Immersing yourself in a musical career that works with stringed instruments happens to be one of the toughest ordeals for artists. Finding one’s way around all the strings and codes and learning the exact spots to touch, the right pressure to apply to bring about the sound that’s needed and also the correct level of tightness to be applied all form challenging aspects for most players. That’s why many end up just singing music or playing the piano or something easier. Nonetheless, the beauty in finding the chords and beats with a sound instrument is that you learn to make music out of anything. It builds in one a level of creativity and awareness that’s hard to attain using other instruments.
Time has presented masters upon grand masters of stringed instruments, especially violinists. Some of them have emerged to be influential philosophers who have shaped the way we perceive music amongst other different things. Once in a while, it is crucial to give cognition to such symbols who are idolized even after their deaths. After all, they help us shape our own stories.
The Best Violinists of All Time
Most of these icons started out training at a very tender age. Learning to play can start as early as 6 years and has several advantages attached to it. These include a higher sense of intelligence, stress reduction as one enter a meditative trance, unleash creativity as well as building one’s social standing and interactions, brings about a healthy heart as negative energy is released, as well as improving memory span and one’s attention.
Jascha Heifetz (1901-1974)
When you make your name in the business as the undisputed one and maintain that same appearance for 6 decades, then you are only bound to be herald, even long after you’re 6 feet under. He created a recording legacy that made him appear a supernatural and not just a mere mortal. His 65-year long career started at only the tender age of 5 and at 19, some magazine had already noted how he made God jealous with his flawless techniques. He was also an influential leader and is recognized with establishing ‘911’ as the emergency call line. He also led crusades to fight for fresh air and elimination of smog and became a perfect example of his fight and beliefs by converting his Renault passenger car in 1967 into an electronic vehicle.
Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840)
He lived in a time void of instant worldwide communications, yet his classical play and fame garnered an extraordinarily mythical scope. Other than the violin, he also was a master composer and played the guitar with such adorable poise. By 1832, his name had earned him such massive wealth and power that in the coming year, he settled down in a posh apartment in Paris. He was a flamboyant showman who fancied the stage and was always exceptional amongst audiences. Even if he later indulged himself in alcohol and gambling becoming an addict, he never lost sight of the actual game with his stringed-instrument.
Sarah Chang (1980-Date)
History isn’t really history if it fails to give recognition to individuals in existence at today – at the time of writing this article. This American nationalist has not escaped our list and is recognized as one of the many musicians making a difference in the music scene. As a matter of fact, in a 2006 issue, Sarah Chang was labeled under one of the top 20 women in, “Women and Leadership, 20 Powerful Women Take Charge”. She was later honored in 2008 as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for all her professional achievements. What a violinist!
Viktoria Mullova (1959-Date)
Name the stage or the audience or city of performance, and she’s probably been there and done it. She won her first prize in 1980 and proceeded to best her performance getting her very first gold in 1982 at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. She will humor her audience with her defector tales from the Soviet Union until she managed to acquire political asylum with her lover in the United States. Follow her on Twitter for her latest updates on recent works and accomplishments.
Meet the Lebanese violin artist with two brothers who are in professional music too. This teacher is well known for his Arab style of instrumental improvisation. He has dominated the Middle Eastern scenes and partnered with a whole bunch of musicians making him not only loved and respected but also popular and influential. He has a certain reputation as a reputable instrumentalist accompanist with a very strong command of maqamat. It’s only fair to describe him as the dreaming diaspora violinist who’s aiming to put the Arab music somewhere notable on the global scale.
Nathan Mironovich Milstein (1904-1992)
When you spend 7 good decades of your life perfecting an art so dear as playing the violin, you are only bound to win yourself a Grammy Award or two, which would definitely mark the hallmark of your career. This fete he managed to pull off in the year 1975 for his recording of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas. The Ukrainian went deep into his career even after reaching 80 and only called it quits after suffering a broken hand. The stars were shining on him since the very start as at the tender age of 11; he was placed in the hands of the very gifted Leopold Auer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. All this would culminate to his American debut in 1929 where he played alongside Philadelphia Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski. As a composer and a renowned transcriber, one of his best works happens to be Paganiniana.
Gil Shaham (1971-Date)
Described by the New York Times as one of today’s preeminent violinists, the Israeli-born American artist seems to have it all. The young Grammy Award winner was also named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America. Although young touring the world is nothing new to this personality as his services have been demanded by orchestra concerts all over the world. Follow the auspicious violinists as he skydives into his career and brings us more creative plays.
Anne-Sophie Mutter (1963-Date)
In a world where men occupy almost every bit of it, Sophie astonished the masses since her start-up works and partnerships with appraised conductors such as Herbert von Karajan. She does a notable combo of some sexy old favorites with a tone of modern works endowing her with an enviable musical versatility and an unparalleled prominence in the classical music arena. At only 55 and she is still a beauty to behold – the same could be said for her refreshing piece of art.
David Oistrakh (1908-1974)
You know you’re doing astoundingly well when both Khachaturian and Shostakovich dedicate their violin concertos to you. This legendary Russian violinist started out his close relationship with the violin at only 5 and proceeded to his debut performance at age 6. He amassed universal attention as soon as he emerged the winner in the 1937 Ysaye Competition in Brussels where he bested 67 violinists from 21 different countries. He would later join a trio group consisting of a pianist and a cellist and formed a relationship that lasted 23 years. The teacher would, later on, impart his knowledge of the violin to his son, Igor Oistrakh, and he would then perform with him in later years. His good relationship with the Soviet Union finally managed to acquire him principal cultural ambassador position to the West in live concerts and recordings.
Ginette Neveu (1919-1949)
Meet the girl wonder who never was! In a tough competition in the Wieniawski Competitions, the young beauty proved to be the better of David Oistrakh. She had even begun making classical recordings before her fateful plane crash at the prime of her youth – 30 years – which claimed her life. It’s a sorrow just contemplating all the wonders that these set of French hands could have accomplished had she managed to live a few more years.
Pasha Cazan (Present)
The gorgeous artist who discovered the graceful art of violin playing at only 3 years is right here in the Middle East, and she plans to stay. Genetics must have had a serious play here as she knew her instruments quite well by 8 years and had even started assembling prices throughout the nation. The young and sassy ambitious violinist has traveled different parts ranging from Pakistan to Japan, Lebanon to Egypt and even made visitations to Cuba and Brazil enabling her to indulge in varied cultures. As a result, she stands out from the rest as a musician with a different approach to music, all of which is visible right from her play.
Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)
Making it in the “Who’s Who” list of the 19th Century, we present to you the master, the legend, the kingpin! The exotic Spanish decided to make a life in Paris, France and made a unique profile for himself in the film industry. He is featured in the fictional detective movie Sherlock Holmes who finds himself and his sidekick Dr. Watson spending a day in a Sarasate concert (watch “The Red-Headed League”). The prolific performer would later on forge deals and friendly relations between Germany and French which extended from the artistic to military affairs. Most of his works were published in Germany and include The Concert Fantasies on Carmen of 1883 and Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Tunes) of 1878.
Better performances are bound to happen in the future; when it comes to violin playing, the violinist will always have some thrilling surprise in store for you, and the very experienced ones will have you on your feet as you award them a standing ovation. Violin playing is a physical art with pretty interesting traditions behind it. Therefore, take hold of your violins with the perfect knowledge that the longer you keep it silent, the harder it becomes for it to find its truest voice again – play, play and play some more!