”
The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …
Russian-born Violinist, Dmitry Sitkovetsky:
“I make sure that I have enough time to play through the piece I am about to perform slowly ... and I try not to talk too much before going on stage ... silence is very precious and important for what I am about to do"
American Violinist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg:
"I try to take a little nap ... shower ... coffee ... then play through the same warm up exercises I’ve done for years ... the very last thing I do before walking onstage is put my heels on"
British Violinist, Chloe Hanslip:
"I really enjoy the process of getting ready and into the right headspace for a concert ... I will put on make-up, dress and heels, warm up by going through some passages slowly ... have some chocolate ... and last but not least, do a few jumps just before walking out on stage"
Ariel Quartet Violinist, Gershon Gerchikov:
“Walking in circles and washing hands frequently enough to qualify for a OCD diagnosis”
Korean-American Violinist and New England Conservatory faculty member, Soovin Kim:
"Coffee ... and possibly chocolate"
Colburn School of Music Violin Professor and Co-Director of String Chamber Music, Martin Beaver:
"I like a good meal, a nap and a rehearsal or some quiet warming up backstage ... however, Mother Nature and the airlines sometimes manage to disrupt this routine"
VC Artist Dover Quartet Violist, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt:
“I always need to have a satiated stomach before going on stage, so I make sure to have eaten recently ... other than that, I don’t have rituals, because to me it places too much pressure on circumstances being the same - which they can’t always be"
German-Japanese Concert Violinist, Arabella Steinbacher:
“Meditation ... and eating lots of power food”
Kronberg Academy Pedagogue & Violinist, Mihaela Martin:
"For me, I don't take long naps (maximum 30 minutes) ... I don't socialize too much ... and I warm up well - but try not to play too much in the afternoon"
American Violinist, Stephanie Chase:
"For an evening concert, I have a late and fairly substantial lunch ... whenever possible, I will take a nap before the concert and will watch something very distracting on tv while I get dressed .... usually, I will eat some yogurt and a banana while I am getting ready ... at the hall, I warm up for about 20 minutes before I play - and I avoid speaking to people"
VC Artist Violinist, Ray Chen:
“Front zipper fly - check ... then countdown for the door: 5...4...3...2...1... then I whip out the finger pistol PEW PEW PEW!”
VC Artist Violinist, Stefan Jackiw:
“I eat a large, late lunch, followed by a nap ... I like to arrive at the concert hall an hour before I'm set to go on ... that hour backstage is a kind of panicked fever dream, but I try to do a lot of calm, slow playing, and some diaphragmatic breathing ... but I often end up surfing the Internet on my phone and texting for most of the time"
VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:
“Ironing my own concert shirt has been something that calms me down before a concert ... I make sure my stomach is not empty and that I've taken a nice long shower before heading to the hall ... I like to make sure my violin is always clean ... and I occasionally play., Jenga with colleagues backstage"
VC Artist Cellist, Kian Soltani:
“Don’t have any specifics ... just get a good afternoon sleep ... and practice till the very last second”
Russian-American Violin Soloist, Philippe Quint:
“1. ... I turn off my phone one hour before the show so I can be alone and concentrate on the piece ... and 2. the complete opposite ... I try to go out and be around people and not think about the concert until it's time to go on stage"
Canadian Violin Soloist, Lara St John:
"I shower on the day of concerts with a left hand rubber glove on so as to not soften calluses on my fingers"
Dutch Violinist, Noa Wildschut:
“I often play the piece I’m going to perform in a slow tempo ... I take time to relax and try to seek some distractions ... I also like to put on my concert dress quite early as it somehow makes me more focused"
VC Artist Violinist, Benjamin Beilman:
“Sleep ... and coffee”
VC Young Artist Violinist, Timothy Chooi:
“If the concert is at night, I would take a walk or meet with people in the morning ... in the afternoon, I would reserve 30 minutes for a nap, shower and play through the entire repertoire at half tempo ... then I would head to the hall 1 hour before and get settled"
VC Young Artist Violinist, Marc Bouchkov:
“I don't really have a routine ... but if possible, I try to sleep for a bit"
VC Young Artist Violist, Timothy Ridout:
“I try to have a nap ... eat something light ... drink a lot of water ... and play some scales!“
Australian Funster, TwoSet Violinist, Brett ‘Bang’ Yang
"I usually tune ... then realize there’s no point"
Violin Virtuoso & Fashion Model Filip Pogady:
"I don't like practicing much on the day of the concert ... warming up half an hour before, for me, is plenty ... that way I have enough energy to give it my all on stage ... a nap before the concert is always great too"
VC Rising Star Violinist, Kevin Miura:
“I always have bananas, protein bars and green tea before performances ... and, I always eat 2 Altoids mints - which I keep in my case”
VC Rising Star Violinist, Yesong Sophie Lee:
“I have a series of rituals which I keep secret - as I'm a superstitious person ... but I can tell you ... I drink lots of water, try to eat something ... and like to warm up for at least an hour and a half before going on stage”
VC Young Artist Cellist, Aurélien Pascal:
“I usually focus on my breathing whilst doing some basic warm up exercises on my cello ... I usually eat a small banana or a sugar treat in my dressing room and I always wash my hands with cold water just before going on stage”
VC Artist Violinist, Jennifer Pike:
“Sleep ... fresh air ... bananas ... and a good warm-up!"