David Nadien

November 17, 2004 at 05:37 AM · Has anyone here heard this great violinist David Nadien in concert? I was wondering if he still teaches and performs? I recently heard his CD and instantly enjoyed it. The playing is unbelievable. I read in the record booklet that he studied with Galamian, yet I never hear him recognized as being one of his "top" pupils however IMO he plays with a technical command and a certain lyrical charm that even Michael Rabin didn't have.

Replies (93)

November 17, 2004 at 05:52 AM · Greetings,

I just commneted on him on another thread. He was/is one of the great players. Lead the NY PHil I think then went into more session type stuff. He works a lot in Japan so my colleagues in the Tokyo orchestras know him. Everyone is in awe of his sound and technique,



November 17, 2004 at 05:56 AM · He's still alive (and well, I hope), teaching at Mannes.

November 18, 2004 at 06:10 AM · Glad to hear he's still around and active. I would love to hear him in concert sometime. Buri does he live in Japan for part of the time? There's a cd on amazon of Nadien which I just ordered which includes the Bruch concerto no.1 and the Ziguenerweisen. Can't wait till it comes!

November 18, 2004 at 06:32 AM · Greetings,

I don`t know how much time he spends here. Flying backwards and forwards all the time would be pretty unpleasant I think.



November 19, 2004 at 09:07 AM · I have 5 of his CDs. They are the Suzuki CDs:p

November 19, 2004 at 11:31 AM · I have a recital cd called *Romantic Virtuoso* or something similar.

He plays very romantic with a lovely tone and a strong technique.

If you find any of his cd's (even the Suzuki wich are not his best effort) - buy them! I believe that they will considered collectors items perhaps in the same way as Piastro is.

November 20, 2004 at 06:19 AM · Someone once told me that Heifetz used to attend Nadien's concerts once upon a time. Nadien's career never took off (for whatever reason). He was concertmaster of the NY Philharmoic for four years, I think. I was told he hated it. For many years, he was perhaps the highest paid freelancer in NY, making a very good living on commercial work. He shows up on a cd I have of Christmas songs arranged for string quartet! His playing is almost as clean as Milstien's and his vibrato is a marvle. In addition to what is out there now, there was a recording of the Debussey and Frank Sonatas in the 60s that was quite good. My understanding is that some critics found his playing uninspiring. I find some of the virtuoso pieces, like Scherzo Tarantelle, on the effeminate side. But for a piece like Salut d'amour you can't beat him.

November 20, 2004 at 06:15 AM · Nadien come to think of it was the first violinist I really listened to. I started in the Suzuki system and listened to those tapes quite a bit. I wish he did more concerts or recitals. I along with many others I'm sure would love to hear more of him. So Mr. Nadien if you are reading this please play some concerts around NY or CT! I know my friend Dale who studied with Erick Friedman is friends with him and worked together on a few recording projects. This studio music sounds very lucrative if someone could quit a job like concertmaster of NY phil. I also heard Aaron Rosand played in some of this stuff too.

November 20, 2004 at 03:10 PM · David Nadien is a terrific violinist from the few recordings that I have heard. At the latest news I was told that he still lives and teaches in New York.

February 1, 2005 at 05:26 PM · I was just in a discussion with my teacher, Mr. Vamos about this guy yesterday. He grew up in the NYC area and studied with a lady by the name of Suzanne Gusso. She was once an assistant of Otkar Sevcik, the writer of the notorious etude books. Nadien was doing commercial work in the NYC area, and when the concertmaster of the NY Phil opened up, he got it over a lot of people, including Silverstein, rumor has it. After a few years, Nadien left because he found the commercial work more lucrative. Obviously, one beast of a violinist.

March 20, 2005 at 04:02 PM · David Nadien was my teacher while I was a student at Mannes. Never in my life did I ever or will I ever hear such a violinist again. I always came to my lessons a few minutes early and stood outside his door so I could hear him practicing. He is in his late 70's now, still teaching, and still a perfectionist. I learned from him the art of choosing fingerings to suit the music and enable phrasing, and although I will never be as good a violinist as he hoped, I get the most compliments on the vibrato he taught me.

March 20, 2005 at 06:00 PM · Marina that's very interesting. He has a very beautiful vibrato. What are some of his ideas on vibrato?

March 21, 2005 at 02:41 AM · I didnt realize he'd taken with Galamian until recently, the only reason i'd heard of him before is cause he did the suzuki tapes i had when i was a little kid. haha

March 21, 2005 at 03:11 AM · oh Huei you go to Northwestern?

March 22, 2005 at 12:02 AM · Nate, What I learned most about vibrato is by trying desperately to imitate Nadien's. I remember him always insisting that vibrato should be present even on fast runs. I don't ever remember him using that whole arm vibrato stuff. We worked endlessly on finger vibrato. Funny story: I once turned pages for a chamber music concert in which Josef Silverstein played (he is one of my favorites). Someone introduced me to him as Nadien's student. Silverstein then says to me "Now I'm nervous... because you know what great violin playing sounds like. Your teacher ia one of my heroes."

September 16, 2005 at 04:02 PM · hi anyone knows how to get hold of mr. nadien? i heard that he's not teaching at mannes anymore. ( even though his name is still listed on their website)

September 16, 2005 at 04:17 PM · I worked in the studios with him in NY.

He is one of the best fiddle players around.

Absolutely superb!

If you are interested in studying with him, and if he is accepting students (which I do not know if he is),

try this tel#

(212) 874-4036

September 16, 2005 at 07:04 PM · thanks a million!!

September 16, 2005 at 11:09 PM · My teacher remembers him as the concertmaster of the first concert she ever went to.

She said he inspired her to play the violin like it was the last song she'd ever play.

She said that she had never played the same after that.

September 19, 2005 at 04:24 PM · I support all of the "critique" on D.Nadien!

He came to perform Chausson Poeme with us

(Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)for a gala, and yes.. it was marvelous experience to hear him play! It was effortless,and in my opinion, that's what fiddle playing is all about!

September 19, 2005 at 09:46 PM · He played in the orchestra for the original broadway cast recording of disney's beauty and the beast, which is pretty cool.

September 20, 2005 at 03:55 AM · I'm another big fan of David Nadien. Nate mentioned Galamian as his teacher. This is true, but he also studied, I believe, with Adolfo Betti, and Demetrios Dounis.

September 24, 2005 at 09:51 PM · I have two of his CDs (both called Romantic and Virtuoso Music from the Golden Age of the Violin). They are beyond phenomenal. In spite of all of the great, great violinists in the past 100 years who have made recordings, and who many of us have heard in person, Jascha Heifetz is still in a class by himself. After hearing David Nadien, one must conclude that Heifetz is not alone. If you haven't heard these CDs, you are missing something truly beyond compare. The recordings are by Cembal d'amour Historic Series, and are numbers CD 111 and CD 117. I've been around long enough to have had a chance to hear him in person when he was more active (if I had know about him), and it will be to my eternal regret that I never did.

September 24, 2005 at 10:15 PM · I have both that CD too. The tone and sound is unbelivabily beautiful. The Salut d'amour is FANSTASTIC, the best I ever heard. The way he plays the violin made the fingerboard sounds so small coz everything is so tight. Every note is vibrated (even in between). His slides has 1000 variations. Wad I like most are the little phrases he does and the time he takes in between phrases, the rubatos..superb!!! Was he concertmaster of NYP?

September 25, 2005 at 11:55 AM · According to the record notes (which I don't have in front of me), he was Concertmaster of the NYP and a couple of other orchestras, but he did solo internationally.

September 25, 2005 at 12:30 PM · Does anyone know besides those 2 CDs, are there anything else recorded by him? I know he goes around doing gigs and stuffs like that instead of sticking to playing solo concerts with major orchestras regularly so I guess maybe there might be stuffs he recorded with small record companies?

May 10, 2006 at 06:21 AM · I studied with David Nadien for about three years, ending a couple of years ago. I agree totally that he was (and still is) in the Heifetz class as a player. Although he did study with Galamian, he is the quintessential Dounis product. He can explain anything about violin playing clearly, demonstrate it, and show you how to do it in very short order. In my first lesson, for example, he didn't try to impress by technical dazzle. Instead, he showed me how to play all four A's at the same time with no hint of strain, a feat I had thought impossible for anyone. If you come to him with a good sense of the basics like decent rhythm and knowedge of leading with the bow (He once asked me: Which hand do you shift with? Fortunately, I gave the correct answer-the right.), he is beyond compare as a teacher of technique. "If you play G sharp instead of A flat, you haven't played out of tune, you have MISSED THE NOTE!!!" is a criticism I heard not infrequently. He is an extremely demanding teacher, and he is quite unpleasant if you fail to measure up. Since the criticism is relentless, it can have a very negative effect on one's self confidence. That said, he had an enormously positive effect on my playing, and I'm still learning from the things he taught me. My only regret is that I didn't study with him several years earlier.

May 10, 2006 at 10:55 PM · Does anyone have his Kapp Record CD of Minuet in G (Beethoven), Melody in F (Rubinstein), Brahms - Waltz in A, Schumann - Traumerei, etc? Wonderful playing - beautiful tone, vibrato & sound.

April 29, 2007 at 01:33 PM · Charles, I remember my first lesson with Nadien too. He demonstrated how to reach all four A's at the same time as if it was nothing. It has been a while since I studied with him but I feel as if I'm still learning from those lessons. You are right, he was incredibly demanding and very unforgiving. But what sound he has and what stamina! He's not one of those teachers that sits back in a chair and listens to you, he stands next to you with his fiddle and is involved the whole time.

April 29, 2007 at 03:26 PM · That's really interesting stuff. I've always had a lot of respect for him, does he still concertize?

April 29, 2007 at 08:27 PM · Though I have the Suzuki Cd's, of course, I have another CD with David Nadien. Its a great little Christmas CD called "What if Mozart wrote 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'" It features the "Hampton String Quartet", the first violinist of which is none other than David Nadien. Its a very cute cd in which popular Christmas tunes have been arranged into the styles of classical composers. For Nadien fans, its not a "serious" music cd, but highly entertaining and of course he sounds great. It was done by RCA Victor and the cd number on it is 60120-2-RG.

April 30, 2007 at 12:15 AM · Greetings,

Nate, not sure right now but a couple of years ago I was talking to Reiko Suzuki ansd she mentioned that Mr Nadien had been er 'imported' to Japan to lead (?) the Tokyo Phil or somethign like that . She was abolsutely awed by the way he played and his sound. She said that they had herad anything like it.



April 30, 2007 at 03:43 AM · I'd love to hear more stories about him as a teacher or as a colleague. I've known some former students of his and have gotten some mixed reviews (-not unusual with any teacher, of course-). One of them said that he taught the violin, not the student. Does that sound fair, or accurate? I imagine that technically, he had his own approach, and expected it to be closely adhered to. What about musically? Did he allow some leeway for a student's interpretation?

BTW - what's with the 4 A's? How important is that or is it a borderline parlor trick? I wouldn't hurt myself trying; I know a lot of violinists have trouble doing the 4 G's (e.g. in the Kreisler cadenza to the Devil's Trill) - and there, you get the open G for free. I'll stick with my mainstream ability to do 10ths with no particular trouble. But I'm intrigued!

April 30, 2007 at 12:53 PM · I can do 4 A's easily, on a 1/32 size violin. Hahaha.

April 30, 2007 at 01:18 PM · if this is the same person who did the suzuki tapes, then i say, hmm, the simpler pieces are not that easy to play well.

April 30, 2007 at 01:25 PM · It's a parlor trick, Raphael, but a fairly simple one. The idea is to feel what is involved in stretching (backwards, always BACKWARDS) and to ensure that one can, when called upon, stretch an octave between any two fingers. I call that sort of stretching "caterpillar" shifting, as it sort of looks like a large caterpillar making its way up the fingerboard. And it is an insanely useful fingering option for times when you want to hide shifts. For instance, in the second movement of Mozart's third concerto, a possible caterpillar fingering for the opening, one which avoids all shifts, is 2-1-2-3-4 3-2-2.

As for the four Gs in the Tartini, that really is no problem. Two suggestions which might help: a) try 1-2-4 as opposed to 1-3-4 and b) let go of the first finger as you go up to the first high G, then stretch downwards, from the high G to the still-held penultimate G DOWN to the index finger. Basically, the second suggestion is how to turn Kreisler's upwards (and therefore difficult) stretch into a downwards (and therefore simple) one.

