What would you ask Julia Fischer?

December 16, 2008 at 05:19 PM ·

I'll be interviewing her either tomorrow, or sometime in the next few months. Just trying to get the schedules together! At any rate, I'd like to know your questions for Julia Fischer!

Replies (66)

December 16, 2008 at 05:42 PM ·

Ask her where her father has gone - I miss him! :)

December 16, 2008 at 05:49 PM ·

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

December 16, 2008 at 06:57 PM ·

Don't ask her about her father. Here I am! Back healthy, busy and in the middle of a lot of projects (classical music, ofcourse).

Thanks for asking anyway.


December 16, 2008 at 07:32 PM ·

In what ways does she find her piano expertise contributes to her violin mastery? (And vice versa if appropriate)

December 16, 2008 at 09:22 PM ·

Will she join V.com and post bloggs and add to threads??????

What strings and rosin does she prefer?

Any books regarding bowing does she like?


I know, I know, but I've been seriously playing for only 11 months now and 24 years ago prior to that, of course someone like me would ask these things.

Kindest Regards,


December 16, 2008 at 10:14 PM ·


does she teach,  plan to teach, have ideas about what makes a good teacher?



December 16, 2008 at 10:29 PM ·

She is simply amazing!

Her playing is as near perfect as I think anyone can be.  I would really love to hear some insight into her practice routine and how she gets a piece to the point of sheer perfection (sound, pitch, everything---she's amazing!)  I am extremely taken by her extremely rocket fast, and clean shifting technique (just watch her clips!!)...Any secretes to that?   Also, her confidence on the stage in terms of presence and control of the piece (memorization) is astounding.  Does she have any tricks to memorization?

December 16, 2008 at 10:40 PM ·

I'd ask about her about future recording plans.  She is an amazing violinist, absolutely one of my favorites!

December 16, 2008 at 11:15 PM ·

First, congratulate her!

As usual, what strings are her favorite, what does she think about music and young people, the teching methods nowadays?  Does she have a favorite city to tour in?  Does she think people exagerate the good "reputation" of strads and guarneris or do they really play better? 


December 16, 2008 at 11:53 PM ·

Since she is part of the project Rhapsody in School which was started by pianist Lars Voigt and now involves more than 60 prof musicians who combine their concert activity with visiting schools in Germany and Austria, what is her feedback so far ?

and regarding future recording plans (Anthony's Q.) will they include SA-CD and similar modern techniques, and perhaps even serve the growing number of Vinyl-LP fans? Already a lovely JF cover photo on the huge LP sleeve for lets say the Scottish Fantasy or Symphony Espagnole, plus the whole ceremony following.....would be something!


December 17, 2008 at 01:44 AM ·

I would also be very interested in hearing about her and the piano.  I understand she performed the Grieg concerto at the beginning of this year?

Also, there's a video of her teaching where she makes her student lie down on the floor and play the Bach g-minor fugue.  I'd kinda like to know what that was about too...

Otherwise I'm sure anything the two of you talk about pertaining to music and the violin would be very interesting.  Thank you for always sharing these fantastic interviews with us!

December 17, 2008 at 02:00 AM ·

Stephen, I believe she is a professor for violin at the Hochschule fuer Musik in Frankfurt!   I'd like to know if she has any plans to record the Elgar Violin Concerto and also whether she would ever consider switching to baroque violin set-up and baroque bow to play solo Bach?

December 17, 2008 at 04:00 AM ·

or even the Elgar?

December 17, 2008 at 05:42 AM ·

Looks like it won't be tomorrow but in a few weeks. So keep your questions coming! :)

December 17, 2008 at 08:50 AM ·

What does Yoga mean to her?

December 17, 2008 at 12:01 PM ·

Yoga is a creamy diet food in the dairy section of grocery stores. Some have fruit and oth.......... ooops.

December 17, 2008 at 12:13 PM ·

Hi Laurie would you mind asking Ms. Fischer how she feels being one of (if not THE) the youngest violin professors in Germany and having to work with colleagues and students that are maybe a lot older and experienced (teaching wise)?

December 17, 2008 at 02:01 PM ·

What are the things that inspire her?

  • in music
  • in art
  • in life?

December 18, 2008 at 02:15 PM ·

Why does music by Bruckner chase her away, and how does she feel about music by composers who hardly wrote for solo violin, like Wagner, Mahler, Richard Strauss.

