Best Violin Concerto????

October 30, 2004 at 05:03 AM · I am a freshman in HS...and there is a concerto competition at our school. It is open to seniors and I have been wondering about it. I guess its better to worry about it earlier than later.

I need some suggestions on what should be some good Concertos. In the Past 2 years, violin winners have played Tchaiv., Vieuxtemps, and Beethoven. There are a total of about 6 winners and it is almost always guaranteed that at least 2 violins will probably play.

As I am finishing up Zigeunerweisen, I was wondering what i should play after this piece. i want to do a serious concerto...maybe Vieuxtemps No.5, or even Sibelius.

The senior Concerto Competition is in 4 years but i want to prepare for it now. Any suggestions on which concerto would be good to do?

Some concertos i was thinking of are:


Dvorak (i have self taught myself almost the whole 1st and 3rd movements)


Tchaivkosky (i have self taught myself almost the whole 1st movement)

What are your ideas??? And what did you guys play for your big "senior" concert or just your most important concert?

Replies (56)

October 30, 2004 at 06:03 AM · I think you should play Sibelius. I'm a sophomore now but I'm also going to try to do the senior concerto in my school. Don't know what I'll play, but one idea which I think is really good is playing the Brahms double with my twin brother who obviously plays cello. The problem is the orchestra part is hard.

October 30, 2004 at 06:09 AM · What about Brahms? I LOVE Brahms. It's a great concerto.

October 30, 2004 at 06:14 AM · Patrick, if your violin has rich and powerful sound, choose Schostakovich 1st, or 2nd concerto. Because Schostakovich is in your list, I believe you understand this music and it fits your individuality. Vieuxtemps #5 is great too (one of my favorite concertoes).

October 30, 2004 at 05:08 PM · some good choices. i recomend bejamin britten's concerto, or the walton

October 30, 2004 at 06:49 PM · The longer you work on a piece, the more style and flavor you can add to it. Since you've begun Tchaikovsky you should continue with it.

Of course, your personal musical preferences come first, so I'd recommend listening recordings of all of them before you decide.

October 30, 2004 at 08:08 PM · Thanks...I was wondering what you guys thought about Goldmark? I really love that concerto...

Also by the way, the schools says if i start practicing now, for the concerto competition, i may be able to play all three movements for like Dvorak, or Tchaivkosky, or sibelius or all movements for Shostakovich....

October 31, 2004 at 12:07 AM · Goldmark a-minor sounds nice if you will not play it "too romantic" as some violinists do. (I've never heard his another concerto). I know that some people don't think Goldmark is interesting (I mean juri might not understand it).

October 31, 2004 at 12:33 AM · Has anybody heard, or know any information about Goldmark's second violin concerto?

October 31, 2004 at 01:02 AM · beethoven isn't really teh best competition piece unless you're a totally matured musician. I wouldnt start learning your piece four years in advance, i'd start learning it like 9 months in advance.

November 1, 2004 at 12:54 PM · Lalo Symphonie Espagnol would be a great choice!

One thing that you truly need to consider - the orchestra. You may be up to playing one of the great concertos, but whatever you do, make sure that the concerto you pick to perform is something that your school orchestra (or whatever orchestra will be accompanying you)would be technically/musically up to playing.

No offense to the orchestra, but they may not be able to handle something that advanced. Even some of the local community/professional orchestras have hard times trying to play some of the great violin solo masterpieces.

Although you want something that will show off your talents, you may need to find a piece that's a little easier than Tchaikovsky or Beethoven, or some of those others. Before choosing a piece, look at the orchestral part and make sure that it's not too difficult for your orchestra. Otherwise, the orchestra will be rehearsing the same piece for the next 4 years in preparation for your performance!

November 1, 2004 at 02:07 PM · My advise is to not do Shostakovich concertos. It is too hard for a high school orchestra. Also, I think it is very good you are starting to think about it now. I do not agree on starting 9 months prior to the competition. It is much better to learn the piece now, put it down and work on it again. Maybe you an also work on it during summer courses with different teachers and have a chance to play at local venues with piano.

