Xenia Akeynikova

February 15, 2007 at 11:50 PM · Does it really matter if she can play well or not? OMG ......

But seriously, is she any good, or is she just the Anna Kornakova of the fiddle?

Replies (101)

February 15, 2007 at 05:18 AM · Yes, yes, I'm a dog. I'm a pig. I revel in my superficiality! but OMG .....

What follows should be one of three things-

1: A bunch of other guys post similar thoughts, looking as foolish as myself.

2: A serious discussion ensues concerning art vs marketing, the compromise of commercialism, the sad state of classsical music, etc etc etc

3: Laurie will ban me from these forums forever.

I'm sort of betting on #2.

February 15, 2007 at 11:51 PM · I'm not going to ban you BUT...

Can't you tell if she can play? She has only posted FIVE recordings of herself playing, and they are of very nice quality. Have you put your playing out there on the Internet for everyone to hear? It obviously matters to her, or she would have posted her picture only, with no sound clip for us to pick over.

I think she plays very nicely, and I appreciate the diverse musical selections she has posted for us to enjoy. Indeed, she's a beautiful woman, and she also bothered to have some nice, flattering pictures taken of herself.

Part of performing is a certain generosity, a willingness to go out there and not only share your talents, but to present them in a captivating way.

February 15, 2007 at 11:56 PM · You may have noticed that anyone can post their sound clip in the "In Concert" section; we have re-done things, and I'll soon write a blog about it.

I'm happy that we can have everything from a 16-year-old playing Paganini to a professionally packaged performer playing modern works.

Frankly, I DO think that if you are going to post your music on the Internet for the world, you should make sure it's a well-recorded performance and put it together with a lovely picture of yourself.

February 16, 2007 at 12:15 AM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

Laurie: Mr. Skowronski could not have said it any better himself. We appreciate your valiant support of the performing ARTS and its ARTISTS!!

Salut...........

Skowronski: Classical Recordings

Evanston, Illinois

http://www.skowronskiplays.com

February 16, 2007 at 12:52 AM · Actually I like the music very much. I could only find sites to purchase the music and only found free downloads. I read Antonietta and I bought some music from the book and also one of Hillary Hahn's CD's. Xena's stuff was something totally different. More modern sounds. It is actually amazing what you can do with a violin as it can create diverse sounds depending on the musician's style.

February 16, 2007 at 01:20 AM · In the dark corners of some peoples minds, they're going to believe she can't play because she isn't enough like a librarian at a funeral. However this is incorrect

because

she can.

:0

February 16, 2007 at 01:51 AM · As my dear friend stated above:

"We appreciate your valiant support of the performing ARTS and its ARTISTS!!"

I SECOND that!

Regards,

Peter

February 16, 2007 at 04:09 AM · Ok boys... settle down!

Since I've known Xenia since we were about 6, I think I have the authority to write here...

Xenia is a fantastic violinist. Her technique, her lyricism and her sound is absolutely top notch.

Yes - she is beautiful - and NO in no way does that mean that she is using her beauty over her violinistic skills. Trust me - Anna Kournikova would LOVE to play tennis at least half as good as Xenia plays violin.

February 16, 2007 at 05:32 AM · Well, she's nearly as pretty as I, I gotta be honest. And she can play oh, maybe a little better.

Next time Janine, Hilary and I do lunch, I'll get the sphill on her for you guys.

February 16, 2007 at 05:51 AM · Well since Kournakova was top women's player under 18 like 2 years in a row, and Boliateri's top female student, and several doubles grand slam victories, it's quite a misconception to insinuate that she didn't have skills...

The cynism in the classical world is just overwhelming sometimes. Just because she's gorgeous she's not allowed to be good? I understand that women are frustrated with body image issues in mainstream society and therefore you hear a lot of backlash against naturally beautiful women, but really, just read Xenia's bio, then listen to her play. Those muzak things she recorded isn't all that's available, so it's not hard to determine that she is indeed a great violinist with the added bonus of looking like Helen of Troy.

February 16, 2007 at 07:05 AM · Hey, I just wanted to start a thread about her. I have no opinion about her playing. Last year, there were several threads here wherein some folks complained about the sexy way some young violin soloists were dressing and being photographed for their albums & such. I thought it would be interesting to disuss the gold standard in terms of image and sex appeal.

Personally, I'm a rock n roller, so it aint no thing to me!

Glad to know she can really play. Indeed all I have heard are those "muzak" clips, as you called them. Those are pretty bland.

February 16, 2007 at 07:13 AM · Nothing against Xenia, she sounds lovely,

but

Pieter V: you have the wrong info about Kournikova: you said she was the top woman player for a couple of years but she has never won a tournament in her career (as a singles player). Her highest career ranking was #8, more usually, in her best years #10-#15.

Hence the fact that she was the higher earner on the circuit showed that she was sponsored for her looks rather than her tennis.

February 16, 2007 at 09:09 AM · Igor, you wrote, "Yes - she is beautiful - and NO in no way does that mean that she is using her beauty over her violinistic skills."

But, see, that's not the point at all. SHE may not be doing so, but her record company might be. Or, more to the point, they might do so with the next gorgeous violinist to come along, even if that next violinist is NOT of the same caliber as Xenia Akeynikova.

And since they have a limited promotional budget, that means the player who is better, but short, fat & middle aged, will NOT get promoted.

-And that means that avg Joe & Jane who might JUST be ready to open their minds to classical music (or whatever you call it these days) might instead get turned off. Fve years later, instead of supporting their local symphony, they will be buying tickets to Wrestlemania III.

I wonder if the more homely superstars, of either sex, are asked to get nose jobs, liposuction, etc by their promotion departments? Like I say, I don't bother me none, 'cuz us lowbrow rockers are used to the situation, but I would imagine this sends a ripple or two through the classical community.

------------

-not that I actually CARE about any of this stuff, mind you. I just wanted an excuse to write the name Xenia Akeynikova one more time. (g)

Good Golly Miss Molly! ....

February 16, 2007 at 09:39 AM · There are lots of silly places this discussion can go. I predict it'll go to most of them.

February 16, 2007 at 09:45 AM · "Good Looks Music Marketing" is even more messy and unfair when looking what is does to established soloists: One of the leading reviewers in Germany developed a strange theory last week, claiming Vanessa Mae being the pioneer of this type of business, followed by Leila Josefowicz, Hilary Hahn, Julia Fischer and Baiba Skride, using her pattern.

But this is dead wrong, firstly these "following" ladies make a different kind of music, secondly all these ladies had a quite a career for years before even popping up on magazine and CD covers.

Now having an "opinion maker" sketching this road, even the ones who did put their music and art forward first get branded as "beauties, also or therefore playing".

FMF

February 16, 2007 at 01:22 PM · Parmeta:

Please take some english lessons. She was the top junior in the world. Also, she won doubles tournaments with Martina Hingis in several grand slams. That means ATP tournaments. We know she didn't win any singles tournmanets, and frankly no one was at the time because Hingis dominated the game, and Kournikova was under more pressure than any female athlete had ever been under before.

I wish people would have their facts straight before they'd poo poo people's abilities.

February 16, 2007 at 01:38 PM · FMF, personally if he's a "leading reviewer" I'd try to make sense of his words. He could mean they've adopted Vanessa's strategies, even if they were on the scene first; and type of music might not necessarily matter.

February 16, 2007 at 01:52 PM · After collecting some background info on the author he most likely created this article in self-defense since he ignored young soloists (female or male) for too many years. Now he might have given an implicit explanation why he did not follow the Mae bunch too closely. Because they all made their careers through their looks.

The truth is every single one of those mentioned players took a quite different path to success but none of them started with a record label making up glossy pictures.

The reviewer himself clearly did not even listen to performances without having glossy CDs first.

It's because of people like him that music more and more needs to be concealed as something else to get the right attention. I wonder whether Picasso through a few tapes in where he performed on the recorder or harp to get his paintings sold.

FMF

February 16, 2007 at 01:55 PM · If an outstanding violinist like Igor says that Xenia is a fantastic violinist, then I'm sure she is. So I would not make any comments about her career in particular, but would make the following generalization: People who say looks should be a consideration in the success and/or promotion of a soloist are basically saying that all other things being equal, promote the soloist with looks. But don't we all know that all other things are never really equal?

February 16, 2007 at 02:48 PM · I think what we are really trying to talk about here is a a very large topic to discuss.

SHOULD LOOKS BE A PART OF A SELLING PLOT IN CLASSICAL MUSIC? Well - like someone pointed out, this topic was hashed out quite a bit here before. Yes - unfortunately, when one sees a beautiful, scantily clad body on a Pop CD - they assume the artist must be great. When they see the same on a Classical CD - they assume the artist sucks, and the only reason their CD's are selling is because of the cover. Now - I will admit, I have been a victim of that mentality many times, but have often found myself quite wrong.

I also have conflicting feelings regarding what should be on the cover of a classial CD. A part of me wants to preserve that "holy" image of music, and the other part of me wants people who don't normally buy classical music CDs to go out and buy them - no matter for what reason. Who knows, maybe one out of 20 of them will listen to a CD and realize they actually LIKE classical music!

So. I think if you want to continue this thread, it should be under a different heading, since it really has nothing to do with Xenia.

P.S. Are we all out of Prunes?

February 16, 2007 at 04:41 PM · 1. Beauty is subjective. Xenia is not universally beautiful (nobody is!).

2. It isn't beauty as much as the sultry nature of the photos. Of course measured against a photo of a Yanomamo she is rather heavily clothed.

In other words, cultural cues, not universal beauty or objectively measurable state of dress, determine the "sexiness" of the subject. This applies equally to Anna Kournikova, or to Anna Nicole Smith for that matter.

Now, if we go ahead and assume the Euro-American norms, then we can make a continuum of "sexy-marketing" for violinists:

<--Lampenus-Bond-Xenia-Jensen-Fischer-Chang-Hahn-->

This is measured by the score in the "Sensuality Index" as developed by the American Association of Classical Recording Producers (AACRP;).

Of course one's own ideas may be in conflict with this scale, depending on one's individual sensuality ques. For instance some may que more to eyes, others to elbows or shoulders or breasts, legs, buttocks etc. And the attractiveness is also individualistic, so just because one has big cues doesn't mean you respond favorably.

Furthermore, it isn't the mere visibility of portions of the body that influence the sensuality; rather it is the viewer's interpretation of the image-in-context which includes posture, balance, state of dress, lighting, and contextual images.

