VC VOX POP | “What Essentials Do You Keep in Your Instrument Case?” [Q&A]

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

Inside Violin Case

“What essentials do you keep in your instrument case?”

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

Itzhak Perlman:

“In my instrument case I have rosin, mutes, extra strings … glasses for reading music … and two extra bows”

Australian Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Ray Chen:

“Spare sets of strings, rosin, handkerchiefs … and an assortment of Sharpie pens that I’ve accidentally stolen from the signing desk …”

Canadian Violin Soloist Lara St. John:

“Other than the basics … rosin, strings, etc … I have a letter from Saskatchewan bowmaker Brian Johnson citing that two of my bows’ frogs are made with buffalo horn and mammoth ivory …”

Time For Three Violinist, VC Artist Charles Yang:

“Violin, 2 bows, rosin, Xtra pack-o-strings … nail clipper … and travel mute.”

VC Artist Cellist Kian Soltani:

“Always extra strings of course … rosin, mutes, nail clipper … I cut my nails dangerously short before performances … and my little white blanket … without which I would never go on stage, it’s my lucky blanket … I like the texture of it and it gives me a feeling of security …”

Curtis Institute Faculty Member, Violinist Ida Kavafian:

“My case is very small now so it fits very little … aside from the necessities I have a spare pair of earrings, a “pickboy” 5 line staff liner pen, a nail file and clippers, eye drops … and crazy glue for split fingers …”

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Concertmaster, VC Artist Violinist Nikki Chooi:

“Nail clipper … alcohol swabs … breath mints”

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

“Music, rosin, shoulder rest, mutes, strings, extra chin rest, Advil, dampits, cufflinks and extra shoulder rest feet …”

German Violin Soloist David Garrett: 

“Obviously a few bows … when I play a lot, especially during the crossover shows, often the hairs rip … I also have a lot of strings with me … I like to change the strings every 2 to 3 weeks …. and sometimes I keep a necklace in my case …”

Russian-American Violin Soloist Philippe Quint:

“Cloth, rosin, shoulder rest, several sets of strings and most importantly a copy of the FAA instrument on board regulations …”

New England Conservatory Faculty Member, Violinist Paul Biss:

“An array of quite eclectic, unusual things: steel wool to clean my strings … three miniature elephants …. all given to me by family and close friends as good luck charms … I love elephants and have collected them for years … I always have the miniature manuscript version of the Bach solo sonatas and partitas …”

British Cello Soloist Steven Isserlis:

“Rosin, strings, hotel mute … photos …”

Cellist Zuill Bailey:

“I always have plenty of extra strings … I also always carry a protective slip that goes over the cello to insure the bows don’t go on top of the cello when the case is shut … also, for safe keeping, the piece of music I am working on is always safely behind the case …”

French Violinist Augustin Dumay:

“A photo of my family … strings … 4 bows … some scores … I always use a double violin case which allows me to have an “office” part in my box … “

Veteran New England Conservatory Cello Pedagogue, Laurence Lesser:

“Spare strings, rosin, mutes, and peg dope …”

Curtis Institute Violin Pedagogue, Aaron Rosand:

“Many strings, rosin, cleaning cloth, tweezers for string changes …. heavy sound mute and regular sound mutes … and a hazelnut for lubricate gut strings …”

Canadian Violin Soloist James Ehnes:

“I usually keep 3 or 4 bows … rosin, nail clippers, tweezers, at least two sets of new strings, several favorite mutes and a clamp … in the music pocket I always have a couple of pencils, a Sharpie … some pictures of my family …”

Italian-German Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Augustin Hadelich:

“I carry three sets of extra strings and one set of used strings for emergencies … since my violin case is the one item I keep an eye on at all times, I often put my passport in there also and anything else I really can’t afford to lose …”

Korean-American Violin Soloist Sarah Chang:

“My passport, a print out of my schedule, some makeup, a sewing kit for last minute backstage emergencies … and some cough drops …”

Violin Soloist Arnaud Sussman:

“All the essentials … lots of spare strings, rosin, dampits, peg dope, nail clippers … a nail file, chinrest key … lots of extra pencils, all kinds of mutes … plus all kinds of cloths to keep my instrument clean …”

American Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Stefan Jackiw:

”Violin, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, extra strings …. I’m a minimalist.” 

VC Young Artist Violinist In Mo Yang:

“A violin, three bows, a shoulder rest, strings, a rosin, a stretto humidifier … mutes … and two pictures of my family …”

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

“In addition to the obvious rosin, set of strings and a shoulder rest … I make sure to have mutes … never good to show up to a orchestra rehearsal without a mute …  I also have alcohol swipes to clean my strings, a few pencils … and a comb …” 

VC Artist Violinist Tessa Lark:

“Strings, rosin, music, mutes … a rag for wiping the instrument, fingernail clippers, at least one pencil … two good-luck charms from my mother … and Aleve …”

VC Artist Violinist Benjamin Beilman:

“I definitely don’t need any extra distractions when I’m supposed to be practicing so I keep my case fairly uncluttered … just the basics – strings, rosin, pencils and a few notes from loved ones …”

VC Artist Violinist Bella Hristova:

“Strings, my Bakers rosin, nail clippers, hair ties, mutes … and of course photos …” 

VC Artist Violinist Paul Huang:

“Strings, rosin, iPhone charger, superglue for cuts … music … passport … and soap …”

VC Artist Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu:

“Rosin, strings, wool cloth, metal mute, humidifier …. and most importantly … a photo of my mom and I at the Great Wall when I was 5 years old …”

VC Artist Violinist Igor Pikayzen:

“Besides the basics … a nice set of cufflinks and usually at least two nail clippers …. I’m absolutely obsessed with my nails being the perfect length … if they are even a millimeter too long … it annoys me …”

VC Young Artist Violinist Fedor Rudin:

“Besides the violin, bow, strings and accessories … of course, pencils … my passport … cufflinks … and a comb …”

VC Young Artist Violinist Kerson Leong:

”I have a tendency to keep my case light and free of anything but the most basic accessories … less weight on my shoulders …”

VC Young Artist Violinist William Hagen:

“I keep all things violin-related … and some general first aid stuff like band-aids and ibuprofen … since I have Type 1 diabetes, I also keep sugar in my case in case of emergency …”