April 30, 2007 at 04:31 PM · Thanks, Emil. I assumed that it must be backwards. I even practice broken 10ths that way. I can do the G's. But as it happens, I've composed my own cadenza to the Tartini!

April 30, 2007 at 05:39 PM · "I'd love to hear more stories about him as a teacher or as a colleague. I've known some former students of his and have gotten some mixed reviews (-not unusual with any teacher, of course-). One of them said that he taught the violin, not the student. Does that sound fair, or accurate? I imagine that technically, he had his own approach, and expected it to be closely adhered to. What about musically? Did he allow some leeway for a student's interpretation?"

Anyone can learn from this guy. Ijust don't understand how someone could say anything negative about him. I think he is one of the greatest living violinists seriously and probably the best concertmaster the NY Phil has ever had.

May 1, 2007 at 05:05 AM · Actually, a number of people I've spoken to, plus a couple of posters here, have said that his unrelenting criticism was hard to take after a while. Others seemed just fine with him. Nobody can be all things to all people.

As to CM of the NYP, I've heard that a large number of people in the NYP have liked Dicterow even more, citing the latter's deeper knowledge of the orchestral repertoire, and more helpfulness to the violin section. Don't get me wrong, anyone; these are different issues. I also think he's one of the greatest players - a Goliath of the violin, named David! That's why I'm intrigued to learn more about him from those who have worked with him.

May 1, 2007 at 06:06 PM · Hi Raphael, yes I agree one person's greatest teacher can be someone else's worst I guess. I just kind of find it hard to believe that certain people couldn't get anything out of him as a student. I guess I hold that opinion which is albeit a bit biased cause I am a huge fan of his playing.

Anyway I was just surfing around on youtube and found this footage (http://youtube.com/watch?v=Zr1CF2Fs9Hk) of Nadien as Concertmaster of the NY Phil playing the solos to Swan Lake. It starts off with a short but very interesting talk given by Bernstein. Nadien's solos are about 4:00 in on the video.

May 2, 2007 at 01:15 AM · He's sort of all I know--I have the Suzuki 1 tape by someone else (they say the mind is the first thing to go), but everything else is by him.

With that said, I find interpretations of many things clearer, crisper, more brilliant than in the past, and his interpretations in Suzuki 2+ are those things as well.

I find his playing very clean--very very clean. I heard an old recording of Boccherini on youtube and it was a totally different creature than the way it is played today. It sounded slower, more drawn out with a sort of swing to it compared to his interpretation, as well as popular interpretations in like movie tracks and so forth.

Along those lines, I found his Minuet in G a little more resonant than I would have imagined myself putting it together had I the ability. I've always played it very succinct and staccato like on piano. I love his interpretation, but it's just not what I'm use to.

I really like his clean style, and he Suzuki wise has helped me keep the horse in the coral I think.

September 18, 2007 at 10:45 AM · I think that it's quite possible that some haven't understood Nadien's demonstration that he can teach the four "A"s for what it is. (If it were only a matter of stretching the lower finger back, then everyone could do it easily- after all, we do play tenths.) Holding all four "A"s down at the same time shows the student immediately that Nadien can teach the seemingly impossible and make it seem easy, which holds out the promise that huge strides may be possible under him if you follow his instructions. "If I can do it, so can you." He said this quite frequently, especially after I said that of, course, he could play it- "You're David Nadien." Secondly, he enables the student to play the four "A"s by showing what one needs to do in order to make it. This involves an awareness of the way the base knuckles work, as well as the angle of the hand to the fingerboard. Both the knuckles and the angle of the hand are a major part of the core of his approach to the left hand. It turns out that his demonstration both shows that you can do incredible things and at the same time gives you the first lesson in his approach. This is not to say that he only teaches technique. He also talks about phrasing and the bow, thus giving you the musical equipment to increase your expressive level vastly.

September 18, 2007 at 12:34 PM · The firm who put out the Nadien recordings of Suzuki Violin School lost a copyright infringement case and had to stop selling/making them. A shame, really. They sound sweeter, easier to listen to than some others. The early Dr.Suzuki ones are tonally rather brittle to me. Maybe in the quality of recording? Since well-taught Suzuki kids often have deep and full tone. Sue

September 18, 2007 at 01:00 PM · Sue, are you saying I need to get my Suzuki 5-10 Cd's while I can?

