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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Your greatest violin moment

August 31, 2007 at 4:15 PM

We live for those moments of transcendence; they keep us going through all the challenges presented by the fiddle.

What brought you your greatest violin moment? Was it your college recital? Was it when you played as a soloist for the New York Phil? (I'm dreamin', here!) Was it simply a moment of inspiration while listening to someone else play? Was it an orchestra concert? You probably have had a number of these kinds of moments, but pick the very best one!

Note: if you voted in the poll before I put "playing in a chamber group" up there, please vote again, I had to re-do the poll!

From Kelsey Z.
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 4:19 PM
I guess I am the first to vote! I picked recital. It was a hard choice for so many reasons but I finally settled on the recital option. Why? Well, because when I was 16 I was totally convinced I could do a full length solo recital and I somehow managed to do it - I played the Barber Concerto, a Bach sonata, Lark Ascending and the Vitali Ciaccona and a couple of other short pieces. What was the icing on the cake was that, not only was the hall pretty much as full as we could have gotten it, it was filled with many friends and family and current and future students in addition, what made it incredibly special was that my Dad shared the stage with me as my pianist and that the dress I was wearing my Mom had finished sewing that very day. I had a similar experience to that this year when I did another recital with a similar kind of turn out. There's nothing more inspiring or rewarding than doing a concert for those you love and who make your life what it is and to get to make the music with someone who's so incredibly close to you.I should add......this last time around, my brother,a composition major at university even wrote me a song.

I feel pretty lucky!

From Jennifer Leong
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 4:47 PM
Laurie, what about playing in a chamber group?
From Anne Horvath
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 5:12 PM
I can't vote. This is too hard. I try to make all my time with violin the best moment possible. And now I have to pick? Oh no...
From Corwin Slack
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 5:25 PM
I voted as playing as a soloist with an orchestra. 27 years ago I was the violin soloist for the Bach Cantata Wachet Auf for a chuch's pre-midnight mass Christmas concert. They had well over 1000 in attendance.

I sweat bullets over learning the very florid obligatto with tenor and soprano soloists. We only had two rehearsals and performance with one rehearsal being on performance day.

I was essentially sight reading at the first rehearsal and it didn't go well. The performance went without any glitches and my wife (who has perfect pitch) said it went well (she has always been very kind).

It was probably my biggest moment in violin playing ever. I have improved since then and it causes me to wonder what I really sounded like back then.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 6:32 PM
You guys, Jennifer was SO RIGHT! I needed to change this to have playing in a chamber group, but to do so, I had to re-do the poll. So if you voted in the poll before I just changed it, vote again!

Sorry about that! My bad!

From Samuel Thompson
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 6:57 PM
It was in June 2006 when I was playing at the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas...during the last movement of Ysaye's Second Sonata, when the ponticello starts (second page for all of you with your scores), I could actually feel the entire audience leaning in, focused, listening...


From Bart Meijer
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 7:30 PM
Oops -- clicked the wrong button. That audition was OK, too, but the best moment of all was my last lesson with Josef Hampl, when I played an entire concerto movement for him without interruption. Afterwards, he said: "I did not interrupt, because it was so beautiful." Once in a lifetime.
From Neil Cameron
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 9:19 PM

Switching to viola!



