Watch the Indianapolis Competition Livestream

Happy Holidays Play List!

December 24, 2015, 1:08 PM · Happy holidays from us at!

The weather at last has a little nip in it here in Pasadena, Calif., where down the road they are assembling stadium seating along the street for the Rose Parade in a week. My eldest is home from her first semester in college, and my youngest just got his drivers' permit. How time flies!

One thing remains always: music. And this time of the year, music can be, in popular psychiatric terms, such a trigger! There's the ubiquitous holiday music in the mall, the cynical ploy to open one's wallet by tugging at one's heartstrings. For me this often has an opposite, Scrooge-like effect. Then there is "Silent Night," at a midnight service in a church that I don't even attend, that nonetheless brings me to tears. What a time of the year.

Julia Fischer

But I still love holiday music. And in that vein, I've assembled some videos — a few selections from violinists and other classical artists, some serious, some not. Please add your suggestions to this list, which is by no means complete! (And if you are looking for more, here is last year's list of videos.)

* * *

If you need a little more than winter weather to make you shiver, have a listen to Julia Fischer's "Winter" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons":

He makes it sounds so easy! Joshua Bell nonchalantly throws all kind of tricks - harmonics, lefthand pizzicato, bariolage, double stops, just really tricky playing -- into this Nutcracker medley with the a capella vocal group "Straight No Chaser" from the holiday album, Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends:

The Salt Lake City-based The Piano Guys have put together a lot of clever mashups -- this is their classic from about four years ago, "Carol of the Bells" for 12 cellos -- but one cellist, Steven Sharp Nelson. They have a knack for creating fun video, as well:

In 1944, Jascha Heifetz recorded his own arrrangement of "White Christmas" and we've all been looking for the transcription ever since! This Christmas, Berklee arranger Nate Sabat created a violin-and-piano setting, inspired by the Heifetz arrangement of the Irving Berlin work. Last week was the first performance of the new arrangement, played by violinist Chloe Kiffer and pianist Stefan Petrov at the "(Daniel) Heifetz Holiday Homecoming" in Francis Auditorium on the campus of Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA.:

I came across this quartet version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- a rather simple concert video from 2011, but what a lovely sound and vibrato these guys have, I had to listen to the end. This was a student group from The Royal Academy of Music that called themselves the Fisher Sinfonia:

Please feel free to add your own links (or embed the video) in the comment section below. And happy holidays!

You might also like:


This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Virtual Sejong Music Competition
Virtual Sejong Music Competition

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Coltman Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC



Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine