Athletic Playing-What are the qualities you like to see in excellent performing?

January 7, 2008 at 07:43 AM · I know I might get some criticism on what I am about to say, but it must be said. I love athletic playing. When a violinist makes violin playing look like sport, I love it. You know, the hair all flying in the face and sweat dripping. She looks like she is in an intense tenis match. I am sorry, but athletic playing just makes for a way more exciting performance. What I would give to have loose hair (besides having to do a weave, because my real hair can only form a stationary afro) flying all in my face, playing with reckless abandon and perfection.

Forget about technique and posture, blah blah...but what do you feel makes for a great performance,?

Replies (20)

January 7, 2008 at 11:43 AM · I like her playing, but to be honest all I wanted to do during that clip was to take away her violin and sort out her hair - clip it back, take some scissors to it - anything to stop it falling over her face like that. In my view it was very distracting. I think you can be a physical player without looking a mess!

January 7, 2008 at 12:28 PM · When I was watching Mairead Nesbitt (Celtic Women), I wondered if she was really playing live because she flips her long blonde hair around alot (I'm guessing to create dramatic effect). I just couldn't see being able to play with hair in your face, or all over the strings. What happens when hair gets caught under the bow? And to dance around and play in heels too, is amazing. I do know that she has been playing for years and that she knows her music backwards and forwards, but is it live or is it memorex?

January 7, 2008 at 01:30 PM · I love Leila Josefowicz's playing and have loved it since she made her debut on Johnny Carson's tonight show at the age of 12. I also have a dvd of her performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic of the Vieuxtaumps Concerto No.5 in her Hollywood Bowl/LA Phil debut. It's HAIRRAISING especially for a 12 year old.

Leila had a very good career when she was with IMG Artists, then she switched to a smaller boutique agency. Her new manager was known throughout the presenter industry as one of the most unethical, back-stabbiing agents as she would always try to put in "hidden charges" within the contracts. As a result, Leila's career plummetted. About two years ago, Leila switched to another manager and I notice that her career is ascending again. She has artistically grown, is very interesting in her repertoire and playing and has one of the top agents in the business now. This new agent is well liked and respected.

January 7, 2008 at 02:28 PM · That brings back memories of my mother harping on me to keep my hair out of my face. She is very talented and pretty so why hide behind that hair...she needs a barrette.

January 7, 2008 at 04:56 PM · Jasmine, you probably should also watch Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg play the violin. She has an enthusiastic type of stage manner...

January 7, 2008 at 05:01 PM · Anne: That's a good one about NSS LOL! :)

I invited her to perform Brahms Violin Concerto and the Oregon Symphony in Tacoma once. She wore country-style boots and kept dancing around in a square box as if she was dancing to country music. The only thing was, she was performing Brahms!

Also found out something funny about NSS at the time when I picked her up at the airport. She mentioned how much she loves hunting alligators. LOL

January 7, 2008 at 05:28 PM · The hair thing is a bit overdone in this performance, IMO. It's attractive for the hair to fly a little bit. I saw Janine Jansen do this in a Tchaik performance and it was very appealing and endearing. Janine has the charisma thing down pat, Leila is a bit "over the top," as it were:)

I'd hate to read a summary of Leila's career as "hair today, gone tomorrow." J/K

January 7, 2008 at 06:26 PM · I think she had her hair tied up but then some got loose. You don't exactly get much breathing room in this piece. The break after the cadenza wouldn't be long enough to put all her hair back... then again Im not a girl so I dont know if they can do all that with a violin and bow in hand. I've seen girls put on makeup and have a cellphone conversation while driving on a highway so I'm sure it's possible.

January 7, 2008 at 07:14 PM · So does this mean that awhile back when she cut her hair very short (, she wasn't as good? Just kidding, I think.

Seriously though, I like it when a performance SOUNDS athletic. I find it hard to watch when someone throws themselves around to this extent -- but if I were in the audience for this performance, I wouldn't be seeing her in extreme close-up, so it would probably not be so much of an issue.

January 7, 2008 at 07:31 PM · My most weird experience at Leila Josefowicz concert was when she performed the Sibelius Concerto with John Adams and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. This was about 3 years ago. I was thinking... How can someone who look so beautiful and glamorous (she looked so perfect on stage like a real life Barbie doll) come out on stage and move like an athletic baseball player? Also, at the time I was hoping to hear the Sibelius on her Del Gesu "Ebersolt" but she used a Gagliano at that time. I didn't feel the same depth of sound for that concerto when she used the Gagliano.

January 7, 2008 at 08:14 PM · Just imagine if Joshua Bell had long hair...

January 8, 2008 at 12:33 AM · Or Maxim Vengerov...

January 8, 2008 at 12:38 AM · Ha, you must hate Heifetz then, he is steady as a rock when he plays. And so is Nesbitt (Celtic women). She might dance around but her fiddle does not! She is always in perfect form even if her feet are flying about.

Athleticism only gets you grunts and loud breathing in a recording. Judge a player by their sound, not how they look. Although entertaining, athletics is not necessary for good music.

January 8, 2008 at 12:47 AM · No, I love Heifetz and Yehudi Menhuin and Oistrakh, because unlike normal humans, they do not need to move around in order to exude a very powerful presence on stage. That is a rare quality to be able to just stand and seem so powerful....

January 8, 2008 at 12:49 AM · And I love to listen to playing on a cd. But when I go to a performance, I expect the experience to be different. I am looking TO SEE a lot more than hear like I do when listening to a cd. Of course, the number one thing to listen for in a performance is sound quality, but to me, I'd rather see an amazing performer as well, otherwise, I'd just buy the CD. The way a performer moves or communicates with the audience is more important during a performance. If someone is standing still looking terribly nervous and uncomfortable, then the audience will be terribly uncomfortable no matter how well the violinistm sounds. If the performer has a relaxed and powerful stage presence that makes them unique and exciting then the audience will be excited and relaxed, depending on the performer. At least that is my experience when I go to see someone perform.

January 8, 2008 at 01:09 AM · "The way a performer moves or communicates with the audience is more important during a performance."

...and not to be forgotten - the way he/she communicates with fellow musicians/orchestra/conductor. In this Julia Fischer is exemplary, as a lively part of the whole enterprise, and this generally without distracting from the music.

January 8, 2008 at 03:09 AM · Wow! What a great clip. She really is powerful and muscular. Josefowicz recently put on an astonishing performance of John Adams' Violin Concerto with the SPCO. You can read the Star Tribune's review of the concert at this link: Herculean performance by Josefowicz. The paper also named it one of the musical highlights of the year in the 2007 Year-End issue.

The Pioneer Press also raved about her, calling Josefowicz "a lithe, impossibly slender, astonishingly muscular violinist… Josefowicz proved herself a performer of astonishing power and emotion in Friday's performance - utterly secure, flashy, dramatic and endearing.”

January 8, 2008 at 03:23 PM · Not really a fan. Saw her play Beethoven concerto and was not too crazy about it. She does possess a monster technique, but I feel she is missing something that makes the Beethoven come alive. I think she is more at home with more extroverted music. Very "modern" playing.

January 9, 2008 at 12:23 AM · Isn't the second movement to the Shostakovich Violin Concerto in A minor?(major)

Tis really good

January 9, 2008 at 03:51 AM · Greetings,

Tod, i wonder if I billed myself as `fat slob violinist` I could get better press coverage?



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