Youtube video of New York Philharmonic Concertmaster David Nadien performing solo selections form Swan Lake

September 19, 2009 at 05:53 PM ·

This is just a fantastic video of David Nadien, I wish there were more out there. Bravo Mr. Nadien!

Replies (31)

September 18, 2009 at 11:56 PM ·

Great find!!  He plays so effortlessly.

September 19, 2009 at 10:55 PM ·


September 20, 2009 at 03:26 AM ·

Great recording!  Thanks for bringing it to our attention.  Bernstein is one of my favorite conductors and teachers of music.  This clip is from his series of Young People's Concerts.

September 20, 2009 at 03:31 AM ·


what makes it all the more astonishing to me is if you look at one of the back desk violiists as the camera pans in (the one who is rather bald).  Obviously all top ntch players etc.  but he is so rigid and shackled (relatively speaking his body movement seems to lack any natural ebb and flow.  Then along comes Mr Nadien and words fail...



September 20, 2009 at 03:55 AM ·

Did David Nadien try for soloist career, or did he want to be NYP lead by preference?

Buri, they're ALL rather bald pretty much.  

September 20, 2009 at 04:04 AM ·

The other vids by that yoputube account holder are great - the ones from the Bernstein series on Folk music taught me a lot. 

September 20, 2009 at 04:50 AM ·

Buri, which bald guy?  I couldn't tell...

September 20, 2009 at 07:55 AM ·




September 20, 2009 at 11:29 AM ·


That was just absolutely and utterly stunning!  Thanks!!!


September 20, 2009 at 09:34 PM ·

This video is superb! David Nadien is a wonderful violinist. I especially love his very gorgeous vibrato! It blows me away! Years ago, when I played in the Wolf Trap Academy National Orchestra, David Nadien was one of the guest soloists. He played the Brahms Violin Concerto!

September 20, 2009 at 10:10 PM ·

I've watched this several times now, and what amazes me is his seemingly paradoxical relaxed intensity.  That vibrato is so intense!  And yet he makes it with fluidity and ease of motion that eludes me.  I can't seem to speed mine up without creating unnecessary tension.

I really enjoy listening to him.  Thanks for sharing that, Nate!

September 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM ·

A bit off topic, but a question for Marina, if I may:

Having studied with Mr. Nadien, can you impart any words of wisdom regarding the seeming paradox of relaxed intensity in his vibrato - inquiring minds want to know/emulate/worship.



PS - I think I own every Nadien CD available - wonderful violinist!

September 20, 2009 at 11:30 PM ·

 I always have a soft spot in my heart for the old-time violinists.  Thanks for sharing!  The thing that is nice, to me, about his vibrato, is that the speed of it is well coordinated to the speed of the bow--so despite it being intense it doesn't seem out of place or forced in any way.  When I was first starting the violin I had his rendition of the suzuki pieces, but actually have never seen him play before.  So seeing the video was great--thanks again.

September 20, 2009 at 11:35 PM ·

Wow! He is phenominal!!!!!  I agree about the vibrato!

Is it just me or does his violin seem a bit larger than the usual violin????

September 21, 2009 at 12:46 AM ·

Wow, he sounds a lot like Heifetz. He has that great, electric vibrato. His violin does look a little big to me too...

September 21, 2009 at 04:58 AM ·

What wonderful musicianship- everything in place- tasteful, elegant, strong yet supple where it needs to be. I realize all our opinions are subjective, but really, can anyone find any fault with such relaxed and musically sensitive violin playing as David Nadien's? As far as I'm concerned, he is on a par with the best of them.

September 21, 2009 at 02:38 PM ·

It's not possible to play any better than this.

September 21, 2009 at 03:42 PM ·

That was just superb playing, everything I love about the instrument, such elegance and refined taste, such a wonderful violinist.  Thanks for hunting this down Nate! J

September 21, 2009 at 05:08 PM ·

Jeremy said that he sounds a lot like Heifetz, I was thinking that Casper Frantz sounds similar.

September 21, 2009 at 07:06 PM ·

Maybe the violin seems large because he has a small build.  I doubt he's over 5'2 and he's thin.  No matter, they call him a giant anyway.  And he's got the most important thing a violinist can have:  fingers that are all the same length. 