The (see my earlier remarks) singing tonality he brings in to 'every single note' is something I want in my technique before I start my grab'm with martele rock'n.

Besides I don't want to let Ron Mutchnik's work on my left hand go unrewarded--intonation, clarity, control.

October 25, 2007 at 03:56 PM · I played in the Wolf Trap Academy National Orchestra for two summers while attending college. At one of our concerts, David Nadien was the soloist. He played the Brahms Violin Concerto. He was incredible!! A fantastic techinque and wonderful to work with. I also noticed his solo in Swan Lake on youtube. The thing that impressed me most about his playing was his very beautiful, very warm vibrato.

October 25, 2007 at 05:07 PM · What's the link to the YouTube video?

October 25, 2007 at 05:03 PM · Yes he's an incredible musician. A few months ago I tuned into WQXR the NYC classical music station while in the car - Dance Macabre of Saint-Saens just started, I began listening intently to the violin solos, the sound was so vibrant and energetic. I was absolutely blown away by the playing. The performance turned out to be the New York Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein conducting, and yes David Nadien playing the violin solos.

I'll ask this quesiton again, does anyone know if he's still concertizing?

As mentioned above he was one of the top studio violinists in NYC (after leaving the NY Phil).

October 25, 2007 at 05:11 PM · Kevin, I do not believe the video is up on youtube anymore unfortunately. That is the best I've heard the Swan Lake solos played.

October 26, 2007 at 12:42 PM · I heard a recording (not sure if it was from a live performance) on the radio the other day - Greensleeves (the arrangement by Vaughn-Williams), with the opening solo played by a violin. The violinist in this brief opening played in the most astonishingly beautiful way I think I've ever heard. At the end of the piece, the announcer said it was the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and the violin soloist was (guess who?) David Nadien.

October 28, 2007 at 10:55 PM · I used to think the violin on the Suzuki tapes was fake because it was so perfect...

I was eight!

December 7, 2007 at 03:53 PM · When I was studying with him I went to the NY Philharmonic archives. They helped me find many recordings he did as soloist with the orchestra, including Tzigane among other stuff. That's a good place to start. But whatever you do, don't ask him personally about recordings he made... he'll deny he ever made any recordings haha. He was always so private about his career.

Which makes many rumours circulate. One rumour is that Isaac Stern and he did not get along. Stern has been known to make or break one's career. Although clearly one of the greatest violinists alive today he's not a household name like Perlman, etc. because of this difficult relationship between him and Stern. Anyone ever heard this theory?

December 7, 2007 at 06:47 PM · Marina, it would not surprise me at all.

February 2, 2008 at 04:53 PM · Good news for all Nadien fans there's a new CD out of him playing the 4 Seasons, and there's also a new DVD coming out with him playing which you can pre-order on Amazon.com.

February 2, 2008 at 07:39 PM · Thanks Nate, I'm on it!

February 2, 2008 at 07:43 PM · Can you send a link cause I have a terrible time looking for those things online. Thanks

February 2, 2008 at 07:55 PM · Hi Marina, here are the links:

Nadien new CD with 4 Seasons:


Nadien DVD (soon to be released end of Feb.):


February 2, 2008 at 08:54 PM · David Nadien is a towering talent. As concertmaster, I know of few who could be considered his peers. He stands practically alone in his uncompromising attention to detail, the natural sense of line and pacing, flawless technique and inventiveness that is akin to Milstein. I was lucky enough to work along side with David in several studio sessions and, while he never brought the Strad to them, he sounded like David Nadien on a Chinese violin. I am not sure if he teaches privately anymore, but just hearing the man play is the ultimate lesson if you just really listen. He is very private, so it would be great if we could encourage a biography on his illustrious career, but I don't know if that is a realistic sentiment.

BTW, his Tchaikovsky concerto, on the Cembal d'Amour label is one of the great recordings in history and it is a live broadcast!

February 3, 2008 at 05:57 AM · Thank you Gary for all of those comments, I'll be sure to check out his Tchaikovsky.

