What factors make a violinist worldwide known and famous?
Hi everyone, I have a question and have been wondering for long time, but cannot encounter a proper answer, the question is how to or what factors crucial to make a violinist famous and well-known worldwide rather than regional, why some violinists are more popular and some remain unknown or neglected? Some have more recordings and more cooperation while some not?
I am living in italy and since childhood I have listened a lot of recordings of Italian violinists, for example, Uto Ughi, Alfredo Campoli, Franco Gulli, Felix Ayo, Accardo, Giocconda de Vito, Giovanni Angeleri, Massimo Quarta (I admire the last one most).... also there is one who performs Paganini concertos who impressed me a lot: Alexander Dubach (but he is German-speaking Swiss, not Italian, he is former pupil of Accardo). Among above mentioned violinists only S Accardo has been well-known by people from other parts of world while the others still remain neglected and not as popular as violinists from other countries (e.g. Russia, Germany, United States... especially Jewish virtuosi). However, I do not find these less popular violinists have inferior techniques, some of them even have better skills (as some of them are laureates of premiopaganini) and better performance than those well-known versions (for example in terms of Paganini), so what is the cause of this phenomenon? Maybe it is caused by their labels? For example once signed by DG one will become more concerned by public and this circle? Thanks in advance.
Charisma, management, connections, publicity, enemies, etc.
Hi Andrew Victor:
Not sure what he's referring to there, but I read somewhere that Aaron Rosand felt he was somehow held back by Isaac Stern.
Andrew summed it up (of course the given is that you actually have to play well).
HI Paul Deck:
Just like professions, it's called being successful and it's mostly luck, and how much charm the person has.
I'll tell you what -- anyone who says they got to where they are without any luck is just fooling himself. I don't know about "mostly luck" as Yinmui says, but there's luck. If you come in second in four different competitions, you won't have the same solo career as the person who got one first prize, and those competitions often hinge on a razor's-edge distinction in the minds of judges who have their own internal biases to say the least. Then too, you can win a spectacular competition and have your name in the headlines but burn yourself out getting there, I wonder if that is what happened to Lazar Berman, Olga Kern, etc. They are pianists but you can look at the laureates of the Queen Elizabeth Competition and you may see names that have you scratching your head wondering who they are and why you never hear about them. There's an incredibly handsome and gifted young man who is in one of the Vengerov masterclass videos who learned an Ysaye Sonata in three weeks and you cannot find his name anywhere now. What happened? I know great great violinists who hurt their hands in accidents. Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg came within half a millimeter of the end of her career, for a time she had to refinger her concertos to use only three fingers. Can you imagine that?
I will tell you how ridiculous it really is when it comes to fame. Sometimes it can be a person's name that gets them very far. I mean literally a name, first name and last name. Yeah, that can get you fame, because your name sounds nice.
If we talk about the same level, then Personality plays the main role, I think. And a chance for publicum to see it. It actually happens even at the local music school level. The most charming or most kind or most extraordinary children get the most support from local publicum on our concerts. And average behaviour is not catching people attention. To be honest, our children are equally bad, but some of them are really popular in our village and are kind of local stars, recognized in candy shops and getting discounts at ice cream cafe.
Franco Gulli was a violin professor at Indiana when I was there and was very well respected. I realize that's still not the same as star power, but violinists in the U.S. certainly know who he was.
Paul Deck said "Not sure what he's referring to there, but I read somewhere that Aaron Rosand felt he was somehow held back by Isaac Stern." and that was the enemy situation I was recalling.
Hi everyone, I find another factor fatal to career of a violinist: AGE.
Wow, you seem to be mixing and confusing various terms:
Hi Tim Ripond:
Josef Gingold was very well known in the US, but as a concertmaster and teacher, not a soloist.
Fame is overrated (which is not to say that every very famous artist does not deserve said recognition.) It's only a pity when not being as well recognized as others prevents them from recording and/or being heard more often.
Well, most violinists you were complaining about, if not all, were italians, so yeah, one may think that you simply want them Italian violinists to be famous because you're are Italian or live in Italy.
Hi Tim Ripond:
With respect to musicians from any country, it probably helps to leave the home country and go develop connections in a country with a bigger market, like the US, UK, or Germany. Chances might improve if they study with certain teachers or win a big competition outside of their home country.
Well, technique is also subjective. You can say that someone's staccato is better than other's, but that's just your opinion. Technique is important but not the ultimate goal. One with way superior technique can totally fail at playing one piece if starts to use bow strokes that don't fit at all, or the tempo election is bad, or the sound is not chosen correctly: intensity, etc...
