worry about the future of classical violin,,,,,,,,,not!:)

May 29, 2007 at 01:49 PM · please enjoy what they have to offer and curb the urge to compare and criticize:) forgive me if i have overlooked any...







Replies (36)

May 29, 2007 at 03:35 PM · There's also a charming little cutie named Valerie she plays piano and violin and her sis plays piano and flute. I think Valerie has only been playing a couple of years.

May 29, 2007 at 05:22 PM · only 1 of those violinists has a soul...

May 29, 2007 at 08:21 PM · Hi Al,

Mindy and Ladusa both sound really good in the clips you posted; however, I really think that this other Stepan kid is just a joke...

Anyhow: If you like to browse talented kids on Youtube, maybe you missed this one. To me he's the best I've ever spotted on Youtube - I keep forwarding his video to everybody I know since I found it a couple of months ago...


I'm curious to hear your opinion.


May 29, 2007 at 10:11 PM · Bernardo...

What do you mean you think Stepan is a joke? I mean, after Sarah Chang came out, this kid is quite believable. Sarah Chang was playing this and more before even Stepan's 11 years.

May 29, 2007 at 10:14 PM · Oh and the kid from Violinmasterclass.com is truly exceptional although I hope he grows up with even more emotional playing and maturity. He will be quite amazing if he does.

May 29, 2007 at 11:01 PM · yes bernardo, i agree, that kid is awesome, to be able to play it that deep. but, lol, he missed my arbitrary cut off age of 10. now that is a joke:)

oh come on, i actually really like stepan's playing. i am not a musician, but i feel he is very unique, seems to already possess a style, like a rebel. but hey, what do i know!:)

i am telling ya, if you have kids or students with motivation issues, let them watch some of these... saves a lot of saliva.

May 30, 2007 at 12:06 AM ·

May 30, 2007 at 12:32 AM · After watching these videos, I thought of quitting!

May 30, 2007 at 01:03 AM · If you guys want to see insane prodigy talent watch this...


Not inspired really, but you gotta give it up to anyone who play that piece fairly intune at any age.

DKurganov, it's a pretty brash statement to make that someone has no soul. If you think it's because someone is calculated and highly technically proficient without an obvious demonstration of emotional involvement, I might then say the same thing about a violinist you're constantly talking about.

It's fine to not like someone's playing because you find it boring and uninspired, but telling someone they have no soul is nothing less than character assassination, and this is comming from someone who is not adverse to telling people what he thinks.

Give these kids time, and time to live.

May 30, 2007 at 01:45 AM · Thank you Pieter. Now I really want to quit.

BTW, who transcribed this for violin?

May 30, 2007 at 03:49 AM · I don't know. Maybe that would make me run for the exit.

Stefan gets my vote. But like D. said, I don't see why his teacher doesn't tell him a couple of things. Maybe he has a strategy. Maybe he figures there's plenty of time. I also suspect the don't have him on some big competitive track. He seems to be having fun, not wondering if he's going to get a whuping. P.S. I always thought this tune was Wagner. I was inspired to read the English translation and convert it into a Bluegrass song. So Kevin, don't let it intimidate you. Let it inspire you to even greater heights! Onward! Upward! Etc!

May 30, 2007 at 04:35 AM · I think all three of these kids have tremendous potential. Right now the only one who is showin a "soul" in his playing is Stepan -- however, if I have learned anything in my years of teaching, I've learned that you never know how a kid will develop. In 3 or four years any one of them could wtat to connect his/her soul with his/her violin playing. In 20 years any one of them could be a profound musical artist. Or maybe not, maybe they will all be robots. Or maybe one or another will drop the violin, or..... My feeling is that when you get a kid with a talent of that magnitude -- you give the talent room to develop and don't put it into a straight jacket. I was at Meadowmount with Pinky Zukerman when he first arrived in the USA at age 14. He did what he damn pleased. His playing was grossly, tastlessly, outrageous. A lot of people thought he would never amount to anything. But other people knew that this was one of the great talents of the age.

May 30, 2007 at 04:52 AM · Kevin,

It's Schubert's famous lied "Erlkonig" (poem by Goethe), transcribed by Wilhelm Ernst. It's probably one of the hardest things written for violin.

May 30, 2007 at 06:55 AM · Stepan is taught by his mother, who also teaches his sister.

little sister playing . My comment (by rollnjay) and similar by others, I thought was not too critical, but wow, defensive mum I suspect. I really like her brother, I think he understands the music, and he isn't just a mimic.

Contrary to what you felt Jim, I wonder if there is a driving force here to prove how advanced these two are. but then, what do I know, I'm only assuming.

anyway, I'm impressed by anyone of any age who can play anything half decent on the instrument. My favourite at the moment (besides my enduring enjoyment in watching Al Ku's little girl, thanks for sharing her with us Al), is this little kiddie,

really cute liddle boy. Probably not a prodigy or anything, but looks like to me a kid who will keep violining safe and enjoyable for the next generations.

May 30, 2007 at 07:39 AM · and another thing :) I second what many people write about these kids with talent. Why do their teachers have them performing such emotionally mature pieces before they're ready for it?

I don't mean Mozart or Paganini for that matter, because that's all about being a little show off and it suits talented kids to play it ( I say that smilingly). But for instance, why waste this little girl's talent by getting her to play this 8 year old could have played something more appropriate, like this? It defeats me. Probably I'm recognising that I'll never play it even this well. :(

May 30, 2007 at 08:34 AM · You use Mozart to show off?

May 30, 2007 at 08:40 AM · I was truly amazed at this young boy! he looks no older than 10!

Mendellsohn Violin Concerto Third Movement


Sarasate's Zapateado

May 30, 2007 at 10:26 AM · I play Mozart to humiliate myself. And to humour others.

May 30, 2007 at 01:26 PM · first of all, thanks everyone for providing more links to watch,,,always eye-opening and educational.

couple things:)

1. i would have a hard time saying that someone, kid or not, has no "soul" (musical spirit or deep understanding i take?) i agree with peter that it is bit harsh, and this is coming from yet another person who is eager to put it the way it is:) anyway, i don't want to dwelve on that since i said early, be a little bit more considerate because they are young (and probably outplay anyone of you, soul or not, by a mile, by that age...now i feel better:) i agree with roy that it is so very unpredictable going forward even at that level of accomplishment. we may not know how they feel, their parents role or expectation, or the teachers' management/guidance, but, by putting up those clips, other kids or those young at heart have benefited from the inspiration, if they care to be inspired. hardwork makes a big difference, that if other kids work hard, they also have a fighting chance (however slim:).

2. i find stepan (spelling?) fascinating. watching him is like watching a kid that is really good at chess who dares to play bold...unpredictable and taking you for a wild ride. like an internet startup in the 90's may be, you just never know... also, his bow hold is quite unconventional. that claw can move!

3. i assume these kids put in hours per day to get where they are. it is a big investment on their part (also their parents i presume). i hope they find their niche because over the long haul they need to carve out their own path instead of being sarah chang III or IV or other me-too products of this very competitive, finicky field. good luck to all!

May 30, 2007 at 03:14 PM · Well, I believe that this poor kid is a joke because he looks and sounds like a robot, and his intonation is not that great. He also doesn't look like he's enjoying himself at all - contrary to the other ones featured - so the result is kind of painful to watch and listen to, in my opinion.

May 30, 2007 at 06:22 PM · "So Kevin, don't let it intimidate you."

Well, wanting to quit is one thing. Actually quitting is quite another. In fact, I could have quitted 20 years ago after a masterclass in which there was this six-year-old (or maybe 7-year-old) playing Scherzo Tarantella! He stumbled once in the middle but managed to pull through (he was playing unaccompanied.) Everyone was floored. The professor asked his mother how long had he been playing that piece. The mother replied, "3 days". And the professor looked kind of stunned saying, "3 days?!" I don't remember much of the rest of the class. That experience was way beyond intimidating. But I didn't quit and I'm thankful that I didn't.

If I got his name correctly, I think that prodigy is now a successful violinist in China. I'm glad that it worked out for him because not all prodigies end up having a successful solo career.

May 30, 2007 at 09:47 PM · For the Love of God... can someone tell my why they would want to upload pieces of their kids playing? I have a talented daughter who plays violin... but...I know this will bite me in the back end... I would never even think about putting her performances on youtube.

I have enjoyed all the videos that Al Ku and others have sent... I couldn't watch all of them.. dial up here : (

Then the parents that send the upload expect glowing comments and when there is a couple of good critizms... they get really upset... Sharelle's example is one of them.

I agree all of those kids have potential...but what exactly is the motive behind the whole youtube thing?

May 30, 2007 at 10:48 PM · Bernardo... he's like 11 years old. Relax.