To show how context is important, note that Great Kat is not on the continuum. While she wears what would be considered "sultry" clothing, she wears it in a metal and blood context which is not sultry or broadly sexually appealing. Rather it is power and rawness.

Therefore the "sexmarketing" is apt to backfire as often as it succeeds, for something like violin playing. For Jessica Simpson it works even if the result is unappealing because the result is supposed to be an empty voyeristic sideshow. For classical music or any real music for that matter, the music matters.

February 16, 2007 at 05:12 PM · Pieter, I do have my facts straight.

We are not talking juniors/amateurs.

We are talking about after she turned professional.

She was never more than Number 8 at the highest point of her career (just once in 1998) and was otherwise usually somewhere between number 10 to 15.

Even given Hingis, that puts about 6 other (or more) players that were better than her ALL the time.

Why don't you apply your own advice about checking one's facts?

By the way, your comment about my English just shows the extent of your own ignorance. Sorry to disappoint you but you have got hold of the wrong end of the stick and all that.

It just so happens that the Royal Society of Arts and the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Linguists give me my qualifications as a native English speaker qualified to teach English, be an examiner of the same and translate at the highest level. Perhaps you could argue your case with them!

Back to the discussion about whether looks matter when you play and whether some people use them as a selling point.

February 16, 2007 at 03:22 PM · when we buy that CD now, were buying an image, a lifestyle, and then music. its like buying a car...

February 16, 2007 at 03:20 PM · Don't we all live within social conventions? Someone may be beautiful but could choose not to present it by avoiding to be dressed in a certain way. I believe successful covers should reflect what's inside. In pop cultures where the instant gratification is the norm, the cover should reflect that as is usually done. The same cover, however, will be misrepresentative of classical music since the nature of entertainment is quite different.

Ihnsouk

February 16, 2007 at 04:32 PM · Parmeta:

Your response must be for PIETER not Peter (me)

Correct??

Regards,

Peter

February 16, 2007 at 05:10 PM · Ouch, so sorry Peter:(

Yes, it was for Pieter.

It must be my English letting me down again!

February 16, 2007 at 05:17 PM · No, no Parmeeta... your English is just fine.

Best regards,

Peter

PS: I'll be in Europe end of March till mid April, including Spain and passing by your town, Bilbao! What a great place! I love Spain!

February 16, 2007 at 05:38 PM · Hey,

My nickname is sometimes Bilbao

February 16, 2007 at 06:57 PM · Actually, in Basque, Bilbao is Bilbo.

Peter, will you be playing here? Would love to come and see you.

February 16, 2007 at 07:01 PM · Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding something...but is it not inconsiderate and/or hurtful to publically disect and critically evaluate a professional performer's playing ability or physical appearance to the extent that this thread is presuming? Or to do so to any person for that matter, regardless of profession? Certainly, to ask whether any performer who is making and selling labels "can really play their instrument" seems to me to be making an ill-informed, and very ostentatious judgement...even in the form of a question. Also, considering any female's sensitivity to her personal appearance, to quantitatively judge whether she is "very beautiful" or "of slightly above average beauty" seems to me to show a lack of class and humanity.

Now, whether one prefers the style of performance presented by any one individual can be discussed, but even then it is kinder to do so in a private context.

Jenna

February 16, 2007 at 07:34 PM · Not really. Nobody would question that she's a phenomenal player. As for her looks, the worst that's been done is compare her to Anna Kornakova. Seems like a compliment to me:) As for discussing her looks at all, I sense she has a lot of fun with it. She's a mature and experienced woman.

February 16, 2007 at 07:27 PM · Seems to me like this discussion is more about how ethical or correct it is to use sex appeal in the advertising of a classical musician, not specifically about how well she plays or how beautiful she is, even though some people have talked about that.

Edit: Jim got there first.

February 16, 2007 at 07:40 PM · But I had to go back in there and edit to save me from myself. Do it by yourself next time :)

I think what we have here is something kind of unique. A phenomenal classical violinist who isn't too hung up in one way or another to be unique:)

February 16, 2007 at 08:26 PM · Personally, I think it is ture that if you are "ugly" then it is going to be a lot harder for you to make it in the business. But I also think that for people like Xenia, she is beautiful and no matter what she wears, she will always be beautiful. And someone who is jealous of that will always have a problem with some item of clothing she chooses to wear. Or they will find something else to be mad at her for because they are jealous that not only is she beautiful but she is also talented. And they are not.

February 16, 2007 at 08:38 PM · parmeeta,

Perhaps at Cambridge you learned the mechanics of the language, but glossed over basic principles of logic. People who know tennis knew that Kournikova was a great tennis player, who lived in a different set of circumstances from everyone else. You're oversimplifying the matter and making an argument based on misinformation. In any case, I'm not going to continue this point on violinist.com since you clearly know nothing about the topic, and this is not a tennis discussion afterall.

February 16, 2007 at 08:55 PM · Xenia Akeynikova is obviously an awesome player who knows how to market her good looks. All the power to her and her management team!

February 16, 2007 at 08:59 PM · Bur Pieter, you have also glossed over the principals of MY logic. You pick on a small point instead of responding the point I was making.

That point, as was pointed out, is that Anna was not a top pro, yet made more money from endorsements than almost any top pro ever did. Her income and fame came completely from her looks, not her playing ability. Yes, she was an excellent player, but that's not the point at all.

February 16, 2007 at 09:40 PM · Greetings,

hey, I'm ugly and devoid of talent. Where do I fit in all this?

Cheers,

Burp

February 16, 2007 at 11:10 PM · I'll admit...at first i saw her pictures and noticed that she posted up crossover pieces, i had vanessa mae flashbacks.

Then i decided to listen to her Zig. Wow.

Xenia is a cross between Rabin and Neveu. Her playing is fiery, her portamenti are extraordinarily well-placed, her bowarm is sterling, and her interaction with the orchestras are very rewarding.

Her looks are going to be a great selling point for her, and more power to her. She presents herself with the utmost class, and in a lot of ways she reminds me of another young, beautiful artist who presented herself as a talented to watch for...Anne Sophie Mutter.

February 16, 2007 at 10:55 PM · Andy Roddick makes more endorsement money than Federer, and there's never been any question as to who is better. This is the last thing I'll saw about Kournikova: she was the top junior in the world, and she was Bolitieri's biggest prodigy (he is like the Dorothy Delay/Zakhar Bron of tennis). Maybe that doesn't mean anything if you don't like tennis, but that meant a lot, so there was a great deal of anticipation about her talent. So yes, her fame did have something to do with the fact that she could play at a high level, but of course, she was the most searched person on the entire internet because she looks like a godess. I see what you mean, but often people oversimplify this idea.

February 16, 2007 at 11:02 PM · PS. Her Bach double is awesome!

(edit: xenia's, not kournikova's)

February 16, 2007 at 11:07 PM · I don't expect people to drool over me when I pose in a nightgown. People should look past my lingerie photos and listen to the music I make...

February 16, 2007 at 11:35 PM · I just want to know who her photographer is. And the photographer's phone number please?

Actually, I think her photos show that she cared enough to package herself in a professional way. And other people can do the same, even if they choose a different style. For example, you could have a professional photograph of yourself looking contemplative. I personally find that the most appealing photograph of a violinist to ME is Gil Shaham sitting on a park bench in the cold, laughing, wearing a big yellow scarf.

I really like big yellow scarves and happy people.

February 17, 2007 at 02:23 AM · BTW Buri,

In regards to your post:

"hey, I'm ugly and devoid of talent. Where do I fit in all this?"

You are better off saying " I am young and single, and I luv's to mingle", if you want some 'action' in your life :)

February 17, 2007 at 02:58 AM · Well Marty, I have a pink taffeta one that you can borrow for your photo shoot nonetheless.

February 17, 2007 at 04:44 AM · Greetings,

Gennady, I`m working on my double bluff,

Cheers,

Buri

February 17, 2007 at 01:18 PM · Pieter, you are a laugh a minute!

Admit for once that you got it all wrong. It might do you some good to know that you do not know everything about everyone everywhere.

My English has been with me since I learn to talk; the Royal Society of Arts, Cambridge University and the Institute of Linguists merely provided the qualifications to teach, translate and examine people in the language.

I also realise that you have realised that you got your facts wrong- as you have now changed your argument from "facts" to "she did win some doubles" to "a victim of circumstances".

It just so happens that I am great fan of tennis (I also played for my University at one time) and follow the season pretty closely.

Sorry to remind you that it was the original poster, not I, who brought up the tennis/AK analogy into this discussion.

By the way, another place I managed to fool into giving me a degree despite my lack of logic and English was the London School of Economics & Political Science, University of London. Just goes to show you can't trust anyone nowadays, can you?

February 17, 2007 at 04:34 PM · Isn't Gil's violin cold, posing nude in public? Oh, the humanity!

February 17, 2007 at 04:45 PM · Maybe she should log in and join the discussion.

It might be, ahem, revealing.

February 17, 2007 at 05:57 PM · parmeeta... I never changed my argument. Go back and read what I said. For someone who went to LSE, you've got very poor reading comprehension skills.

February 17, 2007 at 06:06 PM · You two are like a couple talking during a movie.

February 17, 2007 at 06:46 PM · Indeed. I wonder which violin Gil is posing with? Could they at least have put a wool sock over the scroll? ;)

February 17, 2007 at 06:54 PM · Yes--at least a sock.

February 17, 2007 at 08:06 PM · I think Xenia, or any woman who conforms to society's current standard of beauty, will probably always have to struggle with purists who are either jealous or leary of their career. A violinist like the one we are discussing will always have more to prove.

February 17, 2007 at 08:30 PM · Maybe she should go on Oprah with Joshua Bell.

Where's Sydney when you need her?!

February 17, 2007 at 08:47 PM · I could see her being very successful with Oprah's demographic.

February 18, 2007 at 02:25 AM · After listeniing and looking my wife says she's lowered herself to plain marketing and sacrificing her true talent. Hey, hey, I can hear the comments now, we're talking music. She said based on the pictures SHE would never buy her CD or listen to her. That if she has the talent to back it up she doesn't need the "low class glitch."

February 18, 2007 at 02:41 AM · "She said based on the pictures SHE would never buy her CD or listen to her. That if she has the talent to back it up she doesn't need the "low class glitch."

Xenia doesn't need the high-class blitch.

February 18, 2007 at 03:03 AM · Ray,

Sounds to me like jealousy. I took a "Women in Music" course to fulfill a history elective, and my god, in a class full of women, any time an attractive artists was mentioned, she was completely eviscerated, regardless of talent.

February 18, 2007 at 03:44 AM · lol

February 18, 2007 at 05:12 AM · I thought her recordings were great. I really liked her recording of Tzigane.

February 18, 2007 at 05:32 AM · She can play; there is no doubt about that. I think the question is whether she has gone to far in using her good looks to try to promote herself, instead of letting her playing do the talking.

After seeing her website I could not help but wonder if she was trying to be a model or a violinist. And of course I think she can do both very well!!!!! To put it in another way, I think I enjoyed her website much too much! LOL

But honestly, would you not be disappointed if Sarah Chang, who also looks darn good, was doing the same thing on her website. I know I would be. But Chang plays to well, and has too much class to ever do so.

Oh and I know the politically correct are now going to come out! Go ahead, the issue seems so clear to me that political correct propaganda will just make me laugh.

Bottom line: she can play, really play! But she seems to be trying to be a model almost as much as a player. I cannot agree with that.

Come on you left wing liberals, bring it on! I could use a good laugh.

February 18, 2007 at 07:07 AM · if you were good looking, and striving to fulfill your passion of becoming a great violinist, you'de do all the same things. nothing wrong with using these tools to get where you want to be. were just bitching because we A. either want to be as good as her at violin, or B. aren't as famous as she is.

February 18, 2007 at 10:40 AM · Hi,

I can't really beleive this thread was allowed, but my own two cents...

This young woman plays very well, and has the external attributes that are considered marketable in this modern society well live in which places much attention to physical beauty. So, she has the package. Good for her. So why discuss it? I find no point in these kinds of threads anymore.

Dissapointed... no cheers on this one.

February 18, 2007 at 11:47 AM · Hmm...the first thing I thought when I saw her pictures was that she was too thin. Isn't it funny how beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. I mean, she is an attractive woman to be sure but in my opinion her looks aren't worthy of so much hoopla. I don't say that to be offensive to her in any way...she is attractive. Of course, so are many of the other women who have posted their pictures on the violinist.com website. Some of whom are perhaps more attractive to me than the violinist in question. I guess I prefer her playing over her looks. I wonder what she has to say on this subject, or if she has even read any of these posts. Is she flattered, offended, or just sort of baffled by them as I am?

February 18, 2007 at 06:04 PM · Hello everybody!

First of all I wish to tell to all of you Big Thanks for this discussion.

I'm glad that people who are the real professionals and musicians have interest to me and my music.

Regarding to all of you, only wished to explain something..

The question which excites most of all, in my opinion, unfortunately, Is very essential at present in classical music.

But again I asked by a question, why some people often perceive this problem so banal.

Why we, being musicians, and modern people, should come across always a wall of misunderstanding, if we are choosing the different way in representation of as artist.

Does whether it means that some people don't wish to accept the changes connected with progress and introduction of some elements modern musical business in classical-crossover music world..?

For me as for the musician grown on bases of old Russian Violin school, (my teachers have authority and are successors of ingenious professors like A.Yampolski and D.Oistrakh)

Never there was a question Whether has value or talent the musician such as Joshua Bell, Vanessa Mae, Sara Brightman ... if they look different..

Because they are.

And it's not important when I'm listening the CD's.

Believe to me when I placed here the records, to my head did not come that there will be a question: Does it really matter if she can play well or not?

having in view of my appearance, as a way to promote in musical business.

With my Big Love and Kindest Regards to my mother...who is really beautiful and very smart women..

I wish to tell many thanks to those people which speak pleasant words, and even recollect great musicians...

But I never shall rise from knees in respect and infinite a worship for ingenious musicians which unfortunately becomes ever more lesser and less.

I just want to play the violin.

And to be happy during those instants when to people it's pleasant that I do.

We're all different. And I think it's great point never to stop on reached.

Wish you all the very best and let's do the world more interestingly and better.

p.s. I apologize for my English.

February 18, 2007 at 01:59 PM · Thoughtful and eloquent. You know, it just occurred to me a way to win any classical music argument with Americans would be to say something like "That's the way we do it in Russia." :)

February 18, 2007 at 03:56 PM · I've been following this whole thread and I'd LOVE to hear what Xenia has to say, but I'm afraid with my very best efforts at understanding her post I can hardly make head or tail of it. Could somebody please translate it into good English or something please?

I apologize, I'm just very bad at understanding bad grammar, and I'm in no way implying that it's her fault that she cannot express herself more accurately.

February 18, 2007 at 04:26 PM · One of my closest friends did his Ph.D. in Kiev and had to learn Russian to do so. He often tells me that the two languages could not be further apart. For example, there are no articles in their language. Imagine trying to speak without using “a,” and “the.”

After reading it a few time I got the impression she was saying, "we are all different and the expression of these differences is a good thing.” But that is just my take on it. There would obviously be some logical problems with this statement, huge ones, in fact, but like you I am not sure what she said.

“If you were good looking, and striving to fulfill your passion of becoming a great violinist, you’d do all the same things. Nothing wrong with using these tools to get where you want to be.”

Power is a hard thing to handle, and you may be right, perhaps I would do the same thing. But I would like to think that I would not, and, even if I did the same thing that would not make it right.

“Nothing wrong with using these tools to get where you want to be.”

