Opinions concerning studies with Prof. Laredo

August 22, 2006 at 05:31 AM · Has anyone studied privately or participated in a masterclass with Jamie Laredo? If so, what are your comments. I realize he is a excedingly talented performer and teacher, yet I am very interested on personal thoughts. What particularly stood out to you as a trait that set him apart from previous teachers?

Replies (100)

August 22, 2006 at 08:49 PM · Hi,

He is an excellent violinist, nice man and excellent musician. It's hard to make comments since the teacher/student relationship is so personal and varies from case to case.


August 22, 2006 at 04:23 PM · I hear he is a very sweet man with great musical ideas.

August 22, 2006 at 05:34 PM · Kevin,

Funny that you mention "sweet". I heard the exact same thing.

August 22, 2006 at 05:48 PM · i have not studied with him but i know a few people who have and from what i've heard, prof. laredo is a great teacher and his instruction is top-notch. he is especially good at coaching chamber music.

August 22, 2006 at 07:37 PM · He's not the most in tune player, but he is a pretty well rounded musician. He conducts and plays a lot of chamber music now. Maybe he is one of those people that is better as a coach than as a player.

August 22, 2006 at 07:42 PM · he IS a really sweet guy. I've met him and even played for him once, he's really great.

August 23, 2006 at 12:05 AM · Mr. Laredo was one of my teachers, and by coincidence he conducted the last week of our season here in Chicago, doing all 6 Brandenburgs (soloist and conductor). Anyone would be lucky to study with him!

He has more concert experience than almost anyone else out there, having performed year-round since his major competition win almost 50 years ago! He's equally familiar with solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire. And as the head of the jury for the Indianapolis competition as well as a competition winner himself, he is central to today's circuit.

He would probably shrug all of this off! What I took away the most from my time with him is how important it is to conduct yourself with class *all* the time, and in every interaction. He continues to be supportive, just as he was even when I didn't play my best. In fact, I often had to press him for the kind of criticism I was used to hearing from other teachers.

I found that Mr. Laredo's interest lay the most with preparing and refining repertoire for performance. I'm not sure what his approach would be for "teaching the instrument". As one of the most natural talents, he hasn't been obliged to spend his life pondering all the minutiae (or all the etudes). His beautiful and powerful demonstrations were usually all that I needed to get the point.

Long post I know, and it's not like he needs my help, but perhaps this helps distinguish him from many other good teachers.

August 23, 2006 at 01:49 AM · Keith said, "He's not the most in tune player, ... Maybe he is one of those people that is better as a coach than as a player."

I beg to differ. Mr. Laredo is an outstanding violinist and musician. He was the youngest winner ever of the Queen Elisabeth prize (He was 17 or 18). The panel that chose him consisted of Szigeti, Oistrakh, Menuhin, Stern, and Francescatti. I don't know how one can be "not the most in tune player" before these judges and win first prize. More importantly, critics have consistantly found him to be a player with tremendous musicality and depth, and a sweetness of tone.

I cannot speak to his teaching as I have never studied with him. I do see him at the White House frequently--usually around the Kennedy Center Honors.


August 23, 2006 at 02:13 AM · Well, I didn't say he was a bad musician. He doesn't play that in tune, I heard him play the Bach Double with Hilary Hahn, and forgive me for being so blunt but he sounded like the student. Last time I checked, she hasn't won any gold medals at those "competitions". Music is not athletics.

August 23, 2006 at 02:29 AM · One need ponder only the minutiae he finds himself obliged to ponder. That's internet violin sacrilege, isn't it?

August 23, 2006 at 04:59 AM · Keith really, just shut up.

August 23, 2006 at 04:58 AM · Pretty easy to sit back and dump on others' careers, isn't it? Like I said, Jaime Laredo doesn't need my help, but I'm going to toss it out there that your opinion on this matter, Keith, is uninformed. Perhaps you can prove me wrong.

Most of us have played our share of out-of-tune notes, but for you to sit at your screen and call someone like Mr. Laredo an out-of-tune player is laughable. You might remember your last statement that music is not athletics.

And before you attempt to accuse me of over-reacting or of being sentimental, rethink what you're adding to this discussion about studying with Jaime Laredo. I have personal experience. What do you offer?

August 23, 2006 at 05:13 AM · >Keith really, just shut up.

You crack me up, Pieter.

And Nathan, well put.

August 23, 2006 at 05:57 AM · Pieter and Nathan, excellent responses.

Let's face it, Keith--Heifetz, Stern, Menuhin, Milstein--they all played out of tune from time to time in their later years. Hilary Hahn is at the absolute top of her game right now. I guarentee Hilary was NOT counting Mr. Laredo's "out-of-tune" notes.

Here's a great example: One of the great techincians, Nathan Milstein gave an unbelievable recital with piano in 1946 at the Library of Congress. This performance is available on CD and it includes Bach G minor, Vitali Chaccone, complete Mendelssohn Concerto, and Wieniawski. This is an unedited one-night performance captured LIVE. It is a truly remarkable achievement. Are there missed or out-of-tune notes? Sure! But when you HEAR the awesome sound Milstein produces and experience his musicianship, you are not drawn to such petty observations as minor intonation slips.

To define one's violinistic or musical status based on some out-of-tune notes in the Bach Double, is at best--shallow.

Furthermore, I couldn't disagree more that playing the violin is not athletic. In point of fact, playing the violin has all the components of great athletic activity! Physical skills, coordination, concentration, endurance, months of preparation in training, etc.

How many of us have felt like we just ran a marathon following a big concerto performance or completing a Bach unaccompanied Sonata or Partita? I rest my case.


August 23, 2006 at 08:19 AM · Nate, Pete, I agree with what all of you say. You certainly raise very good points, but really, these things go without saying. We acknowledge these things implicitly as people who have respect for an artist like Mr. Laredo. Keith is some sort of iconoclast fetishist. I've seen him deride Zukerman, Dicterow, Laredo, Bartok, and endured his half baked, diluted Coulteresque political theories.

It takes a great deal of maturity to respond like Nate and Mr. Wilson do. The only reason I don't personally resort to explitives is because it's not allowed. We should all try to ignore this ignoramus. I think he purposefully says assinine things to get a rise out of people with some measure of reason. I say a lot of stupid things on a daily basis, but I don't rip on artists far better than me like he does.

August 23, 2006 at 01:39 PM · I played in the orchestra for Laredo once when he played the Dvorak, and it was gorgeous. Sure there may have been one or two notes out of tune, but who gives a ****? It was a fantastic performance.

August 23, 2006 at 11:17 PM · Wow, such hostility, my gosh (two "shut ups") for remarking that Laredo plays out of tune. I thought this was a public forum for exchanging ideas. All I said was that Hilary Hahn is much more of a violinist than Mr. Laredo (her teacher), and she does play a lot more in tune than he does, right? I think everyone could agree on that. Nathan, playing more in tune than someone is not an athletic comparison; it is good musicianship. Pete pointed out the competition victories of Laredo which are undeniable, however that does not imply superiority over other players like Hahn (his student), Heifetz, Milstein etc. who have never won any major competitions and whom in my opinion are all in a different tier as a musician and violinist than Laredo. Pete I don’t see how my legitimate political views, concern this discussion. Furthermore, the majority of this country (maybe not according to a CNN or Washington Post poll), agrees with my political views. By the way, have you written a book that has been # 1 on the NY Time’s bestseller list as was Ms. Coulter’s for many weeks? Please let me know if you have!

August 24, 2006 at 12:57 AM · Hilary Hahn: more of a violinist, maybe. More of a musician, certainly not.

As for Ann Coulter, God only knows why that stuff she writes is so popular. Maybe it's like driving by a big car wreck: so terrible you just can't tear your eyes away. And quit making such a big deal about the "majority" agreeing with you! First of all how do you even know? Second of all, even if a majority of people support something, does that automatically make it right?

August 24, 2006 at 01:14 AM · Not enough time at the moment to read all the replies but I did notice a number of people here that studied with him which reminds me of all the amazing people we have here on violinist.com

anyway, I've never met Prof. Laredo, however I am a freshman at Indiana University and guess who I'm studying with ;) As far as I've heard Laredo doesn't usually take freshman but somehow he took me. What I gathered from the phone message he left me he seems like an amazingly nice person and from recordings that I've heard he's an amazing musician. One of my friends that lives in my apartment building is a current student of him and love studying with him. He says Laredo is the kind of teacher that will help you as much as you help yourself, in otherwords he won't push you more than you want to be pushed but if you want to learn something he'll help you get it done effectively.

This is all word of mouth, but I will be having my first lesson with him next week so I can tell you about him first hand. I just hope I can learn my Intro and Rondo fast enough to make a decent impression.


August 24, 2006 at 02:14 AM · My god I thought this site only had one lunatic. Now we have two, but at least the first lunatic is in a top ensemble and can speak with a lot of authority on musical topics.

Keith, I will stop getting angry and just think of you as the court jester. Shine on, you crazy cubic zirconia.

August 24, 2006 at 02:24 AM · Who's are these two lunatics, Pieter? I can understand you thinking Keith is one based on this thread alone, but who's the one that plays in a "first class ensemble?" I was thinking of Preston Hawes, who you've had the most hilarious exchanges with.

Anyway, it's clear that everybody who's been around Laredo has had great respect for him. His class, skill, and humility are obvious, and that's what makes him "Laredo".

August 24, 2006 at 02:34 AM · Emmanuel, I wish you the best and what you've heard was true in my experience. I had to bring more of my own direction and motivation than with some other teachers. I talked with a friend who wasn't sure she was getting Mr. Laredo's complete opinion on how she was playing, so after some gentle criticisms from him, she finally asked, "Is that how you would play it?" He smiled and then shook his head and played. Get him to play as much as you can!

Feel free to ask me any questions, here or otherwise.

August 24, 2006 at 02:44 AM · No, Preston is not a lunatic. He wouldn't want to get his white V-neck sweater dirty.