May 31, 2007 at 12:43 AM · why putting my kids' playing on youtube?

the only answer i can come up with is... to show off:) certainly not showing off great or even good playing, but something. may be the excitement of sharing music in a new medium? may be the chance to play in a virtual recital?

jodi, jump in, the water is perfect!:)

May 31, 2007 at 09:14 AM · This kid is cute:


I surprised at how insightful this kid was about the song he was playing:


May 31, 2007 at 09:45 AM · BTW, Al: I'm still waiting on an answer to my question on A's way of learning phrasing. I know, its a bit tragic when I find myself learning from a 6 year old, but my teacher actually recommended I study her closely for the bow distribution after I showed her my favourite Mozart session (you know the one, where she is so smug about getting that harmonic).

As to why people would put their kids up on you tube, I see lots of reason able to tell by the comments that are put up by the poster. Why not show off a bit, why not allow others to revel in the sheer pleasure of seeing fantastic things developing, its a testimony and an artifact of the child's progress, lots of innocuous reasons, I think. I am so impressed by the sheer complexity of the skills that so many of these kids have.

May 31, 2007 at 11:24 AM · sharelle, sorry, i may have overlooked that. besides, a lot of things that she does is really not rigidly instructed. there is a lot of variations in her playing at this stage to my eyes, as i jokingly said that it depends on the treats:) as she says, if you make me happy, i will do a good job... guess she is diplomatic enough not to finish the sentence.

one thing i like is that she is quite flexible and teachable/changeable (not sure if this has something to do with her golf training where whatever she does gets immediate feedback in terms of where the ball lands, can be cruel:). she has a busload of tech issues, but, at the same time, she adapts rather fast which i attribute to her personality partly. if you can show her how it is done, she is eager to try it.

in terms of bow distribution,,, occasionally the teacher will suggest some things that will make more sense if she does it. other times, she pretty much does whatever she pleases.

in terms of phrasing,,,i think that is going to be everyone's weak point esp with a new piece,,,how should it really sound like? what may have helped, just a little, is to see other masters play whenever i can find a clip.

reading laurie's itzhak masterclass hits home imo the most important msg... to express properly. even 10 students of his basically got it "not just right" yet, what to expect from mortals like us?:)

i think with time comes musical understanding and maturity and a thoughtful teacher can help provoke that inner independent search.

it is a tough journey. glad i am not part of it. hahaha:)

May 31, 2007 at 04:17 PM · Wow, how interesting to watch some of these and then wander through the labyrinth of links at YouTube. Felt oddly sad and deflated watching Stepan - such beautiful sounds coming from a mind that seemed, to my eyes, to be focused on notes and technique alone, like a kid who's been taught to flawlessly recite a heartfelt essay in a foreign language he never bothered to translate.

Well done, in that sense, and, like the others have said, you get the feeling that was the goal of the teacher all along. Don't waste your time getting into the soul of the music - that's for old folks. As a kid, just flash them your best technique and you'll be a star, kid. He sure is cute, I must say - his looks will be highly marketable, which I'm sure isn't going unnoticed. Just hope he learns to live and breathe inside the music some day.

May 31, 2007 at 04:24 PM · Just noticed this in Al's opening post:

>and curb the urge to compare and criticize...

Oh, RIGHT, Al. Might as well not ask us to breathe, while we're at it. ; )

May 31, 2007 at 05:15 PM · the girl playing ernst erlkonig is quite talented.

peiter - You act as if the concept of a "soul" is objective. We obviously see this word differently. I stand by my statement...and pertaining to your other comment - If you DID say that, i would first laugh, and then never take anything you say seriuosly again! ;)

May 31, 2007 at 05:46 PM · "If you DID say that, i would first laugh, and then never take anything you say seriuosly again! ;)"

Funny, we have more in common than you think.

June 1, 2007 at 01:02 AM · be-boom...tish! (drum and cymbal)

June 1, 2007 at 12:08 PM · shannon lee does a phenominal job on Der Erlkonig

if you set your metronome to 120 she's on the dot. i believe she's 12-13 in this video? she's now 14


June 1, 2007 at 12:24 PM · sorry i just read the past comments.. seems shannon lee is already known... her teacher, jan mark sloman does a phenominal job in teaching. there are these other two kids mr. sloman teaches that are about shannon's age. no worries for the future!

June 1, 2007 at 10:03 PM · Check out alexandra soumm's videos that she just uploaded



June 2, 2007 at 03:28 AM · I like watching these violinists play. I'm glad there are all these talented kids who still want to play the violin. They're still learning, still growing like all of us. I hope amidst all the practice they get a chance to really love and enjoy the music. I wish them well.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

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

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine