What about Mark Kaplan?

January 18, 2007 at 06:05 PM · I have no idea how Mark Kaplan, a magnificent musician (evidenced by his chamber and solo performances)and impeccable violinist who is head and shoulders above Josh Bell cannot achieve superstardom. Is it all marketing?

Replies (30)

January 18, 2007 at 06:19 PM · take this...

to be successful, it is up to you.

to be famous, it is not up to you, lol.

90% FATE, 10% LUCK.

January 18, 2007 at 08:38 PM · kaplan has a pretty decent career...soloist with some big orchestras...teacher at some prestigious schools. he likes teaching so i doubt his dream is to be a joshua bell-like figure.

January 18, 2007 at 08:40 PM · Greetings,

gosh yes. Fabtastic player. probably doesn"t want to be on Oprah though. Unless it was to talk about how not being Joshua Bell blighted his life until he wrote a book about it,



January 18, 2007 at 09:00 PM · Mark Kaplan joined the faculty at the Indiana University School of Music in 2005.

January 18, 2007 at 09:54 PM · There are many great players out there.

Belittling Joshua Bell does not make the others much better.

Mass appeal is same in any industry.

With the younger generation of players (like Hahn, Repin, James Ehnes, Znaider, Vengerov, Bell, Julia Fischer, Stefan Jackiw etc) who are quite stellar, it is hard to compete.

Mark never quite made that leap into having a stellar career, neither did his colleague Mark Peskanov (also a brilliant player), who is of the same generation.

Both ended up in the shadows of Shlomo Mintz who most definitely had his moment of stardom.

But that's how it goes. Samething happened to Miron Polyakin. By the time he came to the States, Heifetz was a household name. By the time he had gone back to Russia, Oistrakh had established himself.

Even the toughest critics said that Miron Polyakin was a "violinist by the grace of God".

His refined musicality and the equally impeccable command of his instrument was so mindboggling that even inexperienced listeners had a sense they were witnessing something miraculous…

January 18, 2007 at 09:51 PM · In my mind, Kaplan should just teach. His brilliant sound is too sharp (shrill?) for me and his technique is poor & lacks grossly behind the Repin/Kavakos, Chang/Hahn (etc) generation of artists. [And I am being nice already about Kaplan!]

January 18, 2007 at 09:51 PM · In my mind, Kaplan should just teach. His brilliant sound is too sharp (shrill?) for me and his technique is poor & lacks grossly behind the Repin/Kavakos, Chang/Hahn (etc) generation of artists. [And I am being nice already about Kaplan!]

January 18, 2007 at 10:01 PM · I'm sure Mr. Kaplan will scramble to pedagogy after that ingenius prescription by the legendary Chen Hoi Whoever.

The world is littered with great violinists who deserved to make it but for various reasons couldn't. There's a lot of talent out there. However, I'm pretty sure Mark Kaplan has received a lot of accolades and respect for his playing, so I don't think he's exactly hard done by.

January 18, 2007 at 10:25 PM · I love Mr. Kaplan's recording of the Schubert B minor Rondo. It's immaculate and gorgeous.

January 18, 2007 at 10:48 PM · Greetings,

Cheng, if Mark Kaplan`s tehcnique is poor then maybe he shouldn`t teach. Fortunaately Indiani doens`t agree,



January 18, 2007 at 10:59 PM · GEnnady - I was always sorry Mark Peskanov never made it to superstardom. He gave a concert at my synagogue some years ago, and it was wonderful. All Beethoven. He has a good sense of humor and was very approachable.

January 18, 2007 at 11:06 PM · I first heard Peskanov in Aspen back around 1979 or so - my teacher joked he had the fastest fingers in the west. Some fifteen or so years ago he was a soloist in Lexington and actually did a run-out with us. The thing I remember most was his enthusiasm for playing. He played on the bus as we rode and in the parking lots (and it was probably 50 degrees outside) when the bus stopped for breaks.

January 19, 2007 at 12:31 AM · BTW guys,

When I entered School of Stolyarski in Odessa (at age 7), Mark was already one of the most promising players in school (he was around 15).

Mark Peskanov is very busy running Barge Music in NYC.

Barge Music

BTW Alan W,

as far as your post regarding Josh Bell, I really don't agree.

I can tell you that when I was in Aspen in 1984, he came as a student. He also gave an unofficial recital along with Edgar Meyer. He was spectacular, playing for the most demanding audience (Ysaye#3, #6, Bach, Wieniawski caprice in A minor with Edgar, and Ravel's Tzigane).

We have wached him turn into a very mature player who is equally at home crossing over genres.

He is doing a lot in attracting new audiences.....I think he deserves some credit and respect.

I happen to really love his playing.

In fact he and Kavakos are on the top of my list.

January 19, 2007 at 12:37 AM · I saw Peskanov twice, back in the day. Maybe he's famous but just not famous for being famous... I seem to remember he wrote a song that was on a Donna Summer album too. Not sure...