From Ben Clapton
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 9:36 PM
Playing my graduation recital is probably the pinnacle of my career so far. It was such a major goal for me, and I'm really glad I did it. I'm not sure if I'd do it again, but if I did, it'd probably be full of chamber music and not solo stuff.
From Bernadette Hawes
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 10:41 PM
Hi Laurie,
I didn't know which to go for lesson or recital - it was my first end of year exam this year as an adult beginner. I managed to learn two pieces off by heart and didn't forget any bits during the exam. Also I was less nervous than at the half year (which happened two months after starting because we joined this private school late) and passed with flying colours. Not as brilliant as auditioning for an orchestra or the achievements of some outstanding folk here, but it meant progress for me, especially as my teacher entered me for year 3 and at one point I wasn't sure if I'd get there. My two kids also passed their year 1 with flying colours. My son made us laugh - I'd accompanied him playing one solo on the piano then for another piece we did a duet on violins and he suddenly burst out, "I love violin exams!"
From Annette Brower
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 12:40 AM
I complimented a seven year old boy on playing a particular note in tune. He looked at me and said, "well of course, I planned it that way."
From Barbara S
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 2:28 AM
Well...I don't play that often anymore (at least not in public!), but I think the time that gave me the most pleasure was actually an audition! I used to be sooo nervous that I consistently blew auditions; but I finally nailed my freshman jury in college playing the first movement of the Sibelius. I got an "A" (not easy) and some really nice comments from the jurors. That made my day.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 3:00 AM
I'm glad at least *some* people can have a sublime audition, LOL!
From Mendy Smith
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 4:59 AM
I'm one of a few that voted "playing alone". My cat always crawls into my case once my viola comes out of it and is the most attentive and appreciative audience I've ever had. The acoustics in my living room make me sound 1000% better in my ears at least. I've been known to spend hours in my music room playing for myself and my cat and loving every minute of it!
From Deborah McCann
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 12:56 PM
I selected my first one-that was playing in an orchestra. Mind you that this was not a top tier group. It was the elementary honor orchestra for my public school. I realized the power and felt the music even then so strong that I cried most of the time from this. I also had the honor to go back stage in 1973 at a concert and meet Perlman. That moment was as much an influence for different reasons. Then auditoning for Cincinatti (no I did not make it), and all the orchestras I have made it into, and all the students I have taught and gotten it after struggle. And it has always been there for me when people let me down. It just seems that violin keeps giving to me, how can I not give back and play.
From Keith Arnold
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 2:46 PM
The reason I voted for "playing alone" is because where we live there does not seem to be a violin instructor, so I play alone.
Thanks for your great service,
Keit Arnold
From Liana Goldsmith
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 6:06 PM
I have to go with teaching a lesson, because there is nothing like the moment when you share music or a musical idea with a young student and it just clicks - you see it in their eyes and feel it in their playing! it is exciting and beautiful to feel the connection in sharing music with another person in this way. Although, chamber playing and feeling the energy of the audience while playing a solo recital are up there for me as well!!
From Priscilla Purnick
Posted on September 1, 2007 at 6:59 PM
One of my first lessons and many thereafter with Alexander Izotov. With each lesson he inspires me to higher and higher levels. He is more interested in 'making music' than in the nitty gritty technical details. If I have technical problems, it's no big deal...I can practic e those out. If I have problems understanding the music...feeling the music and parlaying it to my audience....then, that's a problem. He helped me to understand that musicality is really the be all and end all of playing. What do we play for, anyway? Do we play in order to play those difficult double stops or do we play to convey, to speak to, to 'parlay' with our listeners (or even with ourselves)? Don't we play in order to have our emotions and feelings conveyed through our music? Ah.....realizing and implementing that has been the best violin moment(s)...and continues to be.
From cindy dinga
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 2:26 AM
This was very very hard to choice to make---but playing in an orchestra is mine----when one can let go and let the music sweep you away---you're playing deep inside it all; it's you that's playing, but your violin has it's own heart and voice flowing and singing with the music, as the music swells around you---it's just magical.
From Jack Krumbein
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 3:18 AM
Playing the Paganini Concerto No. 1 at 11pm in a Roman Amphetheater on live international television out of the lost city of Jerash in Jordan, 1995.
From P-Zan Leong
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 5:56 AM
Mine was a Christmas performance. A trio consisting of the piano, electric guitar and me on violin. Yeah, weird combo especially the electric guitar. (I chose chamber group because that was the closest to it) It was my most memorable moment because this was the first time someone from the audience came up to me after the show and thanked me and complimented on my playing. It was a really good feeling because I also needed that little boost for my self esteem and confidence.
From Oliver Bedford
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 7:26 AM
Well, I'm in the 4 per cent whose greatest moment of transcendence was listening to another player - in my case Sylvia Rosenberg playing the Bruch concerto with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.
From Sarah Baldwin
Posted on September 2, 2007 at 11:55 PM
I wish a choice had been jamming with others.
From Bonny Buckley
Posted on September 3, 2007 at 4:35 PM
I'm both a violin and viola player and the one experience that truly stands out so far was the opening night of Aida in Shanghai Stadium with two symphonies combined to create the desired sound for an audience of about 85,000. I had barely made it into the orchestra area on time with my performer pass. There was so much traffic I had to get off my bus and literally run through the crowds, for about a mile, past the caged lions and creatures, past security, and out of breath and into my seat--the orchestra was starting to tune. As the event began to unfold I felt this pure wave of electric creative energy wash over everyone with the excitement of being part of such a grand endeavor. You could even see the sparkly ripples in the air. There were a lot of difficult personal issues in my life happening then, like a problem with my visa and so having to leave this great job and my wonderful Chinese friends, especially Conductor Cao Ding, but somehow this moment transcended every possible difficulty and I will never, ever forget melting into the music that evening. It was a really magnificent moment for humanity, part of Shanghai International Festival of Arts.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on September 3, 2007 at 5:00 PM
I forgot the jammin' choice! Ooops!

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