February 3, 2008 at 08:41 PM · Yey I'm so excited to get more recordings by Nadien. I used to have his Franck and Debussy sonatas which were amazing but they're on cassette tape and they're horrible. I have to find that too.

I also went to the NYPhil archives and found him playing Tzigane and some other stuff but believe it or not they didn't have much.

Private... you're telling me??? When I first discovered the cassette recording I ran to my lesson excitedly and told him his recording was great. He looked at me like I was crazy and said "I never made any recordings, I don't know what you're talking about." He was almost obsessive about his privacy. I don't care though, I've never heard the violin played like that before and it was all worth it to study with him.

February 4, 2008 at 04:33 PM · Marina:

That Debussy/Frank was originally on LP, issued by the Monitor company. I had it (actually, still have it) and loved it. The Frank was great. The short pieces by Faure and Ravel cannot be played better. I think only Milstein rivals him for purity of tone.

I keep looking around to see if that recording will be reissued, but not yet.

The cembal d'amour company (http://www.cembaldamour.com/index.html) has been issuing some of his performances. The Tchaikovski is a new release. They have also been issuing recordings of the violinist Berle Senofski.


February 4, 2008 at 07:30 PM · Thanks KG

February 4, 2008 at 11:15 PM · I just ordered the Tchaikovsky Marina from Cembaldamour recordings. I'm looking forward to receiving it!

February 5, 2008 at 02:03 PM · I wish there was one place I could go to see all his recordings instead of trying to find one here, one there.

February 8, 2008 at 08:45 AM · I just received the Tchaikovsky Concerto played by David Nadien with the NY Phil (live) today in the mail. The Tchaikovsky in particular is stunning. It has to be one of the best live performances of the Tchaikovsky ever. The CD also has some other stuff and a DVD (that comes with the CD) with an interview of Nadien. If you are not familiar with his playing, I strongly recommend getting his recordings!

February 8, 2008 at 01:28 PM · You must be a bigger fan of Nadien than I am to keep this thread going for so long Nate. I'm jealous now. Did I ever tell you that he sounds amazing in person? He told me he doesn't perform anymore cause he thinks he's too old but age has never affected his playing. He sounds as good as he does on recordings... not like today's super edited for stray notes or scratches. You'll never hear violin playing like that again.

Why don't you take a lesson with him?

February 8, 2008 at 02:02 PM · How is that DVD interview? Does he only talk, or does he demonstrate a little?

February 8, 2008 at 06:51 PM · Hi Raphael and Marina, yes I am a huge fan if you haven't already noticed! On the DVD he does mostly talking (lots of old stories about his career, his studies, and his time in the army) and at the end of the DVD he plays a few lines of a Kreisler work.

March 7, 2008 at 05:11 PM · Yey just received my new CD and DVD of David Nadien. In the interview he looks exactly the same as he did 9 years ago! Still modest and ellusive of course, loved the bit about Stern haha!

April 9, 2008 at 01:20 PM · Hi- I am studying with David Nadien now, after a few years' break, and I can testify that he certainly can still play! I think I appreciate much more now the depth of his musical and technical understanding. There is simply no one else in the world like him. To work with a real giant, who can also teach, is an opportunity that is given to very few. I'm surprised that more violinists in the NYC area don't flock to him For fellow Nadien fans- good news! In a few weeks another CD should be released with a Beethoven and a Brahms sonata with Earl Wild, plus the Mendelssohn concerto.

April 9, 2008 at 02:14 PM · I have his Suzuki Book 2 CD and he plays a mean Long Long Ago I'll tell you that...

April 9, 2008 at 03:17 PM · Welcome on board Charles. Make sure you go to your lesson a bit early and stand at the door. I used to do that and I would hear him play Kreisler stuff. I just got the DVD and the recordings of Tchaik, and Tzigane and the most impressive Glazunov I've ever heard... it almost made me like the piece!

April 9, 2008 at 07:56 PM · I have a cd of Nadien playing encore pieces. His technique is superb along with a big beautiful tone.

April 9, 2008 at 08:07 PM · His recent Glazunov/Tchaikovski/etc. cd shows he certainly could play as well as anyone!