His vibrato is pretty remarkable and he has some distinct thoughts about it.  The most important being that one does not put down the finger tips but plays continually on the pads of the fingers, causing your hand to drop considerably and your left elbow to twist to the left.  It gives a big soft mushy delicious sound.  Secondly vibrato should be used on every note, including very fast passages - I believe everyone of his genre did this.  He taught me finger vibrato (that's where it all starts he says) by putting down a finger and pulsing slightly up and down.  I use this vibrato very often in orchestral pppp playing on sustained notes.  He didn't think highly of arm vibrato and would sometimes imitate it saying something to the effect of "a whole lot of work for a whole lot of nothing."   I'm very lucky to have inherited a lovely wrist vibrato from him although I'm transitioning into historical performance and don't use it as much as I do in my modern playing.

Lovely to see him again.

September 21, 2009 at 08:25 PM ·

Look out Y'all... Marina's in the house!

What a privledge to have been taught by him!!!!

Thank You! For the insight and tips!  I can't wait to try them out!!!!!

September 21, 2009 at 08:41 PM ·

Wow!  Thanks for posting this - such fantastic playing.   Love the sound and the obviously very strong musical personality too, makes me want to go and practice.  Fascinating to have the insight about his teaching as well, he sounds like a very inspiring teacher.

September 21, 2009 at 09:31 PM ·

Thanks for responding, Marina. And thanks again to Nate for discovering and posting the video clip.  Let the practice begin.

September 21, 2009 at 11:39 PM ·

It is wonderful to hear this. I needed to hear playing like this again...

Great elegance, integrity and profound artistry. Wonderful to hear. I wish there were more of this out there today...

September 22, 2009 at 02:44 PM ·

There is a fairly recent DVD interview with David Nadien. Apparently he left his NY Phil CM post for the more lucrative results of big-city and national freelancing. He said it was necessary for the life style he wanted. He is a lot older on the DVD and does not do any real playing.

I imagine sales of  those Suzuki CDs continue to bring in some regular income!


September 22, 2009 at 03:59 PM ·

Andrew, I know the dvd you speak of well.  He doesn't do any real playing on the dvd but let me assure it's not because he can't still play.  He's led a life completely free of injuries and bad habits though now that he's much older he doesn't care to play in front of people although he demonstrates everything in a lesson, even the hardest bits - his playing was in tip top shape a few years ago when I last saw him.  I used to go to my lessons early and stand outside the front door listening to him practice.  To my ear he sounded no less great than he did when younger but maybe to his own ears he didn't like it as much and doesn't perform anymore - he's too much of a perfectionist for that.

September 22, 2009 at 11:19 PM ·

Marina, can you share more about some of the things that Mr. Nadien had you do to create that type of vibrato. This is really wonderful playing. Terry

September 23, 2009 at 02:35 AM ·

I was just re-viewing that DVD interview yesterday. He plays a snippet from Kreisler's "Leibeslied". The beautiful vibrato is still there. His interviewer asks him how he gets such a beautiful tone, and he deadpans "I have no idea. It just comes out that way". He soon admits that he was joking and that he has a pretty good idea.

September 23, 2009 at 05:51 AM ·

Haha yeah I was also watching that DVD Raphael.  I don't think he sounds that way by mistake.  Thank you Marina for all the comments about Nadien.  They are very interesting, coming from someone that studied with him. 

September 23, 2009 at 06:54 AM ·

"Kreisler's "Leibeslied"" - great!

I often found that non-germans have a problem with "ie" and "ei", like spelling "Riesling" "Reisling". I haven't found someone call Kreisler "Kriesler" yet... [edit: totally wrong. I used the search function after posting my comment...] :-)

Leibeslied would mean "Body song" or "belly song". The Piece by Kreisler is "Liebesleid", which means love's sorrow. Today the term "Liebeskummer" is used instead.

Maybe germans have some typical misspellings in english, too (apart from the usual mistakes that can happen in a foreign language).

October 4, 2009 at 04:42 AM ·

I just came across a YouTube performance of the Russian violinist, Abram Shtern, playing the same piece. See what you think.

BTW, you won't see Shtern playing. It's an audio with stills of him. Go forth - compare and contrast! I'll start. Shtern is a new discovery for me. I must say he's none too shabby even compared with the great Nadien! Nadien is brighter and more brilliant; Shtern more darkly and sweetly sentimental, with a beautiful Old-World feeling. Of course, they played in different halls, with different recording equipment. Relatively speaking, it's like comparing Heifetz with Kreisler.

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