Vieuxtemps concertos are very good to learn and not difficult for the orchestra. Have you thought of doing Saint-Saens 3, Bruch Scottish Fantasy or Katchaturian Concerto. Especially the last one can bring down the house without being ridiculously hard. Lalo can be fun, but I have to warn you. It is one of the most difficult pieces to be played well, when you play the concerto in its entirety. Last time at the Queen Elisabeth Competition, a violinist I find to be very good, went horribly wrong in this piece and it cost him a place among the laureates. So watch out with choosing the "popular" high school concertos!

Have fun!

November 2, 2004 at 12:27 AM · I wouldn't recommend Bruch Scottish Fantasy, putting it together with orchestra can become a hassle, specially in the last movement. Usually the soloist ends up going faster and faster, and the orchestra ends up falling behind. And the harpist has to be very good as well. I can't remember which recording it was, but I have an old record with Heifetz playing the Bruch SF, and I kept thinking in the last movement, that the record was skipping at one part, but I later found out that it was the conductor beating his foot on the podium to keep the orchestra and Heifetz together. Has anyone else noticed this?

November 7, 2004 at 08:03 AM · Hi

You seem like you are most likely a lot better than me and you're a year younger, but one really awesome concerto that no one has mentioned on this page is the Barber violin concerto. It is really really cool, and if you play the whole thing in the comp. then you would get to show off the nice sweet side of yourself in the first movt. and the super-cool crazy good side in the third movt. Good luck!

November 7, 2004 at 08:35 AM · After a serious loss of face in a NY concert years ago, Perlman declared he would never perform a major piece in public without chewing it over for one year first.Good advise, as "fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

Have you considered a showpiece like Wieniawski,Vieuxtemps #5,or even de Beriot?

November 7, 2004 at 06:42 PM · Paganini no.1 or no.2 are good choices

November 7, 2004 at 11:28 PM · Owen,

I used the Beethoven when I did my undergrad auditions. I got in on scholarship at every school I auditioned.

If you have a teacher that can really get you thinking musically the Beethoven can work as an audition piece. It's not as technically difficult as some, but NO ONE uses it because it's so hard to make it sound right. If you do a good job with it, it is quite impressive and the jury might be inclined toward your favour.

All said, it can also be dangerous. the jury may look at the sheet before you've even played a note and think "either he's a fool, or he's got something to offer" and it will be a very easiy decision for them once they hear what you do or do not have to offer.


November 8, 2004 at 01:12 AM · This may be obvious but play something you are comfortable and confident playing. You will impress more people that way than playing something that requires super virtuoso skills but does not sound all that good. You do not get points for butchering something.

November 8, 2004 at 02:01 AM · From clinton rebello

Posted via on November 7, 2004 at 11:42 AM (MST)

Paganini no.1 or no.2 are good choices

Clint, any 9th grader who can play the Paganini Concertos needn't worry about competition. He has none.

November 8, 2004 at 02:11 AM · Good suggestion. The Paganini and Vieuxtemps concertos, are always good to have under your fingers, for left hand facility purposes. And the orchestral accompaiment is not difficult to pull off at all. But I suggest if you have four years, you go on and learn four concertos. Not only to build repertoire, but to gain fluency, and technique. Four years is really overdoing it to learn one concerto, that's just wasting time.

November 8, 2004 at 03:07 AM · In my personal opinion, some of the best, although not the most popular concertos are: Shostakovich 1+2, Barber, Britten, Elgar, Saint-saens, Wieniawski 1, Dvorak, Glazunov,Khachaturian, and Stravinsky. If we're talking about an average highschool competition, we can eliminate pretty much all of these; if you want something that will go over well with the audience and that you can play consistently at performance level, I would suggest the Barber or Glazunov. These are pretty easy on the ears and have some good melodic content that the audience can follow easily, like the last section of the Glazunov. Also, don't start learning your concerto until about a year beforehand. Spending four years on one piece may make you great at that piece, but it's not going to help you in the long run. And do not try to teach yourself, no matter how good you think you sound.

November 8, 2004 at 12:47 PM · Oooohhh!!! Clayton, I never thought of it! The Barber Concerto would be fantastic. I did that one my junior year of high school, it's since become one of my all-time favorite concertos! I'd definitely work on this one even if you don't do it for that performance. It would be a good one to work on just for the heck of it.

November 8, 2004 at 10:47 PM · I think that the Lalo or Sibelius would be great choices. it is also fun to listen to from the audience's stand point unlike the shostkovich. Have you given any consideration to the last movement of saint-saens concerto or rondo and capriccio?