August 24, 2006 at 02:46 AM · I hope it's not me...maybe it is :-/

August 24, 2006 at 02:49 AM · I hope it's not me either :-C

C'mon Pieter, name NAMES.

August 24, 2006 at 03:04 AM · I thought it was pretty much implied given my history, but no, I'm not going to name names... it's not important and we'll just consider it a figure of speech.

August 24, 2006 at 03:23 AM · Again, Maura, you’re making hyperbolic statements about Hilary Hahn. First of all, she is clearly a better technician than Maestro Laredo, and a terrific musician IN MY OPINION. Intonation is black and white, musicianship, on the contrary, is subjective. If you think she is less of a musician than Laredo it is an opinion. In regard to Ann Coulter, I wouldn’t guess that you have read any of her writings judging from the superficial comments you have made. If you have, then, maybe we can have a discussion about her.

August 24, 2006 at 03:34 AM · Ann Coulter Rocks! :)

August 24, 2006 at 03:36 AM · Ann Coulter is in no way germane to this discussion, as nobody should need to be reminded.

August 24, 2006 at 04:17 AM · This is Laredo related. He is quite the Howard Dean fan (http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?city=Brattleboro&st=VT&last=laredo&first=jaime):

Laredo, Jaime

Brattleboro, VT 05303

Self employed/Musician




primary 12/15/03 Laredo, Jaime

Brattleboro, VT 05303

Self employed/Musician DEAN, HOWARD (D)



primary 03/25/03 LAREDO, JAIME




primary 04/03/98

August 24, 2006 at 04:30 AM · The last person I'd ever imagine being targeted in a hate filled diatribe is Jaime Laredo. But hey, the brightest light usually attracts the biggest insects.

Anyway, I suddenly realized who you were talking about Pieter - and I am not going to raise the issue again. I respect your silence, so I'm bowing out.

August 24, 2006 at 04:48 AM · Keith;

Intonation is "black and white?"

Not really.

August 24, 2006 at 05:30 AM · Ugh there's in tune and out Nick like strikes and balls. Hilary Hahn, plays in tune. Laredo a bright light? Wow nice metaphor Kev. My critique was "hate-filled"? That's laughable.

August 24, 2006 at 06:18 AM · Keith stated:

"Pete pointed out the competition victories of Laredo which are undeniable. . ." This was correctly attributed to me.

Keith then stated:

"Pete I don’t see how my legitimate political views, concern this discussion." This implied INCORRECTLY that I made politics and issue in this discussion. Please do NOT misrepresent me again, Keith. You will NEVER find me EVER discuss politics on the internet, primarily because of my position of the past 16 years.

As for bestsellers, this distinction is hardly critical praise for ANY book. Many books that are horribly written become bestsellers simply because the topic was notorious or the author or subject of a biography was infamous. The same can be said for films that gross huge numbers at the boxoffice--but are terrible movies. MARKETING IS EVERYTHING.

Some other observations:

Keith, you say that intonation is a black and white issue. You couldn't be more wrong here. Aside from the obvious fact that intonation tends to be a subjective matter between listeners, PHYSICS has proven that, for example, it is impossible for a violin and a piano to ever be perfectly in tune based on the laws of frequency. I found it quite ironic that you would use baseball as an analogy to support YOUR argument, for it actually supports mine: Balls and Strikes are most DEFINITELY a subjective matter. If they weren't, why would managers storm the umpires during important games? The fact is that the naked eye can only make a good guess as to whether a baseball has passed through the strikezone--a zone that is different depending on the umpire! Even if one slowed a pitch down on video, the close calls would still be argued between different baseball enthusiasts. Thanks for that one! Good call!

By the way "a public forum for exchanging ideas" does NOT mean that everyone must agree with you on the exchanged ideas. There has been no hostility presented by me--I have not told you to "shut up" nor have I called you a lunatic. While you are certainly entitled to them, I do believe your opinions are misguided and unsupported. I'll bet even Hilary Hahn herself would disagree with your assessment of Maestro Laredo.

Did I ever write a book that went to #1 on the NYTimes Bestseller List? No, of course not. But I'm not a writer. However, I did receive a very good review in The Strad, of my performance of the Barber. Does that make me a great fiddle player? No, absolutely not. It simply means that the reviewer who was in the audience that day thought favorably of my performance on that day.

As for Ann Coulter, I've read a little from her books, but I have seen a lot of her on Bill Maher. I must say, she is quite entertaining to observe--which is precisely why Bill likes having her on.

Finally, I don't think you are "hate-filled" in your responses. You do seem to have a bitterness in your statements, however. I'm not sure what has caused this. Do you think highly of your own playing but can't find anyone else to agree? Ah, if only these things were black and white.

Best wishes,


August 24, 2006 at 11:32 AM · Keith, as usual, I suspect your attempts to malign Mr Laredo have simply resulted in many of us increasing our admiration for the man.

The fact that you did try and malign him in such an overtly political manner says a lot about you and it's not positive.


August 24, 2006 at 02:03 PM · Well, Keith, we can agree to disagree to disagree regarding Hilary Hahn, I guess.