Actually I think there are things wrong with using these tools, I think it lacks a bit of integrity. But this is a judgment call because there is nothing wrong with trying to be attractive and looking your best when you play or have photos taken for a CD, etc. In her case, however, I got the impression that she was almost trying to be a model as much a violinist with the pictures. Perhaps she needs two websites, one where she just showcases her violin playing, and another where she tries to fulfill her aspirations to be a model, if she has any.

One thing for sure is that she has not drastically crossed the line, if she has crossed it, which I think she has. But again, would you be disappointed if Chang was doing the same? I think you would be, and I do not think she would ever do this? She just lets her playing speak for herself.

What about if Bell was doing the same thing? Would you be disappointed? I think you would be.

February 19, 2007 at 01:16 AM · "Imagine trying to speak without using “a,” and “the.” "

I think life will be much simpler without them. Off track, just a true story about two British people staying in Germany and attending German language classes. After learning about der, das, etc for about a month, they were asked to compose a sentence in German. One turned to the other and asked, "Now, how do you say "the" in German?"

Ihnsouk

February 18, 2007 at 04:49 PM · Now people want to criticize her English :)

Hello everybody!

First of all I wish to tell to all of you Big Thanks for this discussion.

I'm glad that people who are the real professionals and musicians have interest to me and my music.

Hello, and huge thanks for this discussion. I'm glad real professionals have an interest in me and my music.

Regarding to all of you, only wished to explain something..

To all of you, I just want to explain something.

The question which excites most of all, in my opinion, unfortunately, Is very essential at present in classical music.

The interesting thing here is, unfortunately, an essential question today in classical music.

But again I asked by a question, why some people often perceive this problem so banal.

I wonder why people do not see this issue, and already have an answer

Why we, being musicians, and modern people, should come across always a wall of misunderstanding, if we are choosing the different way in representation of as artist.

Why we, being musicians, and modern people, come to a wall of misunderstanding if we choose a different way of representation.

Does whether it means that some people don't wish to accept the changes connected with progress and introduction of some elements modern musical business in classical-crossover music world..?

Does it mean some people don't want to accept progress and the introduction of modern business?

For me as for the musician grown on bases of old Russian Violin school, (my teachers have authority and are successors of ingenious professors like A.Yampolski and D.Oistrakh)

Never there was a question Whether has value or talent the musician such as Joshua Bell, Vanessa Mae, Sara Brightman ... if they look different..

Because they are.

I come from the Old Russian School, and how someone looked was never an issue.

And it's not important when I'm listening the CD's.

I don't care what someone looks like when I listen to their CD.

Believe to me when I placed here the records, to my head did not come that there will be a question: Does it really matter if she can play well or not? having in view of my appearance, as a way to promote in musical business.

I never expected that when I put my recordings here there would be the question: Does it really matter if she can play well or not? ...because of my appearance, as a way of promotion in the music business.

With my Big Love and Kindest Regards to my mother...who is really beautiful and very smart women..

Mom is hot too.

I think I wish to tell many thanks to those people which speak pleasant words, and even recollect great musicians...

Thanks to those who compliment me, even to the extent of mentioning me alongside great musicians.

But I never shall rise from knees in respect and infinite a worship for ingenious musicians which unfortunately becomes ever more lesser and less.

I have infinite respect for those musicians, and unfortunately they're becoming less and less respected.

I just want to play the violin.

I gotta rock.

And to be happy during those instants when to people it's pleasant that I do.

And be happy when I please people.

We're all different. And I think it's great point never to stop on reached.

We're all different and we all must continue to evolve.

Wish you all the very best and let's do the world more interestingly and better.

Best, and lets make it a more interesting and better world.

February 18, 2007 at 04:49 PM · I think Xenia's post was quite clear.

She thinks we're evolved enough to not criticize different ways of doing things, and that when she put her recordings on this website, which are in fact, recordings, and NOT photos of her, she did not expect for there to be any discussion of her playing when that is basically (save for 1 photo),the only thing she presented to us.

She did not come here with a full portfolio of her pictures. If you wanted to see that, you'd have to go to her website. Get real everyone. Every violinist has a section on their site with like 20 pictures of themselves, even the ugly ones.

What would happen, if I, for instance, posted the exact same recordings that she did? Probably, people would be like "Wow Pieter, that's some great playing." And, because I'm ugly, there would not even be a word of discussion as to whether or not I'm a legitimate artist.

Xenia goes on to cite other examples of crossover artists, and says in fairly plain english that when she is just listening to the CD, how the artist looks has nothing to do with what she is hearing.

Should she wear a birka because of how she looks? Every other soloist does the EXACT same thing on their website.

February 18, 2007 at 10:46 PM · I think the "legitimate artist" discussion started because of her marketing simi and classical music. Is she using sex to sell the albums or could her playing stand on it's own with non sexy photos? Would we have even listened to her playing without thesexy pictures?

Is this the start of classical music evolving to the young adults where sex sells everything, marketing evolution and we're old fogies, or is this not legitimate classical music the way it's played with the backup music.

I don't have an answer yet. Let's see how it plays out. My wife and I have an opinion, however, but I'm not putting that in writing on this forum.

February 18, 2007 at 05:11 PM · Well Ray, she put up YouTube videos of her playing the violin. She was in a gown, just like every other woman who plays the violin puts on, and she played. Again, is she supposed to play with a birka on because your wife wishes she looked like Xenia does?