Any dream projects she might want to realize in long-distance future?


December 18, 2008 at 03:15 PM ·

Julia would like to know that our Chinese friend who drove over 100 miles to meet us in Cincinnati for her Dvorak performance,  became a JF fan, when having never heard any western classical music, I played her DVD of the Four Seasons for him.  When I returned to the living room after cooking his Kung Po Chicken, I found him on the edge of his seat, and under his breath saying "gosh" , "wow", "oooh" and the like.  When the performance was over, he jumped up and amost shouting, said: " Where you buy that?!"  My wife and I gave it to him as a going away present when he left Albany NY to begin his PhD studies at Ohio State.  My wife and I traveled over 700 mile to hear that (wonderful) performance, but I told Julia that if she had recorded it for PentaTone, I probably would not have spent the resources necessary to come to Cincinnati.  Having a long line of people behind me, I did not get a chance to fully articulate what I want to impress upon her although I did say that PentaTone records to specially formatted  DVD discs rather than CD and that their recordings carry 64 times the information density of CDs.  So promise of a Decca recording would not have been sufficient to restrain us from visiting Cincinnati. 

In stereo the difference is like the difference between an old TV and a new well set-up HD TV.  But even more important, a PentaTone "surround sound" SACD yields an enormous portion of the aural experience of attending a live concert.  The rear channels form an image of the reflections from the rear of the hall, while the left front and left rear speaker reproduce the reflections from the left side and coversely the right is handled in a similar fashion.  As I said, a multi-channel "surround" SACD from PentaTone played back in really good equipment yeilds an enormous portion of the aural experience of attending a live concert.

Julia should not turn her back on this with out experiencing it herself.  It is the sort of thing, like drawing her bow across the G string of that Guadignini,  one can only understand through experience.  I would urge Julia to hear such a system in someone's home.  I would also urge her to use her time with Decca to enlarge her name recognition, it is still lacking in the US.  But I urge her to record for Decca things like Wieniawski, Sarasate, Saint Saens, Bruch - not Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Elgar, Sibelius, Shostakovitch or Bartok.  Save the truly great concerti for a return to PentaTone.  Decca, now a subsidiary of Universal Studios fired all the great Decca engineers.  They subsequently formed Classic Sound LTD and made some SACDs for Decca under contract.  But Universal didn't see that enterprise as making enough money and they think it is too expensive to spend the money on Julia or anyone else to properly record them to SACD.  Little PentaTone by contrast, has never done any less!

All the above is moot if Decca will make the rest of her recordings to Blu-Ray video discs.    Although the high density PCM used for Blu-Ray is marginally less accurate than the DSD PentaTone uses,  Hi - Def surround sound and video on Blu-Ray would be enormously beneficial and if there were a Julia Fischer In Concert  Blu-Ray disc, that  would prompt me to immediatly go out and purchase the finest Blu-Ray player money can buy.


December 18, 2008 at 04:15 PM ·

Hansjürgen, read the "Zeit" interview from yesterday for an answer to your Bruckner question (page 2). Here she explained that to her Bruckner describes a state and not an evolution. She feels like being 80 years old when hearing Bruckner. Although she does not feel ready for Bruckner she can imagine that she may become a Bruckner lover in the future. She thinks there is a classical way from Mahler over Wagner to Bruckner.


Allen, in an interview in 2006 she told that she thinks in music age does not matter. She feels supported and encouraged by her older colleagues and appreciates this.


December 19, 2008 at 01:06 AM ·

thanks, Mathias B,

I was fortunate enough to read the Zeit interview online the day before the print issue was out, and thought to add this particular question to Laurie's repertoire.

BTW, who reads the weekly Die Zeit in the US, or in Japan? In Germany its a very limited number of readers, ...


December 19, 2008 at 07:51 AM ·

That's why I tried to provide a summary of her answer. I would love to read an interview with as many as possible questions not asked before by interviewers. But I think I got your point and I agree: Her current opinion on these composers is interesting as it tells something about JF.

December 20, 2008 at 09:22 AM ·

"I would love to read an interview with as many as possible questions not asked before by interviewers."

Yes I would love to as well, but lets be realistic.

For one thing, there are hardly any questions never asked before, plus the fact that limelight artists like Julia Fischer, Mutter, Bell etc. have become and have to be - understandably, in view of the media hype - very selective as far as interviewers und the sheer number of interview dates are concerned. Recently in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung mezzosoprano Christine Schäfer mentioned one reason for her to leave the DG label was their massive pressure on her schedule for media presence, she now publishes on her own label.

In view of this it certainly will be a very enjoyable privilege for Laurie to make arrangements for a meeting with one of THE artists of  the century, who, as Bruce had indicated, is not yet much known across the Atlantic.



December 20, 2008 at 11:24 PM ·

Will she compete in the next Elisabeth-competition in May 2009 or another competition, because it is still possible with her age?

December 21, 2008 at 11:05 AM ·

Queen Elizabeth II Competition 2010


December 21, 2008 at 08:59 PM ·

no, it's May 2009. 

December 22, 2008 at 12:05 AM ·

had in mind the one on QE2....;-)

still, and serious, Jula's view of and experience with competitions might be of interest.


December 22, 2008 at 02:20 AM ·

Yay, Julia Fischer is awesome.  Ask her if she has a boyfriend?

Also ask her if she has ever played (or is planning to play) the Bach Chaconne on both violin and piano in the same concert.  Or any sort of "Bach only" concert, or any sort of only-one-composer concert.  Has she ever accompanied herself on piano (on recording, I mean..)?

December 23, 2008 at 02:33 AM ·

I agree with Charles C (22 Dec) - Julia is unique in playing violin and piano to the highest standard. During her forthcoming (2009-10) tour of the Bach solo partitas and sonatas has she considered playing the ciaconna in its original version and in the Busoni arrangement for piano which I know she admires from one of her CD insert notes. It would be fascinating to hear both versions played by the same person and there is only one person in the world who could do it to a high standard - Julia!

At the New Year's Day concert in Frankfurt 2008 she played the Saint-Saens 3rd violin concerto and the Grieg piano concerto as soloist in both and this was recorded on film/video. I spoke to the company that made the recording and they said it might be issued on commercial DVD - does Julia know if this is to happen?

I much enjoy her CD insert notes - on the importance to her of Glenn Gould playing a particular Bach keyboard concerto as seen on the Art of the Piano, on the importance to her of Menuhin's performance live of Bach solo works, on why she chose to record the Khachaturian concerto, and on that Bach-Busoni ciaconna as played by Kissin. On her more recent CDs these personal writings have dried up - on future CDs please could she revive writing for us on what matters to her, which influences have formed her?

The boyfriend question is a bit sensitive. She mentioned in an interview circa 2006 a boyfriend who was a student engineer at MIT. If this has blossomed see if she is prepared to talk about it. If not, nothing should be published on the subject. I would like to see her happily married and producing the next generation of musicians, she has such a generous affectionate disposition. Lisa Batiashvili is a model to her and indeed Hilary Hahn in combining marriage and two children with a high profile career as a leading soloist.

December 23, 2008 at 01:27 PM ·

I'd like to know what, and how, she practices. Is violin playing still difficult "on old Olympus' topmost top"? Or is it more and more about interpretation? Or both?

December 24, 2008 at 06:54 AM ·

I'd like to ask her something along the following lines:

1)  Do you have any general thoughts on the current state of the classical music recording industry?  Do you believe there are too many choices currently among standard repetoire works for consumers?  Does this make it harder for newer artists to sell newly-recorded CD's of standard repetoire works (such as your forthcoming recording of Bach Violin Concertos) with so much back-catalog availability?  

2)  If you could invite any 3 people, living or deceased, over to your house for dinner, who would they be and why? 

3)  What does the classical music community need to do or to continue doing to incease its visability and fan-base amongst the general public?



December 25, 2008 at 10:39 AM ·

 Scott I like your question:

"1)  Do you have any general thoughts on the current state of the classical music recording industry?  Do you believe there are too many choices currently among standard repetoire works for consumers?  Does this make it harder for newer artists to sell newly-recorded CD's of standard repetoire works (such as your forthcoming recording of Bach Violin Concertos) with so much back-catalog availability?"

1)Of course my question in addition to that would be: How broad is her repertoireknowledge compared to collegues. Does she like to listen to rarities and not so well known repertoire from this century and the centuries before? Is there ever a chance she will record for example the seldom played and recorded 3th violinconcerto of Paganini (she played a movement of the 2th in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam) or 3th violinconcerto of Vieuxtemps? OK she recorded the not so well known Glazunov and Kachaturian violinconcerto's.

2 other questions:

2) How much beer did she drink during the Oktoberfeste in Munich (I drunk 4 litres in one day) and has she a traditional Dirndl?

3) Will she begin a weblog on violinist.com and will she begin a Youtube-channel like Hilary Hahn http://www.youtube.com/user/hilaryhahnvideos ?  It is always interesting to read/see the visions from professionals.

January 7, 2009 at 11:03 PM ·

Have you tried playing without a shoulder rest? 

January 11, 2009 at 07:43 PM ·

I would like Ms Fischer to talk about why she decided to leave Pentatone Classics (a label that fostered her development) for Decca (who don't have a great track record for sustaining investment once the next 'bright young thing' comes along). Does she have any regrets about leaving a loyal company? Does she have any potential misgivings about how Decca might treat her (length of contract and repertoire choice)?

Previously, she was quoted as saying that surround sound (via SACD in the context of Pentatone) was very important to her. Why has more realistic presentation of her art and sound become less important?

January 19, 2009 at 02:15 AM ·


In her recent interview in the February 2009 issue of Gramophone magazine, Julia says that any time she learns a work for violin and piano she learns the pianist’s part too, has done so for the Franck, Brahms and Grieg sonatas, and first did this when she was eight or ten. She wouldn’t rule out the possibility that she might play both parts in some violin-and-piano pieces by multitracking. She probably wouldn’t be willing to discuss specific plans but she might be willing to talk in the abstract about the pros and cons of doing this. The pros might be complete unanimity of ensemble, phrasing and emotional intensity and subtlety; the cons might include loss of the sense of one performer inspiring the other.
    Speaking of which, last September in Frankfurt she took obvious delight in her musical partnership with Daniel Muller-Schott and Yakov Kreizberg (a fine pianist as well as a conductor) in two recitals. Can we hope to hear her play live with these partners again or record with them for Decca?

January 19, 2009 at 02:58 AM ·


I would also be a litlte dunious aout this kind of Janus recording;)   Usually I hope for contrast of person to create tension in a recording.  An interwsting exmaple of his not working well is Heifetz plus Heifetz in the Bach double.

Who know though?  It might be a blast...



January 19, 2009 at 03:44 AM ·

Any practice advice for us amateurs?

January 19, 2009 at 04:58 PM ·

 Greetings, everyone! Julia did this as an e-mail interview,and this week I will be posting the answers that she sent me to your questions as part of the daily CD contest. So each day I'll post several of those questions and answers. 

I listened to the Bach, and it's quite nice, a good, brisk Bach Double. She negotiates all that awkwardness in the A Minor Concerto with much finesse. An expert driver in a fine car!

BTW, though the S and Ps are sacred to us, I do believe they are secular music. ;)

January 19, 2009 at 06:17 PM ·

Oh, what a treat! Julia Fischer! I've had the fortune of seeing her perform here in Brussels twice. The first time we (my daughter and I)  went backstage and actually met her and asked for her autograph. She said her fingers were still 'numbed' from playing so her signature was a little quirky. I have her autographed photo proudly displayed in my office. I'm going to look for the little video we took of her and maybe post it here.

But my question to her would be: what is her advice for people who start playing the violin when they are, like me, older (in the 30's and 40's). As a teacher, what kind of exercises or methods would she recommend? What approach would she use to teach an older student?

Thanks so much!


Violin and Books




August 24, 2010 at 07:00 AM ·

Here you may listen to an interview Julia gave on stage during a BBC PROMS recital on August 16, 2010, between performing Ysaye Solo sonata no. 1 and Franck sonata 


It's in English and lasts a bit less than 6'


August 24, 2010 at 09:44 AM ·

And here a written report by Classic FM (in English) from a in-car talk with the artist;:



August 25, 2010 at 01:22 PM ·

 This old thread has come to life again. I heard a fantastic reading of the D. Sitkovetski transcription of the Goldberg Variations at Wigmore this summer with JF, Diemut Poppen, and Alex Chausarian. Any plans to record it? With three instruments of different timbres the canons were heard clearly as canons.  With the strings, the dissonances persisted until the end of the note rather than decaying immediately. Harmony was clearly the product of polyphony! Eat your heart out ye fans of the Tristan Chord: John Sebastian clearly rules!  By far the most exciting Goldberg since I've heard Gould in '59 or '60 in SF. I was very impressed with JF. She was not afraid to play with extreme simplicity, clearly she's the real McCoy.

September 4, 2010 at 05:04 AM ·

Julia Fischer performed Paganini Cap. 13 live in German TV talk show "3nach9" (with Tom Jones and others), September 3, 2010:


And here the link for downloading the full video clip (14'21"):


Look for file:



October 1, 2010 at 07:08 AM ·


Julia Fischer performs Ysaye Solo sonata 1/4 live on French TV killing a microphone

Have fun!


October 1, 2010 at 03:17 PM ·

2h 47m of free violin & piano music performed by Julia Fischer & colleagues, in mp3 format: http://bit.ly/cCEXer


October 2, 2010 at 05:16 AM ·

There is another, better resolution version of Julia Fischer's live Ysaÿe French TV interview about her Grieg piano & Saint-Saëns violin concertos DVD and Paganini CD here: http://bit.ly/9BOdal

Watch her last up-bow.


October 2, 2010 at 08:15 AM ·

FMF - Good thing that she isn't as tall as I am (190cm), I have killed quite a few lamps and a bowtip :)

June 24, 2011 at 07:56 PM ·

would love to ask her if she recorded the sibelius and if so where I can get it

also I would love to ask her what kind of chinrest she uses. I have never seen anything quite like it. I see it is similar to kaufman but it seems very much larger than kaufman rests I have used and seen, is this something she had made specially for her?

August 8, 2011 at 09:20 PM ·

Violin concerto 1 by Shostakovich (live performance) on YouTube:






August 17, 2011 at 07:58 PM ·

There have been quite a few questions about which chinrest Julia Fischer uses. You'll find detailed information on this matter herebit.ly/oZbHke



August 18, 2011 at 12:10 PM ·

I take it from the date of Laurie's original post that Fisher has already been interviewed? Anyway, I would have the same basic questions for all busy, touring soloists: how do they orginize themselves in terms of travel plans, packing, keeping abreast of their schedules, practicing on the road, schlepping luggage, keeping up their strength and energy, and musical freshness with a lot of repitition, dealing with matters that need attention at home, how do they co-ordinate their managers, publicists, record companies, concert-presenters etc. do they have personal assistants, etc.

August 18, 2011 at 03:49 PM ·

Looks much like mine ;) . But I do not look like Ms Fischer at all. (in my dreams, I play like her, too). Go figure.

August 18, 2011 at 03:53 PM ·

Their managers and assistants do most of that :-) 

August 19, 2011 at 04:46 AM ·

Am I getting a hint of a shoe fetish here??  ;-D

BTW, I understand that in the cases of Sarah Chang and Hilary Hahn, that their families help out some at the home front. In Hilary's wonderful DVD you see some hints of the sort of things I'm asking about, including a charming scene at the end of the DVD, showing her packing up at the end of a concert and getting ready to fly off to her next destination.

September 2, 2011 at 09:09 PM ·

And here we have a live recording of Sarasate's "Carmen", performed by Julia Fischer 13 years ago: http://bit.ly/pXAvvU


September 8, 2011 at 12:19 PM ·

You'll find over 2h 47min of free downloadable music with Julia Fischer herehttp://bit.ly/rj4lrT



September 8, 2011 at 12:27 PM ·

For a date?

September 25, 2011 at 02:49 PM ·

And now: Here is the video from live broadcast on May 29, 2010 - Julia Fischer performs Mendelssohn Violin concerto with Ivan Fischer and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.


September 26, 2011 at 09:26 PM ·

Best to download it first (with right-click) and watch it later from your local PC. Plus I've increased bandwidth for you by a factor of 10 right now. You should not have any problem playing the videos anymore.


September 28, 2011 at 03:22 AM ·

What is the most important quality in a musician?

September 28, 2011 at 07:51 AM ·

 dear Frank-Michael, it is great of you putting up this concert by Julia. not so many top professional violinists make themselves available in this manner, many thanks.  but: I just downloaded the files and there seems to be something wrong, at least on my computer the image trembles continuously. the sound is fine though.

September 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM ·

You'll need a player capable of dealing with mp4 formats, I recommend VLC (just google it).


September 29, 2011 at 07:39 PM ·

Here we have Julia Fischer's live performance of the Sibelius Violin concerto in 2007: http://bit.ly/qaWfKJ


November 12, 2011 at 04:49 PM · And here comes live recording of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with Julia Fischer, Orchestra of the Suisse Romande, Marek Janowski from this year plus Paganini Caprices 23+24: http://bit.ly/saXzOM


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