Regarding Ann Coulter, I have in fact read some of her books, they made me feel slightly ill.

And WHAT is the meaning of that big post you made about how Jaime Laredo supported Howard Dean? Are you now resorting to cheap political/personal attacks, or trying to degrade him as a person by calling him the dreaded "L" word (Liberal)? Just like a Coulter fan!

August 24, 2006 at 02:07 PM · Oh, and about "intonation is black and white"--not always. In Mozart, probably. In something like Debussy or Enesco or (dare I speak the name?) Bartok, a handful of strategically placed extra-sharp or extra-flat notes can bring so much more color to the piece.

August 24, 2006 at 04:40 PM · My intonation is every color of the rainbow, even some infrared.

August 24, 2006 at 05:45 PM · Well there's in tune and out of tune. 99% of you musicians are probably not at the level where one needs to worry about colorful intonation, that's for the crème de la crème of musicians. One thing I know is good in tune playing like Hahn, vintage Heifetz, Milstein, and Henryk Szeryng. Those people can really play in tune, as for Laredo, I've heard him play a very out of tune Mozart 3 on live TV, an out of tune Bach Double performance (where Hilary absolutely schooled him), and I have recordings of his playing Mendelssohn and Bruch. The Bruch is pretty good, but the Mendelssohn is flat out sloppy. I don't understand why all "big" musicians on here are being glorified, even when they do sub par work. I could name off more than a handful of contemporaries of Laredo, and past players that surpass him. I was not trying to smear him at all on his Howard Dean support. The information is out there, I did not put it up. There are books written about which corporations support political parties.

August 24, 2006 at 05:56 PM · Pieter,

Thanks for the chuckles. I am now ready for my afternoon's work.

August 24, 2006 at 08:36 PM · The irony is that Hilary Hahn actually studied with Mr. Laredo (among others), which is what this thread was actually about.

August 24, 2006 at 08:08 PM · Keith,

Then why even bring up the Dean thing? Talk about irrelevant!

Regarding coloristic intonation, I don't agree that only the 1%, "creme de la creme" of musicians should think about it. It is part of standard violin technique. Not for beginners certainly, but not exactly some sort of hyper-advanced virtuoso madness either.

August 24, 2006 at 10:56 PM · Nathan, Hilary stressed many times that Brodsky was her teacher and Laredo coached her. That is a politically correct way of saying she learned everything from Brodsky. She was going to study with Galimir after Brodsky's death so I've heard, however Hilary really didn't get along with Galimir.

August 25, 2006 at 12:20 AM · I don't agree with the statement, "That is a politically correct way of saying she learned everything from Brodsky." There is a fundamental difference between a coach and a primary teacher, but calling someone one rather than the other is not a means of cloaking disrespect. It's a factual statement. In fact, many of us have been briefly coached by people who might not even consent to take us as regular students.

August 25, 2006 at 02:31 AM · Ugh Brodsky was her teacher, end of story.

August 25, 2006 at 02:28 AM · I believe I read that Hilary Hahn still goes to Laredo for coaching and to exchange interpretive ideas. I understand from the grape vine he is an incredible coach but is perhaps a bit lacking when it comes to fundamental violin instruction. He would be great teacher for someone that is already somewhat accomplished.

August 25, 2006 at 05:16 AM · OK, out of town for a week... anyone who is interested can send me a message. Interested in speculation? Many places you can go. All the best!

August 25, 2006 at 07:24 AM · "One thing I know is good in tune playing like Hahn, vintage Heifetz, Milstein, and Henryk Szeryng. Those people can really play in tune."

Keith, I hope you realize that the concept of intonation for those people are all different. Heifetz and Milstein used intense, expressive intonation while players like Szeryng and Hahn use tempered intonation. There's no arguing on that matter really. It's agreed upon by all great musicians that that's the way those players played, or in the case of Hahn, play.

As for Jaime Laredo, perhaps the performances you saw were out of tune, but most of the time, he's going to play in tune. It's true that he's not known for his intonation, so COMPARITIVELY he might be a little less in tune than some others. Emphasis on "a LITTLE less."

August 25, 2006 at 05:37 PM · Is there any way you can prove that Hahn and Szeryng use tempered intonation? Do you mean to say to me that Szeryng never raised a leading tone? Just where is the "great musician's" proof on that statement on those artists using tempered but never applying expressive devices and vice versa? That to me sounds like a blanket statement. I agree with you on your last statement though, Laredo is not known for his intonation, neither is Aaron Rosand.

August 25, 2006 at 05:57 PM · Just wondering, Keith...

what specific notes does Laredo play out of tune and on what recording, what piece, etc? measure numbers would be nice....


August 25, 2006 at 07:32 PM · The coda of the Mendelssohn first movement, especially those e minor scales at the end are completely out, through out this recording there's a lot of inaccuracy, his Wieniawski caprice in a minor contains many out of tune notes..I've heard him live, and his pitch is really quite a bit less in tune in than from the recordings. Studio airbrushing helps many artists. Hilary Hahn or Szeryng on the other hand, play as in tune live as they do on record, you get the real deal with them. Same could be said about young Perlman, Heifetz, and Milstein.

August 25, 2006 at 08:05 PM · Keith, you aren't far from me in Phoenix.

I REALLY need to hear you play live. Anybody who criticizes Aaron Rosand and Laredo's intonation must have an incredible sense of pitch when performing in concert. I myself can't play any more in tune than Rosand can in live concert - not that my audiences CARE or even NOTICE for over 150 concerts a year.

Your racial animosity against me aside, I'm perfectly willing to bow my head in respect to you if you can get out on the concert stage and show us how it ought to be done. So would the rest of us at violinist.com, by the way.

August 25, 2006 at 09:44 PM · Hear hear! Let's let Maestro Hernandez give us all a lesson! :)

August 25, 2006 at 10:13 PM · Greetings,

the whole question of intonation never ceases to amaze me. Casal's may have been the most extrme user of harmonic intonation and woul;d uncompromisingly play 'out' with the piano whereas players such a sMisltein adapted considerably more. Thus when Casals perfromed in the US music students were heard to remark on his bad intonation...

Personally I love what Casals did and I hesitantly suggest that someone as intimately involved in the work of the great man in chamber usic and orchestra (as r Laredo was) probably picked up a lot of that kind of approach to intonation which would certainly make him sound a little differnet at times.

Then so much of this is personal. For example, I cannot stand players who err on the bright (?) side of pitch so much as I respect it, the vengerov recording of the Dvorak cocnerto, especially the last moveent is anathema to me. Another interesting example is the Szeryng recoridng of Beethoven sonatas. The master adjusted his intonation very slighly according to the key of the work and he does, to my ear , push the envelope too far in the a major sonata. Gruiaux often grates on y ear for the same reason . But nobody is gonna suggets these guys actually play out of tune.

I just give thanks for diversity.

mistakes are of course, another matter,



PS Mr Rosand's intonation is so damn near perfect just about all the time its scary

August 25, 2006 at 11:05 PM · it's one thing to tell some chump on the internet that he sucks, but talking trash about a violinist like Jaime Laredo or Aaron Rosand, both artists who have been given great praise (by intellectual and creative spirits far greater than this Hernandez troglodyte). It's fine to say you prefer one player over another, but talking smack about the now fairly illustrious list: Glenn Dicterow, Pinchas Zukerman, Jaime Laredo, and Aaron Rosand.

I think we should just ignore this person.

August 26, 2006 at 12:07 AM · "but talking smack about the now fairly illustrious list: Glenn Dicterow, Pinchas Zukerman, Jaime Laredo, and Aaron Rosand."

On that list I only critiqued Laredo's and Rosand's intonation. They both really don't play that in tune. It's an honest critique, it is not talking smack. I don't see how they should be held above criticism, artists like Heifetz however on here are bashed all the time. Goes to show what you all know. I questioned Zukerman's leave of absence, since after all, his job if I'm not mistaken is funded by Canadian tax payers while he was still concertizing during this "sick leave". He's a great player though. Just another example however, of how the arts in my opinion, should not be funded by tax payers in this country.

August 26, 2006 at 12:05 AM · I'll second Pieter's motion on the floor. All in favor . . .

August 26, 2006 at 01:58 AM · God Almighty, Keith, do you have to drag your politics into everything??

Then what SHOULD fund the arts? I guess musicians should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and be self-reliant, starving in garrets on the bad side of town, frantically scrounging for any jobs and any money they can find? Classical musicians have enough trouble making decent livings as is!

August 26, 2006 at 02:46 AM · Maura, I don’t think I’m over politicizing. Zukerman and his wife (principal cellist) do not show up to work, and decide to take a “sick leave”. That’s fine. They precede then to tour around playing the Brahms Double, and play chamber music concerts, all over the place making money on top of the salary they are already making from Canadian tax payers while they are supposed to be taking a sick leave. This is an absolute disgrace, no other word for it. It is no different than seeing those videos of people collecting disability (from tax payers) for a “back” or “neck problem” then watching them pick up a keg of beer. As for classical musicians not making enough, I agree. It’s definitely a choice one must probably come to, if you want to be a musician. I know personally I wouldn’t want to fund an orchestra out of my own wallet if I had the extra money, I’d much rather donate to worthier causes like finding a cure to cancer or something of that sort.

August 26, 2006 at 04:09 AM · Keith, I can prove that in many instances. For example, Szeryng's recording of the Brahms Concerto. Compare it to say Ginette Neveu's. The best example would be near the end of the development, the famous sequence where you are constantly changing octaves. Or Szeryng's recording of Bach, in which he tries to use as much tempered intonation as possible, as opposed to Heifetz's.

Despite those specific instances however, I'm talking about those people's concept of intonation in general.

And by great musicians, I mean those with the best ears in the world. That list includes Dorothy Delay, my own teacher Hyo Kang, and other faculty members all over the place.