November 8, 2004 at 11:00 PM · OMFG! dude, how can u teach urself the tchaikovski in ur freshman year! thats awesome.

i'm a freshman in high school too and the hardest thing i've played was the umm.. mendelssohn... *jealousy*

January 5, 2005 at 03:30 AM · u shud try the prokofiev # 1. sibelius tchai and beethoven are too hard for a high schoo orchestra. it is even difficult for all state ensembles to play. the problem w/ the prok is the audience wont understand it but maybe luckily they might be amazed by the beautiful violin intro thing. if u can play sibelius tchaikovsy dvorak and shost. u shud try a major competition w/ one of those state orchestras depending on where u live. but thats only if its serious work. like for example i play piano also and i can mess around w/ a lot of concertos and sorta play them such as the ravel lh, beet 4 pro 1 brahms 2 saint saens 5 and some other ones. also if u can play sibelius u shud audition for like the pre col div of juiliard or curtis if ure not alreayd in it if u live near it of course.

January 5, 2005 at 03:34 AM · My highschool did mvt 3 of the Sibelius Violin Concerto last year with one of our soloists... it was most excellent :). A tricky accompaniment... but definitely possible. Go for it if you want... I love the piece.

I agree that the audience won't understand the Prokofiev... same goes for Shosty (I'd recommend either movement 2 or 4... definitely the most impressive. DSCH shows up in mvt 2 hehe. See if your audience gets that one... the cadenza in mvt 3 is impressive but very difficult, as is the cadenza for movement 4)... but they'll definitely be impressed if you play either of them well... heh. Tchaik would be good... but yes the accompaniment might be pushing it for a HS orch, as would the Shosty, but if you have a good orchestra, they might be possible. Hmm... Dvorak would be good... I'm a big fan of mvt 3 :)

Good luck!

January 5, 2005 at 05:29 AM · Cheng, my orchestra can play the Ernst if they wanted to--do not rule out the high school potential.

As for a concerto, try the Vieuxtemps No. 4, Elgar, and if you're good enough, maybe the Wieniawski 1. However, your selection should be made not by your ability, but your orchestra's ability.

btw: at my school, I'm playing the Wieniawski or the Vieuxtemps.

January 5, 2005 at 05:38 AM · Hello,

I was just wondering what schools you guys go? Considering your age (14-18 years old) you play very complicate pieces of music that are usually taught at Juliard school or similar music schools. If you can learn these concertos in high school, what are you going to learn at colleges (Curtis, Juliard, Manhattan School of Music, etc)


January 5, 2005 at 06:34 AM · matt,

i would say elgar is much more difficult than wieniawski 1

January 5, 2005 at 07:19 AM · Patrick, you mentioned that there are about six winners. Do all of them play at the same concert? You should also consider the length of the piece. Imagine playing a piece like the Elgar, which is nearly an hour long. The audience may cheer, but how many unappreciate (or just plain tired) members will be cursing you silently for choosing such a long piece? In addition to the difficulty of the orchestra part and virtuosity of your own part, you should also try to limit the piece. Maybe half an hour at the most? That's an arbitrary figure, by the way. As long as someone doesn't perform the Vieuxtemps the year before you do (or even the year you do), that's a good choice because the orchestra part is fairly easy, there's enough to show off your technique, and the audience will probably stay awake through the whole piece.

January 5, 2005 at 07:55 AM · Try Offertorium by Gubaidulina. Very few people have recorded it and Gidon KremerĀ“s performance was hardly the ultimate one.

January 5, 2005 at 10:35 PM ·

January 5, 2005 at 10:34 PM · Elgar is hard!!! I'm going to learn it, it's my new favorite concerto, I still have a really warm spot for Wieniawski 1 though!!!

January 5, 2005 at 11:12 PM · Gubaidulina is great. Among great contemporary works I would name also Stanley Wolfe, Concerto for Violin, and William Schuman, Concerto for V-n and Orchestra.

January 6, 2005 at 12:18 AM · The Barber Concerto would be great, methinks.

January 6, 2005 at 03:42 AM · Vernon! Elgar is my new favorite concerto! Not fair.... When your favorite was Wieniawski No. 1 so was mine..pft. Owen, I agree--the Elgar is hard.