I'd say it's because they participated in (and won) internationally well-known competitions, are signed with big record labels, went to top conservatories etc. where they gained recognition & contacts.
@ Tutti Violino: I don't understand your comment to me, what cases have to do with gurus.
You need to be in the right place. The right places are London, NYC, Berlin. Italy is not high among those places.
As to the good-looking aspect: very few stars performers are really better looking than other people their age. Actually most performers look pretty wornout most of the time. But they do have excellent stylists.
...and Photoshop does wonders for press images!
Excuse me Musafia:
What I am saying is that some musicians "add" their personal visual aesthetics to music.
Yeah, and that means that some get up there partly because they are selling their image or look, that can mean going to concerts wearing provocative dresses, or clearly using your "good looking" face to catch attention. Labels also want to sell as much as possible, so they don't care what artists do to promote themselves.
I think that younger players today sound too much alike. Very high level playing, but little individuality. Many of the great players of the past had their own style and sound. Two of the most recognizable violinist of the 20th Century were Heifetz and Grappelli. Just hearing a bit of their recordings and you knew who it was that was playing.
Just last week I told the story about when Chubby Checker called me darlin. The two people I was talking to looked at me, "Who?"
Younger players are growing up in a system where arbiters of taste say that if you play like, oh, Kreisler, you are not respecting the wishes of the composer or the boundaries of good taste.
I really think it's a matter of right place, right time. Some freshman in my high school is considered the best violin player because she played the electric violin for like 1 minute in a concert, and I am not. Even though we're friends, I kinda hate that people regard a person playing in Book 4 Suzuki as better than the guy that finished Praelidium and Allegro and even 3 of the 4 seasons
I agree with Paul. Luck is very important. Obviously, luck won't make a bad player good, but luck certainly plays a role, starting with your family circumstances.
A good product doesn't guarantee sales success. I receive many entrepeneurs with a great idea of a product but a very vague strategy about how to reach and engage customers. They believe in "customer intelligence" (an oxymoron) and that clients will go to them. Those businesses always fail.
I absolutely agree that good looks is important, but it seems to unfairly affect female violinists than males. I wonder why :)
This makes illuminating, if unfortunately sad reading, on this topic:
Of the Italian violinists in the OP's posts, the only one I never heard of was Giovanni Angeleri-and likely my fault, for not paying attention. You can add Vincenzo Bolognese to his list (I first heard of him as the editor of the Boccaccini & Spada editions of the Paganini Concerti, but he's great too). But my point is I know about and have heard most of them, so they are both recognized and relatively "famous".
HI Adalberto, I also know Vincenzo Bolognese, leccese, the same as Massimo Quarta, he is violinist of former Accademia Santa Cecilia and now in Teatro Opera di Roma, now concertomaster, has several recordings like Ysaye, Tartini, Paganini. Enzo started to learn violin at 7 from his parents because his parents were both violinists, and his sorellina also plays viola. Enzo was pupil of Felix Ayo and Salvatore Accardo, and I also saw video of his performance in 1986, two students diplomata con massimo de voti from Conservatorio Santa Cecilia, one is Enzo, from class of Ayo, and another one is Massimo Quarta, from class of Bice Antonioni, at that time, people considered Enzo to be more prestigious but unfortunately Enzo only got fourth prize in PremioPaganini 1987 while Quarta won first prize in 1991. I listened several recordings of these two violinists finding in earlier days Enzo was better while in the end of 90s Quarta came better as there are more recordings of Quarta.
I would add Cristiano Rossi to this list, I heard him in Piacenza once playing the Kurt Weill concerto, superlative.
Oh, I also want to add Marco Rizzi to the list, I enjoy his Bach Partita
Of course, Marco Rizzi, excellent soloist, but he lives in Germany for some time now. He's a friend and I've heard him play live many times.
Jim, your example was simply eclipsed by the Beatles almost immediately he'd reached the top. A twist of fate, so to speak.
When I type "Leila Josefowicz" in Google search, it pops up with the following common searches:
In the documentary 'Art of Violin' Perlman says (as I recollect) that if anyone has a career after 40 it is a miracle: 'so many things can go wrong.' Several violinists felt held back by Stern, and others felt supported. It is easy to come across soloist level musicians who had no or only a minor career for a variety of reasons.
Don't forget that another factor is posting on violinist.com! Whether the consequence for the individual is fame, infamy or anonymity is for history to decide :)
A good marketing combined with having something that the people like. It's pretty muchh the only thing that matter for commercial success. Look at Lindsey Stirling for example.
I think good looks is a very minor factor. Especially if you are not particularly bad looking. It is more about how good of an photograph you know and/or can afford.
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