August 26, 2006 at 04:40 AM · Stephen and Pieter, again, you both hit the nail on the head. Bravo. Clearly with comments like "Goes to show what you all know," Mr. Hernandez is quite content in pushing buttons and provoking critical responses from others while being the ONLY person speaking negatively about Mr. Laredo and Mr. Rosand. Consider the source here and remember that credibility is quite important--something of which Mr. Hernandez has very little, if any. The motion is passed . . . may the ignoring commence!

August 26, 2006 at 05:24 AM · I saw that comment a couple days ago and decided to ignore it, as I was thinking most would. Obviously anybody in the position to study with Mr. Laredo clearly understands that his intonation is exceptional. It is a given that to be known as a great violin soloist and chamber musician is to be known for your great intonation on the violin. In being invited to record chamber music with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Glenn Gould, and Emanuel Ax you would have to be amoungst the best violinists and musicians in the world. Although I must say Emanuel Ax's intonation is questionable at times...

August 26, 2006 at 11:20 AM · Back tracking just a little bit....

Keith said,

"....Hilary Hahn or Szeryng on the other hand, play as in tune live as they do on record, you get the real deal with them. Same could be said about young Perlman, Heifetz, and Milstein."

So Keith, You've heard Perlman, Heifetz, Milstein, and Szeryng, all in their youth, live in person? Or you meant some "live" recording or video? Sorry I am confused.

August 26, 2006 at 03:44 PM · I think when discussing someone like Laredo, you have to look at the circumstances. He has certainly been one of the best musicians around for years, and I doubt anyone would deny that. I don't know when Keith heard him, but I have heard from several other people in the last couple of years who have heard him live (and are violinists themselves)who have said his skills (and in particular, his intonation) have declined significantly as he has gotten older. Does this mean that he is a bad musician, or that he never played in tune? OF course not, and I think it's ridiculous for everyone to jump on Keith for merely saying that his impression of Laredo was that he played out of tune. While certainly that is not particularly balanced, and nor does Keith mention the mitigating factors of age and a career that seems to be mainly devoted to teaching at this point, surely someone could have mentioned those facts rather than jumping on Keith. of course, I don't see why keith brought politics in to the discussion....that said, from what I know from friends of mine who have studied with Laredo, he is a top-class teacher, and a wonderful man. and whether or not his skills have declined, his reputation speaks for itself

August 26, 2006 at 04:34 PM · Can we all agree that Vanessa Mae sucks? Keith? You're with me. C'mon.

August 26, 2006 at 05:32 PM · Wonderful post by Henry. I never said Laredo was a "bad" musician. I even said he was very well-rounded as a musician and said he is a pretty good teacher probably. I have heard him a couple of times live in the past decade, and also have heard his recordings. Brian brought up the intracracies used by the masters in bending pitch slighty. I'm for that don't get me wrong. When I made that statement of intonation being black and white, I meant to say there is such a thing outside of using expressive devices, which is considered playing out of tune. To my ear, I'll stand by what I've said earlier, Laredo's intonation is not very accurate, neither is Rosand's compared to many professionals out there today I've heard.

August 26, 2006 at 06:15 PM · Wayward intonation or not, audience approval is the gold standard of success in the violin world.

I, for one, will NEVER say that Vanessa Mae sucks because she DOESN'T. She can really play and she has my 100% respect. Anybody who plays the violin for a living should know better than to knock her ability. I can think of quite a few pros who cannot do the things she does. She's been totally in tune every time I've seen her.

It ISN'T ridiculous in the least for us to jump on Keith, Henry Flory. If you look at his past history, he's laced his diatribes with personal attacks of every nature including the racial type. Besides, anybody like Keith who criticizes the great Aaron Rosand's superb intonation is merely being arrogant or has his finger grafted to his rewind button. I haven't heard Laredo recently, but I have heard Rosand live and he's spot-on. Even in casual lessons, Rosand's intonation is accurate. Besides, it's one thing being in tune in the studio or for a jury - it's another thing being in tune night after night on a real stage. Not even Heifetz and Milstein can play perfectly in tune with jet lag, unfamiliar halls, and family issues waiting back home. And the great thing is that audiences DON'T CARE!

Those who don't play violin for a living should go on tour just to see how hard (and ultimately IMPOSSIBLE) it is to play perfectly in tune night after night. They'd develop a healthier respect for those like Rosand that DO play in tune, albeit not to their warped sense of pitch.

August 26, 2006 at 07:34 PM · First of all, DO NOT compare Rosand, to Heifetz, and Milstein. Rosand, is a miniscule spec on the violin, compared to Heifetz. Can you honestly tell me that Rosand’s Beethoven concerto recording is “spot on” in terms of intonation? I heard a lot of fishy notes in that second movement. I don’t really agree with your statement that audiences “don’t care” about intonation. Then again this is all coming from a person stating that Heifetz couldn’t play blue grass music on the violin if he tried. Nothing surprises me at how little thinking is sometimes done on here before posting. Audiences as a whole do care, and prefer Heifetz, Hahn, Milstein, or Perlman, who incidentally have recordings on more major labels than Rosand or Laredo. That is a testament.