February 18, 2007 at 05:50 PM · Cone on Peter? Get on her website and then tell me she is not trying to use her sex appeal? Please? Again I do know everyone uses this to one degree or another, and I see it as part of life. Sex and our appearance is part of life. But there must be a line; I think we all agree about that. And I think she has crossed it a bit. Not a lot, but enough.

Again, would you want the great soloists of today doing the same thing? I think you would be disappointed if they did. And I think that classical music would be worse of for it.

But really, to me it’s no big deal, because I really do not care. I would if Chang had done this, then I would be very disappointed.

Oh and I would be disappointed if I were her father too, just me. Come on you left with anything goes liberals! Bring it!

Oh and Peter, even if every other artist were doing it, which they are not, it would not make it good or right. “They did it too,” is never a just justification.

February 18, 2007 at 06:36 PM · Raymond, I just now went to her website and looked at the pictures, and I can't imagine what line you think she's crossed in terms of modern social standards.

I can imagine though, by the Victorian standards of the heyday of classical music. Sidesaddle bicycles and no belly shirts.

In general, women who are able to, and choose to, appear attractive get a hard time for it sometimes (although they wouldn't trade places) because of the people, including men, that they intimidate.

I also just now went to Hillary Hahn's site to compare her photos. I was surprised to not see a single smile. Very Victorian. She's wearing Victorian costumes, in fact. To me, that's a sneaky kind of marketing, and therefore more offensive, if you want to think that way. Of course I'm assuming that in real life she dresses normally and laughs and tells jokes:)

February 18, 2007 at 08:07 PM · This is the most entertaining thread I've ever read. Everyone is behaving like caricatures of themselves.

February 18, 2007 at 08:12 PM · Not me. I'm really like this :)

February 18, 2007 at 09:05 PM · Bravo Xenia.

Well said.

Zhelayu tebye vsego nailuchshego - Wishing you the very best!

I hope you come the US for a tour soon.

Let us know when you do.

You should try to make your recordings available on iTunes.

BTW all, the New Russia is quite an exciting place.....

February 18, 2007 at 10:26 PM · First off, i just want to congratulate Xenia on her success and wish her the very best. Good luck! (and please come to hawaii and perform for us sometime in the near future...)

I think that Raymond, ray and pieter have legitimate claims on this issue. The truth of the matter is, there is no simple answer to this question, and whatever answer there may be, it is going to be highly subjective depending on each individual.

Personally, when I went to xenia's website and looked at her pictures, I was a bit shocked to see some of them. It wasn't mae-like, but it was definetely not hahn/chang-like. Somewhere in between i would have to say.

Anyway, imo, I think it's common for record labels and agencies to market appearance as well as talent (examples: lara st. john, mae, janine jansen, Mullova, Mutter, even hahn and chang to a certain extent). It just helps to attract attention and publicity in today's society.

And truthfully, if an artist uses her/his appearance to garner attention, without having substance and depth to their playing, they will quickly dissapear in today's harsh critiquing-wise world.

Oh and raymond, when sarah came to honolulu to perform (i was lucky enough to go to the dress rehearsal), she came in a tangtop with very tight jeans and performed the hell out of shostakovich. It was actually surreal seeing a major superstar like Chang in normal clothes (for a 20-something year old) and chatting amongst the members of the orchestra having fun...my point is, I actually SAW chang wearing that type of outfit playing and it didn't really affect me that much, because I was enjoying and just so lost in her playing! it really wouldn't have matter to me if she had worn a kilt and a ski jacket.

February 18, 2007 at 10:44 PM · Peter, I didn't say really what my opinion was, I was posing questions. I would also not make statements like you made about my wife wishing she looked like that. We're not that young anymore, but maybe she did look that or better.

February 18, 2007 at 10:46 PM · Greetings,

well, for heaven`s sake. Ijust checked out her website and the only thing I can see is a charming young women with talent.

Nobody is being exploited, nobody is denigrating music, nobody is depriving anyone else of a career.

Sometimes I really think violinists are our own worst enemies. We gotta be down on someone -normal-. Much healthier than a defensive, uptight, social outcast hiding behind the violin and writing articles about William Preucil. Now that`s a victim.

I`m off to read my librarian smut magazines.

Cheers,

Buri the perve.

February 18, 2007 at 10:57 PM · Ray... when people reserve their opinions (after intially stating negative ones), it's quite easy for someone to infer what they think.

February 18, 2007 at 11:12 PM · "gotta be down on someone -normal-."

Beautifully put!

February 19, 2007 at 05:04 AM · If the physical appearance of an artist affects what you think about their music, then that is your own personal shortcoming and foolishness, and not that of the artist.

February 19, 2007 at 05:40 AM · Xenia, thank you for writing. As editor of this website, I want you to know you are welcome here!

February 19, 2007 at 07:02 AM · I agree with laurie. Xenia, you could have ignored this thread and gone on with your life (as busy as it is!), but really, thanks for putting such a wonderful and thoughful post.

Anyway, if artists like xenia, mutter, hahn, wanna use their looks for marketing, all the more power to them. These violinists are all of high caliber and to all the neysayers, if you don't like what they're wearing, close your eyes and listen to what they're playing.