January 19, 2007 at 12:59 AM · I have a sneaking suspicion that Mark Peskanov is the guitarist who 'replayed' Steve Jones' parts on Never Mind The Bollocks...but i haven't any final proof.

January 19, 2007 at 01:19 AM · I heard Mark Kaplan with in a piano trio with Colin Carr on the radio, and I thought he was an exceptional violinist, at least in that recording.

January 19, 2007 at 01:21 AM · Have heard wonderful things about Mark Kaplan. I'm sure he's "arrived," just not in the way the some of the aforementioned violinists have. Probably, frankly, in a healthier, more balanced way.

On this subject, sorta, I read that Gil Shaham is going to reduce his concertizing to 50 engagements per year, so that he can have more family time (two small kids). This is always cool to hear, but I realize it has to be a difficult decision for an artist to make. 200 concerts a year mean a LOT of people hear you play and keep you marketable. Not that Mr. Shaham has anything to worry about there - I will always leap to hear him perform.

And hey, if I saw Mark Kaplan was coming to San Francisco, I'd leap up and buy a ticket to hear him play, as well.

January 19, 2007 at 01:28 AM · I still believe we are living in another "golden age" of violin playing. There are so many really great fiddle players out there. The differences between them are so miniscule and on such an exhalted level. There is only so much room in the typical human mind for who is "the best" (certainly not enough room for a couple or three dozen who are "the best"); maybe just room for a half dozen (if that). In addition, consider the difficulties in establishing a truly stellar solo career. As a result, most of us pick one or two who are "the greatest," and relegate the rest to second-best. It's a shame. And in the meantime, there are so many truly great artists (including contributors to this website) who don't get the exposure they should.

The only thing that I don't care for about today's "golden age" is that there isn't quite the same individuality in sound that there was in the previous "golden age," but I'm not sure at this point how much of a real problem that is.

That's my two-cents worth.


January 19, 2007 at 01:31 AM · Mr. Ms D, right time frame anyway:)

January 19, 2007 at 01:31 AM · Gotta second that.

Lousy violinists may be on the endangered species list soon.

January 19, 2007 at 01:58 AM · Not as long as I'm around they won't.

January 19, 2007 at 02:31 AM · breed man, breed.

January 19, 2007 at 07:25 AM · For performers who play well, then they should perform. For teachers, they rarely perform. It is one or the other. Who has seen the late Dorothy Delay play? For Indiana U, the others who are left behind (Fried, Agostini, Kaplan) - we don't normally see these people perform, do we? Also Gingold is too hard an act to follow in IU!

January 19, 2007 at 08:47 AM · Ms. Fried is a noted violinist, as is Mr. Donald Weilerstein, of the Juilliard quartet, and one of the most sought after teachers in the world. Midori Goto is a teacher and she plays... the list goes on and on...

January 19, 2007 at 12:55 PM · I think luck, political savvy, and charisma are the factors that determine weather or not one becomes a super star. There many violinists who primarily teach or play in orchestras that can perform as soloists on equal footing with the box office stars. I heard Miriam Fried and Jonathan Carney in recitals and in my opinion they played far better than did Perlman the last time I heard him. Unfortunately because of what the demand is, the recording industry can only support a fraction of the deserving talent in the world.

January 19, 2007 at 01:18 PM · "Mr. Donald Weilerstein, of the Juilliard quartet,"

Mr. Weilerstein was the first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet, not the Juilliard, until he left the group in the late 1980s. He was replaced by William Preucil, but the Cleveland has since disbanded, unfortunately. Mr. Weilerstein performs in a trio with his wife and daughter, Alicia, who is emerging as a top-ranking cellist.

January 19, 2007 at 08:11 PM · Sorry, I confused him with Ronald Copes... they kind of look similar. (I have the CD case of their Mendelssohn quartets, so when I was writing the post I happened to glance over and was reminded of Donald Weilerstein).

In any case, the Weilerstein trio is well acclaimed as well, so the point stands that great teachers can also be successful performers.

January 19, 2007 at 07:24 PM · This is getting off-topic, but I had the privilege to hear the Cleveland Quartet many times at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. during Mr. Weilerstein's tenure. They were sublime.

January 20, 2007 at 01:57 AM · Anybody heard Kaplan's Sarasate compilation? The most idiomatic recording I've heard other than those of the composer himself. Wait. Sorry. We were talking about the string quartet. How come they always come in fours?

Oh, and Buri, regarding your last post, I'm trying, man. I really am. But my wife gets tired so easily.

January 23, 2007 at 03:43 AM · When I was in the Greensboro Symphony (about 1987 or 88), Joshua Bell played Saint-Saens #3 with us. A runout concert was added, and because of contract whatevers, Joshua Bell did not play the run-out; Mark Kaplan did instead. The funny thing was that Joshua Bell came to the concert to hear Mark Kaplan play. Both played marvelously.

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