I don’t see how I’m a racist Kev, other than the fact that I poked a little fun at your comment about the sandbox earlier. You have to admit, your comment did sound rather Confucian, or like a Chinese proverb found in a fortune cookie. After making that comment, did you actually believe you would be taken seriously? Honestly? Call me a racist, you are obviously a very stuck up person and have no sense of humor. If you are referring to me being a racist, based on the fact that I do support profiling Islamic men (on the other thread) at airports, since they are the profile for terrorists today, why don’t you fly on a plane with a guy doing Islamic prayers next to you (like I had to), and tell me you aren’t scared of these people.

August 26, 2006 at 07:40 PM · Milstein Deusest- yes to answer your question, she's not much of a player, Kevin has the hots for her though.

August 26, 2006 at 07:38 PM · Keith, we really HAVE to hear you play, now that you've called the esteemed Aaron Rosand a "miniscule speck" of the violin.

Regarding that big bad scary Muslim on your plane, he obviously wasn't a terrorist or you wouldn't be talking to us now...he was just a devout Muslim who says his prayers!

August 26, 2006 at 07:46 PM · Keith, if you're scared of someone saying their prayers, whatever their faith, then you're not only a racist, but also a bigot and an ignorant little f***. Then again, we knew that already.

Seriously, your attitudes are really disgusting and the truly scary thing.


August 26, 2006 at 08:04 PM · well, a few considerations:

to start with, the discussion seems to be completely off the original point. but that is not the real problem. from what i understand, this site, and the discussions taking place on it, is about music. and yet i feel like reading about accountancy: people counting how many notes a world famous musician got wrong in god knows what performance, or criticising one of the best living violinist because, in someone's opinion, he is not behaving well towards tax payers. I think some of the people who have been mentioned here have successfully devoted their lives to music, and the fact that one performance was not perfect is just part of the game of being a musician. by all means there are violinist who are better in recordings than live and the other way round, still we are criticising a bit too lightly too many of them. am i mad, guys?

August 26, 2006 at 09:00 PM · A wise man once said "Never wrestle with a pig; you'll only get dirty and the pig will just enjoy himself." And another sage: "Never argue with a fool. You'll win an unequal contest, and he won't even know the difference." Ok, ok. It wasn't a sage. It was me. Same difference, right? And still, I can't stop myself.

Keith, all I could possibly say about how laughable, underinformed, small-minded, embittered, provincial, inciting and gauntlet-tossing your views are has already been said. Please note, this is not an ad hominem attack. You yourself may be a very fine person for all I know; the views to which you subscribe and which you defend at the top of your lungs, however, are not. You're certainly entitled to them, but allow me to add my voice to the chorus which is disabusing you of the notion that you speak for any majority on any topic, political or musical.

On only one point do I want to intervene in this discussion. It is this: invariably, when someone on this board says (in whatever tone or with whatever vehemence) that they dislike a given player, someone will ALWAYS counter with "well, could you do any better?" This, in my view, is an irrelevant consideration. There are many non-musicians whose views on given players I hold to be insightful and sometimes even eye opening. In gauging whether their opinions are worthy of respect, I never ask whether they can play better for if that were the only yardstick, all criticism would have to be reserved for ghosts (Jascha Heifetz) and/or superstars (Itzhak Perlman). The former are either too busy decomposing or discovering the eternal joys of the universe, and the latter are too busy performing concerts to offer limitless and ultimately subjective verbiage on their colleagues. By the don't-critique-unless-you're-better reasoning, there should therefore never be a discussion of various musicians' respective qualities. Ridiculous, no?

In asking myself whether to give the opinions of non-musicians (and lackluster musicians) any weight and credence, I also try to avoid only respecting those opinions with which I agree. My yardstick, in fact, is simply whether the opinion in question can be said to be reasonably supportable. Does it use fact or fancy to support its conclusions? Does the speaker have any objective knowledge of the subject matter? And note, NOT whether or not the speaker has PERSONAL experience with the subject. Does the speaker use terminology in a way that suggests he understands that terminology or has he thumbed through a specialist dictionary and picked three or four terms at random to throw around indiscriminately? If this litmus test comes up with "posturing ignoramus" as an applicable label to attach to the pundit, that's pretty much all that's necessary. Showing the pundit to be a failed human being seems superfluous. Racist? Bigot? Unintelligent? Coldhearted? Embittered? Jealous? All irrelevant. Knowledgable, insightful, capable (endowed, in the case of musical arguments, with a superior sense of hearing and, hopefully, some musico-theoretical background)? Relevant and vital.

Your tragedy, Keith, is that in all the discussions in which you've been most active, you've shown yourself not to be up to par in THOSE criteria.

August 26, 2006 at 08:53 PM · good post Emil, eloquent as always! :)

August 26, 2006 at 08:53 PM · Well said!

August 26, 2006 at 09:05 PM · that's all lovely Emil, but I think "you're an idiot" works much better.

August 26, 2006 at 09:56 PM · damn....I wrote out a long reply, went to fix the wireless signal so I could post it, came back up, and my brother had closed the window. bugger......