February 19, 2007 at 07:20 AM · If Chang came to a concert like that (as described), or a master class, or whatever, then in my opinion she made a mistake. You cannot put a price on class!

As for the person who we discussed on this forum, I think she crossed the line a bit, not a lot. And truth to tell, I really do not care, because it is not a person I listen to.

To each his own! I would say this however, it seems to me that if a performer is not sure about this then it would be wise to err on the conservative side and do all you can to protect the tradition's integrity.

February 19, 2007 at 07:35 AM · I think that because the photos are flashy (lighting, background etc) that it makes it look more sexual than it really is. Her clothes aren't terribly provocative, they're clothes any young woman would wear. As classical musicians we're not used to seeing that in the context of a classical performer. It's not such a big deal.

Her myspace, on the other hand, has a couple pictures of her topless covering herself with the violin (lol). I don't really agree with that but not everyone has to agree with everything.

February 19, 2007 at 07:59 AM · Wow wow. In that case if she's got tats I'm in love. Tattoos I said.

February 19, 2007 at 08:11 AM · It's unfortunate that some of us listen with our eyes.

February 19, 2007 at 08:07 AM · I see no reason whatsoever not to mix beauty with classical PR; and, her myspace photos make me want to practice more --4 sure!

Like it or not, classical is competing in the jungle for people's attention... Janine Jansen's site is awesome too.....

I might just let this Xenia Akeynikova hang out with me if she wants to. I'll have to ask Hilary and Janine first, but I'm sure they'd be ok with it. ;).

February 19, 2007 at 08:22 AM · Dude you'd be surprised what this crazy place can lead to.

February 19, 2007 at 09:39 AM · Greetings,

Al,were you responsible for the Brittney Haircut?

Cheers,

Buri

February 19, 2007 at 09:47 AM · Buri--no--now go back to your prunes, and leave Xenia and myself to ourselves thank you very much.

February 19, 2007 at 03:47 PM · There have been a lot of good points made in the discussion, but for me the answer is simplistic: she plays wonderfully well and, if you've got it, flaunt it. Having said that, and I'm no prude, transfering the business model of "sex sells" to the Classical realm is a bit of a lurch for some of us old-timers. I certainly wouldn't want to see A. Grumiaux in a bathing suit!

February 19, 2007 at 04:33 PM · Ray, how can you be so opposed to this but perfectly ok with somebody who says everything in third person?

February 19, 2007 at 05:16 PM · Raymond, I believe she has represented herself with more class than I have seen from you on here. If you watch her video clips of performances before you start typing about what she wears, I think you could have saved yourself a lot of misunderstanding and wasting posts on this discussion. She dresses as appropriately as any other woman we've discussed at her performances.

As I said before, if the physical appearance of an artist affects what you think about their music, then that is your own personal shortcoming and foolishness, and not that of the artist.

February 19, 2007 at 05:37 PM · I always ask myself what Sammy Davis Jr. would do. He would give this woman a fair shot.

February 19, 2007 at 06:15 PM · Sammy Davis was not in classical music, and I doubt that most who created the traditions of the genre would like where he would have taken it if he had the chance, but just speculation on my part.

Brian, I never objected to what she wears in concert, I objected to her website, and now what she has put on “my space.” Why make straw men (take things out of context) and then knock it down? Take a logic class; a good Philosophy prof. could help you work through this.

As for "its your problem and not hers," that is like saying that people are not responsible for their actions! Whatever they do is their business and the only thing that can be judged is your reaction to it. I know you must be smarter than this.

Please note that I never questioned her morality. Why, in the end I believe we are all immoral, sinners to the core…so this is not about “goodness” or ethics, etc. For me its about where do you want to take classical music to? In my opinion anyone who lowers the standard already established is doing a negative thing to the tradition. Class is class, and it is not that hard to see and understand.

And I am told that I do not have any class, but then I see what she does on "my space" and you tell me I do not have any class! I have to laugh.

Bottom line: she is part of a select group who are bringing classical music in a direction that most of us who belong to the tradition do not approve of. Let your playing speak for it and do not lower yourself to the standards in Rock, etc.

Which is not to say that I do not like rock and jazz, etc. it is to say that I would hope that we would not copy some of the negative sides of that genre of music.

I really do not understand what is so hard to understand. Well, I guess I do: some are just captive to this political correctness that says you cannot have a negative opinion on anything, no matter how obvious it is. Funny, many who have written this gibberish probably think that I cannot think outside the box, and yet it is you who cannot do so. You are CAPTIVES to the insane age of political correctness that you belong to.

Wake up!

Oh and thanks all! I knew the liberal anything goes I cannot think out of the age of political correctness would come out of the closet! Great! Loved it! Thanks for coming out!

February 19, 2007 at 05:46 PM · I think this thread is an excellent example of why it's so wise to conduct orchestral auditions behind a screen. People are human; I don't think it's reasonable to expect they can fully screen out their gut reactions to what they see, or to criticize them when they can't.

I generally dislike marketing--and honestly, this was no exception. I actually find that a blanket personal rule to just ignore any and all advertising hype works pretty well for my purposes.

Nonetheless I really enjoyed the two excerpts from her crossover album that she posted and would like to be able to download it and/or purchase the CD so I can listen to it on my iPod. In the end, isn't that (being able to listen to the music) really the point? Can anyone help me do that? Thanks!

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