April 9, 2008 at 08:55 PM · Hmmm... Sounds like I need to get some of these recordings of David Nadien too. I also have a few of his Suzuki CDs (upto Book 4), and he definitely makes them a joy to listen to -- and yeah, I started out w/ Suzuki's own Book 1 CD, which is very sorely lacking by comparison.

And great to read about the interesting tidbits about him. Thanks, all...


November 14, 2008 at 03:21 AM ·

This thread inspires one to surf the web more!  As if that were desireable.

My mother went to school with Nadien (not music school).  Her dim memory was that when he was a kid he was taken under the wing of a rich family so that he could get the best training as a violinist.  Word is that they were kind of miffed when he left the Phil to freelance.


November 14, 2008 at 09:45 PM ·

new cd to be released ...


edit: er.. guess not to be released but sold by amazon. I'm ordering directly from cembaldamour...

November 15, 2008 at 04:55 AM ·

He's an amazing artist.  I'll be getting that CD.  Thanks for the info.

November 18, 2008 at 07:09 PM ·

Got the CD.. that was quick... ordered it friday night, received on monday.

The beethoven was recorded in the 50s, the mendelssohn in the 70s... both live. generally good recording quality. I am wowed by the mendelssohn. really. it's excellent.

Edit: This guy needs a wikipedia page. Anyone care to collaborate?

November 18, 2008 at 08:17 PM ·

Can't wait to receive mine, really looking forward to it.  I would collaborate with you but the man is mysterious and fiercely private.  I raved about his Franck sonata recording in my lessons once and he solemnly told me that he never made any recordings.

November 18, 2008 at 09:15 PM ·

The thing with wikipedia is that it all has to be verifiable info, non anectdotal. so it'd be just scrounging up some references and forming some sort of biography ...

November 22, 2008 at 07:50 PM ·

Oh, Nate... I found the recording of Dance Macabre you were talking about back in '07. It's on the cd "Leonard Bernstein conducts Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Saint-Saens"

November 22, 2008 at 11:11 PM ·

Yeah it's fantastic.  Do you know Allan, if a recording exists of Ein Heldenleben by Strauss with Nadien's solos and the NY Phil?

December 22, 2008 at 03:44 PM ·

Hello, everyone. I am joining this discussion quite late, but didn't even know about this site until I did a search on re-releases of Nadien's recordings.

My father is the accompanist on the recording of the various show pieces, and I grew up studying with David Nadien on and off, and then while I was at Juilliard (College), studied with him regularly, preparing separate music for him than for Miss Delay. 

When I was much younger I asked him why he didn't perform more, or dedicate himself to being a soloist, and his response was that he didn't like to travel-didn't like the lifestyle. Since he has rarely left NYC to travel even for fun, and his entertainment needs are seemingly simple, I thought he was being truthful-still do. I had heard the Isaac Stern rumors as well-I never asked him directly, but my parents told me this rendition of the story:When David Nadien made it to the finals of Naumberg(as well as Joe Silverstein)he was told privately by one of the judges not to play the finals, because Isaac Stern did not want him to win. He played anyway, and lost to Silverstein. No disrespect to the winner, but as far as playing is concerned, there was no comparison. He won the Leventritt award, which suggests that he was interested in pursuing a solo career, but I think he was hoping to do it on his own terms, which is difficult to do. In all my life knowing him, the one thing I could say about him on a personal level is that he would not ever play a game politically if it compromised anything he wanted, musically or financially. Even a great musician such as he would have a hard time making everything work that way. There is always a game to play, and compromise is inevitable. At least in my experience.

As far as the NYPhil is concerned, he left there for a couple of reasons:one-I believe he felt very constricted there-schedule wise and most likely artistically. It was in the days of Bernstein-a big star, etc, and he may have been bored with all of it. Ultimately, though, the recording studio business in those days was thriving, and he left to become a very rich man. The crowd of players in the studios in those days was illustrious, and I think it was a whole lot of fun, besides being tremendously lucrative-especially for him.

I started working for him(in the studios-he was a contractor as well) at the tail end of those days, and let me tell you, I couldn't believe the high level of players I was so privileged to work next to. The commercial writers in those days seemed to know whom they had sitting there, and wrote many solos for him-I don't think I EVER saw or heard him run through what he had to play before we had to read the piece as a group-his confidence was amazing-and the playing was, as you all know-gorgeous. What a treat-to be in the same room with that amazing talent.