January 6, 2005 at 04:15 AM · haha, I was listening to it the other day, and I was like...I HAVE TO PLAY THAT!!! I'm a big fan of minor keys...

Matt,we're just two of a kind! VIOLIN BUDDIES FOREVER!!! haha

January 7, 2005 at 02:01 AM · I dont understand, in the city i live in, there are nearly NO good violinits. Im the best at my school and the most difficult piece ive played was Havainnse and i cant even spell it. A guy that goes to the other high school can play the Tchaikovsky but that's it! And no I don't live in a rural area, i live in orange county.

Oh just perform the Tchaikovsky, that would impress many people, especially if you have it down since you almost know all of it anyways.

We don't have a concerto competition, in fact orchestra has only been at my school for 5 years, and the school is 65 years old.

January 7, 2005 at 03:37 AM · Greeetings,

anyone recvognize this language? Or ius it one of my top spelling students?



January 7, 2005 at 04:46 AM · LOL

January 7, 2005 at 08:58 PM · thats a variant of the dope leet internet lingo employed mainly by geeky 12 year olds.

January 7, 2005 at 10:29 PM · Greetings,

well how was I supposed to know that? I couldn't read it.



January 9, 2005 at 01:29 AM · haha oh yea i forgot to shift gears into formal lang.

January 9, 2005 at 02:28 AM · Boy I hope nobody ever gives me "dope leet internet lingo - French or German" to translate into "dope leet internet lingo -English". I'd be lost! Strangely comprehensible though if you understand the topic.

January 9, 2005 at 02:46 AM · Learn Vieuxtemps 5, and then we can exchange fingerings :-)

the ones in the edition I have are an absolute JOKE!

January 9, 2005 at 08:50 AM · Greetings,

John, you may have dope leet internet fingerings in your edition. This is a rare occurence cause by a printing machine starting the male menopause. Rub your copy with prunes immediately,



PS Start with the first finger.

January 9, 2005 at 06:10 PM · Is that what its called dope internet language? wow i didn't know it had a name. Oh and vieuxtemps is pretty good too the orchestra part is not that difficult. (who likes that spelling now) :)

January 9, 2005 at 11:39 PM · Ah, Buri, you have solved that passage for me! I wondered why I was having so much trouble starting with a 4.

January 9, 2005 at 11:46 PM · Greetings,

John, always glad to help. 4 is not sobad if the scroll of the violin is tucked under the chin. I belive it is played this way in Sweden.



January 10, 2005 at 12:24 AM · Ah, yes, or if you turn the violin upside-down it is much easier to play with a 4. I think this is what the editor intended. Also, the markings of II, III, IV suggest how many vodka shots one should consume at this point in the score.

January 10, 2005 at 03:14 AM · Greetings,

John, not a lot of people know this, but Vieuxtemps is a nom de prune. His original name was Vodkatemps, which means...



January 11, 2005 at 12:20 AM · Lol what is it with you and prunes?

January 11, 2005 at 04:02 AM · Greetings,

John, asyou age you will gradually appreciate the value of prunes more and more.



January 11, 2005 at 12:24 PM · The thread proves that it crosses nobody's mind to play an 18th century concerto for an audition or competition. Probably Mozart would not allow a student to show the skills the professors and judges look for?

January 11, 2005 at 11:55 PM · Greetings,

mmmm.... I think many people don`t do Mozart concertos because every single weakness is exposed. If you played a Mozart cocnerto with flawless musicianship an dtehcnique you could get into any music college in the world.

When I auditioned for the RCM we were only required to play two piuece sand one of them was two movements of the Handel d major sonata. And yep, that piece will also show up musical and technical weaknesses that the Brahms cocnerto doesn`t.

The Mozart cocnertos were the examination pieces for the second year of the performance course at the RCM.



January 12, 2005 at 12:09 AM · Good point. I dont have much of a response though! Have a star on me. Im off to bed :-)

January 17, 2005 at 06:32 PM · Mozart's a lot of fun if you know what you're doing. And how did Mozart figure out how to make even a great violinist mess up in one of his VCs? After two months, I've got the 1st and 2nd mvmts of Mozart's 4th VC down... almost, now to work on the last movement for another 2 months.

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