February 18, 2007 at 10:26 PM · Maybe off the wall, but do violinists have superstitions? The tip of my bow snapped off today when I had a small accident and the bow dropped to the floor. How many years of bad luck will this bring me? Anyway, I thought hearing about superstitions would be an interesting thread, especially some humorous ones.

Replies (23)

February 19, 2007 at 04:19 AM · On full moons, I do Janine Jansen festivals on Youtube, play in my great-grandfather's kilt, and write a thousand times: "I will play Bach Double" well some day.

February 19, 2007 at 02:29 PM · If your music falls off the stand, you have to sit on it before you put it back up. Otherwise, a cruel fate awaits you...

February 19, 2007 at 02:34 PM · It is bad luck to put the left shoe on first. I always put the right shoe on first. Always. But I am a Kentuckian, so I am barefoot most of the time.

If I need to knock on wood, I tap my knuckles on my own head, seeing as it is usually handy.

(Trying hard not to visualize Mr. Al in a skirt...)

February 19, 2007 at 06:12 PM · I read somewhere that Michael Rabin had phobia - a morbid fear that he would fall off the stage.


February 20, 2007 at 10:48 AM · I'm not superstitious. Nothing superstitious ever happens to me, knock on wood.

May 3, 2007 at 11:56 PM · I heard that Heifetz had superstions. 13 seems to be actually a lucky number for violinists - or at least, so thought Heifetz. It's true that quite a few big name violinists have had 13 letters in their names (adding 1st and last names) - including, of course, Jascha Heifetz! I don't know if this is true, but I heard that Freidman originally spelled his first name "Eric", and that Heifetz convinced him to add a "k" to total 13 letters.

This story is true: I studied for a while with a former Heifetz student named - count the letters! - Arturo Delmoni. One day he said to me maybe only half joking: "Raphael, I think you should change the spelling of your name to 'Rafael' "

"Why?" I asked. He then expained the good luck theory. "I like my name just as it is" I said. The next lesson I said to him "You know, Arturo, I think there's hope for me."

-There's a lot of hope for you.

-That's not what I mean. I thought about what you said, and came up with a couple of pretty good violinists whose names add up to 14 letters like me.

- Who?

- Arthur Grumiaux, and a fellow by the name of Nicolo Paganini!

The subject was never brought up again!

May 4, 2007 at 01:10 AM · Oh yeah, I also feed cats lima beans in July. Of course they have to be barefoot.

May 4, 2007 at 01:24 AM · Speaking of cats that like veggies, my black cat is lucky for me.

May 4, 2007 at 03:46 AM · Hi Raphael, yes indeed that story is true. Mr. Friedman used to spell his first name 'Eric' and Heifetz suggested Friedman to add the extra letter (k) to his first name.

Mr. Friedman followed in his teacher's footsteps. He would keep 13 students in his class.

May 4, 2007 at 06:37 PM · Fascinating! Another former teacher and Heifetz alumnus is Glenn Dicterow. I wonder if he added the 2nd "n" to his name? Other members of the "lucky 13 club" include (though my arithmetic may be off) Kreisler, Szigeti, Menhuin, Ricci, Szeryng, Perlman, and Oliveira. But I found two more members for my "Team 14" - Thibaud, and Milstein.

I don't really think this particular sort of numerology means much, but it's kind of fun!

May 4, 2007 at 09:46 PM · Yeah, I was thinking about it today and it seems like the big names are either 14 or 13 letters...

I call shenanigans.

May 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM · Maxim Vengerov = 13 letters as well. Weird.

Maybe I should change my name to "Mara von Geretyi"--the added bonus is then I could pass for a Hungarian countess. :)

May 5, 2007 at 02:52 AM · That's my problem! Christopher Ryan Burndrett is just simply too long! If I had known this a long time ago I would have made adjustments. I guess I could truncate the Christopher to "Chris" and drop my middle name and that annoying extra "t" in my surname (noone ever spells it right anyway.) I could be the next Heifetz with the proper paperwork and attorney...

May 5, 2007 at 03:08 AM · Right then, let's see if *this* helps me play any better....

May 5, 2007 at 03:18 AM · Hey, My name is 13 letters!

and my last name is the same as an Italian composer/pianist.

let's see if you can guess.

May 5, 2007 at 03:24 AM · Cherubini?

May 6, 2007 at 03:50 PM · Do dates count, as in birth dates? Would the 13th day of any month be lucky or unlucky? Or birth years or multiples: eg 1820, 1937, 2002, 2015? Some elevators in buildings omit the 13th floor?

May 6, 2007 at 09:10 PM · Yes lots of buildings omit having a 13th floor. I actually lived in one that doesn't have a 13th floor. Interestingly on a related note, most buildings in Chinese speaking countries (Taiwan, China, Singapore etc.) do not have a 4th floor, because number four in Chinese (pronounced: sĭ) can be mistaken for another word with the pretty much exact pronunciation just with a slight different intonation (which is only noticeable to colloquial speakers of the language) which means death.

May 6, 2007 at 10:41 PM · This is more the case in Cantonese than other Chinese dialects, say for instance, Mandarin or Shanghainese. “6” is bad-sounding in Cantonese (but not Mandarin) as it sounded similar to “declining” but “8” is lucky because it rhymes with “prosperity.”

I used to think this is all very silly, but on a second thought, there is something to be said about repeating something perceived to be positive -- it may very well be more benefitial psychologically than repeating some sounded negative. Not that thinking makes it so, but we believe and we are what we say to ourselves (and to others) to a large extent.

May 7, 2007 at 01:16 AM · Speaking of B-days, Kreisler and Heifetz, who admired one another enormously, were both born on Feb.2 - K. in 1875, and H. in 1901.

May 7, 2007 at 01:24 AM · Greetings,

I think that wa s also Isolde Menges birthday,



May 7, 2007 at 01:42 AM · Hey Buri, when will you start to blog again? This site feels so quiet these days:(

May 7, 2007 at 02:36 AM · Ay, we miss your typos.

And I mean that in a good, sincere way.

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