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 …

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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 …

Superstar Violinist 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"

Cellist, VC Artist 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 ..."

Canadian Violinist, 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 ... "

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 ..."