I absolutely loved studying with him-he was my idol musically, and my mentor.(Even though when I would show up for a lesson and he would start playing whatever I was working on-so beautifully without having looked at the piece in years-at 9 AM mind you-it often made me want to jump out of his CPW apartment window!)

Anyway-thats a bit of what I know about this superior talent-and I am going to start collecting all of the info I have seen from all of you about re-releases on CD. Thanks!


December 23, 2008 at 02:58 PM ·

Wow Elena, some great stories! Thanks for that, fascinating.

Listening more to the beethoven/mendelssohn cd... What do you guys think about the orchestra for the Beethoven?

January 25, 2009 at 01:34 PM ·

I just got two Nadien recordings, including the one with the bonus DVD interview - and I was reminded of this thread. I wanted to clear something up. I just noticed that a while back somenone mentioned him as the 1st violinist of the Hampton Quartet. Unless there's more than one Hampton Quartet (and I'm not being facetious) then actually the 1st violinist is and always has been Regis Iandiorio. Regis a is a friend and former teacher of mine, as well as a frequent recording colleague and great admirer of Nadien, himself.

One interesting thing I noticed in the interview was Nadien's habit of almost constantly moving and limbering his hands and fingers. I often do that, too - but not as much. I heard that another magician, Houdidni, used to do that - even at the dinner table!

January 26, 2009 at 01:49 AM ·

Thanks for the great info and thoughts in this thread!  I looked at a number of recordings mentioned.  May I ask, are there any other specific recordings you'd recommend of his?  Concertos?

Thanks in advance!  Valerie

January 26, 2009 at 11:43 PM ·

My Nadien recordings now include a vinyl LP with sonatas of Franck and Debussy, two CD's of mainly short pieces plus the Bruch. And just recently I acquired 2 more. One has the Beethoven and Mendelssohn. The other has the Glazanov and Tchaikovsky concertos, along with the Ravel Tzigane, and the Saint-Saens Havanaise. Whether we agree or disagree with every aspect of his interpretations (as with any artist) his stellar level of technique and his exquisite playing are never in doubt. However, one thing that we fans and CD owners should acknowledge, and that potential customers should be aware of, is that the quality of the live recordings as such (not his playing) - even by '50s and 60's standards - leaves a great deal to be desired.  They were probably personal recordings not intended for commercial release. It's still worth it to listen past those limitations to get at his playing, but I just thought I should put out that caveat.

Even that intriguiging bonus DVD interview is done rather amateurishly. We don't hear the interviewer clearly much of the time; the editing is not well done:; we are treated to too many close-up shots of Nadien's cigarette smoking, etc., etc Nevertheless all sorts of interesting tid-bits emerge. Why, for example, did Heifetz and Bernstein dislike one another so? Nadien knows but prefers not to say. Why did Nadien refuse Menhuin's plea to help him (Menhuin) with his bowing technique? Nadien expalins. How much technical influence did Dounis have on him? Much less than some of us would think. Towards the end Nadien pulls out a favorite violin - a Bellini - and plays just a bit. Finally he is joined by his wife for a duo interview and humorously (a quality that comes out a number of times) calls the interview to an end on account of hunger!

May 27, 2010 at 09:24 PM ·

 his best recording.  ignore the cheesy slide show ;)

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August 17, 2011 at 08:58 AM ·

 Just want to add that there will soon be a new Nadien cd coming out. Among others, it will have his CHAUSSON POEM!

May 29, 2014 at 05:12 PM · Sorry to report Mr. Nadien has passed away yesterday(5/28/14).

Truly a great player from a different time.


May 29, 2014 at 05:45 PM · I so regret that I never heard Mr. Nadien in person. But I've heard (and have) many of his recordings, and there is no question that he was one of the true greats. What a loss.


January 24, 2017 at 02:09 PM · I was thinking about Nadien the last couple of days and decided to revisit this and other related threads. I attended a memorial to him at the Lincoln Center Library and wrote about it in the 2nd half of my blog, "A violin Double Header" if anyone is interested - http://rkviolin.com blog section.

January 24, 2017 at 03:29 PM · I think he did some of the Suzuki recordings. Even simple pieces can be played tastefully.

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