August 26, 2006 at 11:50 PM · Just had a listen to some of Laredo's playing on Amazon (yes, I know...) - Sounds great to me.

August 27, 2006 at 01:26 AM · BTW i just hear a Rosand´s Ernst VC recording, oh my God, what a violinist, amaizing intonation in this very difficult work.

August 27, 2006 at 01:54 AM · I heard Rosand's Sarasate-Carman a few weeks ago. I have never heard such a clean performance of that piece.

August 27, 2006 at 03:41 AM · Pieter,

Respectful disagreement with your last post. That only leads to (online) flame wars like this and (in real life) shouting matches or fist fights. Not the best way to reinforce the validity of your considered opinion.

August 27, 2006 at 03:44 AM · Jude,

I'm always up for fist fights.

August 27, 2006 at 04:39 AM · Or good old-fashioned wisecrack wars. :) I just realized that half your v.com comedy duo is missing...where's Ilya been lately?

August 27, 2006 at 08:29 AM · last I heard he was cross dressing in Bratislava, and then heading off to fish for Sturgeon with his bare hands in the Baltic to fund his smack habit.

August 27, 2006 at 10:25 AM · A smart man (who I'm sure was an idiot from time to time) said something worth remembering. Words to the effect of "Even if you win an argument on the internet, you still lose." No, it wasn't Confucius.

August 27, 2006 at 11:08 AM · Jim, that's a very much abridged quotation. The original is not politically correct.

August 27, 2006 at 06:25 PM · LOL Pieter! And don't you mean Pozsony, not that "Bratislava" thing? :)

August 27, 2006 at 11:09 PM · Maura,

Ilya gets around.

August 27, 2006 at 11:41 PM · Pozsony and Bratislava are the same city....Pozsony is the Hungarian name and Bratislava is just what the Slovaks call it. :)

August 28, 2006 at 12:45 AM · I wasn't refering to geographical location.

August 28, 2006 at 12:55 AM · See, this is where Ilya is supposed to pop up with a witticism of his own. Then you bounce another one off him, and the whole thread gets shot to hell but provides intense amusement to everyone who reads it. Things just aren't the same around here anymore...

August 28, 2006 at 05:41 PM · >Pozsony and Bratislava are the same city....Pozsony is the Hungarian name and Bratislava is just what the Slovaks call it. :)

Whoa. Cool fact!

August 28, 2006 at 07:34 PM · And to complete the trifecta, the German name is Pressburg. What was this thread about again?

August 28, 2006 at 09:00 PM · Oh, this thread stopped making sense a looooong time ago...

August 28, 2006 at 11:40 PM · It wasn't any of my doing.

August 29, 2006 at 04:22 AM · This thread is despicable.

Why doesn't Administration just axe this whole thing?

August 29, 2006 at 03:06 PM · Well, I must say that I find the disrespect shown for this great artist and violinist to be of little concern. Ultimately,when the totality of a celebrated artist's career and his impact on the musical world is summed up by the erroneous assertion that he somehow has a faulty ear, it would seem to suggest that the rest of the musical world has somehow failed to notice such a major flaw in a violinist of such great stature! Such an observation must therefore come from quite a rare expert!

Oh, but that reminds me of the fundamental definition of an "expert" : The Village Idiot... from another village.

I think if I ever visited that expert's village, I would shake the dust from my feet...

August 29, 2006 at 06:03 PM · there are many things i could say but i like what i originally said and therefore i will repeat myself:

i have not studied with prof. laredo but i know a few people who have. from what i've heard, prof. laredo is a great teacher and his instruction is top-notch. he is especially good at coaching chamber music.

i'll also add that aaron rosand is one of the best violinists i've ever heard and i wish to god i was half the musician he is.

August 29, 2006 at 06:24 PM · Until I signed on Violinist.com, my knowledge of classical violin music, and classical violinists was very limited.

I can honestly say that ANYONE who has dedicated themselves to becoming proficient in playing the violin deserves MUCH credit, professional or amateur.

There is no need to demean others, for any reason, and I SALUTE ALL OF YOU for your own personal achievements.

John Thornton

August 29, 2006 at 07:20 PM · Hmmmm...How strange to pick on Laredo for intonation- I've heard him play many times and didn't hear any problem there at all. Maybe I was distracted by the incredible depth and beauty of his sound.

Keith, are you sure you read the cover of that Mendelssohn cd correctly? Maybe you put a recording of some recital YOU did in a cd cover of Laredo's... That happened to me once when I was moving and had to store a cd... It took me a long time to find that cd too.

As for Ann Coulter being #1 for several weeks on the NY Times bestseller list, I wonder how "Mein Kampf" did in Germany when it was published? Mao's little red book probably also topped bestseller lists in China when it was published.

Also, just for the record, I thought your comment about the "guys saying islamic prayers" on the plane next to you was racist and, even worse, stupid. Even as far back as Caesar, it was standard practice to recruit warriors from amongst your enemies. So while you're out violating the rights of innocent, God-fearing middle-eastern men, the terrorists you speak of will send a little old lady with a "dowager hump" bomb or somesuch.


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