Who are the top 10 Violin teachers in the world?

May 16, 2018, 9:32 PM · I was asked always by the parents who are the top 10 Violin teachers in the world. What are their teaching style. Any Ideas?

Replies (27)

May 16, 2018, 10:01 PM · Kind of an odd question. Rather, it's the wrong question. Some teachers are great for one student but terrible for another. For example, galamian had a lot of good students associated with his name, but some really hated his teaching. Others loved it.

I guess if they want a list of the most *famous* teachers in recent history, maybe Dorothy delay, Ivan galamian, Simon Fischer, Sassmanhaus (can't remember his first name right now), Josef gingold, etc are the first ones that come to my mind.

May 16, 2018, 11:37 PM · Yes, very tricky question, you can top music school ranking, but not teacher ranking, first come to my mind is Dorothy delay, Galamian, they produced a lot of famous solo violist with very dedicated teaching method. But they has gone.

I think they want to know who are the top at moment? I can think about is Zakhar Bron, Aaron Rosand, who else then??

May 17, 2018, 4:21 AM · Donald Weilerstein's studio at New England Conservatory seems to keep putting out some wonderful musicians.
Edited: May 17, 2018, 4:35 AM · In my opinion the world's top teachers are those teachers that are able to instill a lifetime of enjoyment of violin playing in players of limited ability.
Edited: May 17, 2018, 7:27 AM · Depends on what you measure. If you measure who is the best at making famous violinists, probably Delay or Galamian; you measure who is the best at making rock/pop students love classical music, you get other people; you measure who is the best at making students enjoy the violin all their lifes (when at the beginning they didn't care about it), probably other results. On and on...

I think we all mean the first one, who is the best at making students famous, and that's probably Galamian or Delay.

May 17, 2018, 7:50 AM · In the present tense? Don't think so.
May 17, 2018, 8:10 AM · I'm not in the business of bad mouthing teachers but rest assured:

One teacher listed on this thread was or is most certainly not a great teacher unless they improved astronomically after my experience with them.

I took lessons from them for a summer and didn't learn anything of use. All I can remember is that they kept on telling me to "practice slowly" without fixing any of the underlying issues I had. They also would tell all kinds of stories about great violinists which my parents (who sat in on lessons) ate up. It wasn't until I started talking lesson from a local university professor the next fall that I realized what a good teacher is. That was in essence the beginning of my teaching life.

May 17, 2018, 9:01 AM · Asking for a list of the top ten violin teachers in the world is meaningless. What possible reason could presumably random parents have for asking such a question?
May 17, 2018, 9:11 AM · To get into those elite schools and be accepted by those famous teachers you already need to have advanced level technique. The real heroes of the profession are those less-known teachers at the K--12 age levels that take students from grade 0 to grade 8 (on a 10-point scale). From an earlier generation, I would nominate one of my teachers, Vera Barstow, at USC.
May 17, 2018, 10:07 AM · Personally among all teachers I met I think there are three greatest, the first one is Franco Gulli (deceased), the second is Boris Kuschnir, and the third Pavel Vernikov. I think Ricci is also fine, though I have not attended his class, nearly all his pupils speaking highly of him.
Edited: May 17, 2018, 10:31 AM · I agree with Joel. I have known violin (and cello) teachers who may not have produced anyone famous and might not have even prepared more than a few students (if any) for conservatory, but they are absolutely magical with small children -- nurturing motivation, developing proper technique from the very beginning, and instilling concepts of musicality and collaboration. That should count for something too.
May 18, 2018, 8:39 AM · My childhood teacher. She was awesome!
Edited: May 18, 2018, 10:06 AM · If you scroll through the stories about The Juilliard Symposium on Violin Studies you can find a lot of the top teachers and also see their teaching described in master classes. You can also just search "master class" here on Violinist.com and find many. Off the top of my head, some of the top teachers of today (some famous and some not as known, but all producing results with their students):

Almita and Rolland Vamos
Paul Kantor
Robert Lipsett
Ida and Ani Kavafian
Pamela Frank
Brian Lewis
Stephanie Chase
Kurt Sassmannshaus
Jorja Fleezanis
Sylvia Rosenberg
Chee-Yun Kim
Mimi Zweig
Simon James
Laurie Smukler
Steve Shipps
Daniel Heifetz
Desiree Ruhstrat
Danielle Belen
Lorenz Gamma
Peter Slowik (viola)

I've left out tons of people here, and also since I'm American that is what I know best and many of these teacher teach in America. I'll try to come back and post more when I think of more. But there are fantastic violin teachers in the world today, I daresay that many of them likely teach better than those legendary teachers of old.

May 18, 2018, 8:45 PM · Thank you very much Laurie, very useful information and good ideas to watch their masterclass on the YouTube to find out their teaching style and characters etc. I believe they are very good teachers in some way to suit some children. It is very wise way to know their teaching style and character first before go ahead with them.
May 19, 2018, 5:47 AM · Although Laurie did manage to miss me off the list ...
May 19, 2018, 9:40 AM · I am with Mary Ellen on this. There are famous teachers, but the question has some resemblance to the question of which are the best strings. IMHO, these things are all very individual and lack answers that are valid for everyone.
May 19, 2018, 9:53 AM · I'm also with those who say that such a list is not useful. Lists that rank colleges as "top 10" in this way tend to be similar. They are used by adults to limit possibilities and put pressure on students. I think when parents ask you this question it's a great teaching moment--for the parents! You can help them understand that there are better ways to approach looking for a teacher.
May 20, 2018, 5:27 PM · Whether we like it or not, there are rankings for practically everything. Education in particular.
May 20, 2018, 8:05 PM · I have no idea. But from high school students I know that they talk about whose the best for violin or viola when they're looking at college. It's not a meaningless or obtuse question for them.
When looking at grad school (in a different field) I had the same question. With a "good teacher" came not only training and instruction, but all the strings (no pun intended) that the teacher has. The teacher's reputation predisposes evaluators to consider you more favorably ... or not; the teacher has connections that get you interviews or auditions; the teacher has inside knowledge on jobs and opportunities that might help get jobs; the teacher has inside knowledge on what is required for some gig or position. When I went to grad school I watched this. "___ has an opening that just came up for a _______, are you interested?" The job would be posted the next day, but by then they'd already have candidates in mind because the job would start in 3 weeks.
I'd be interested in a purely academic way in a listing, to be honest.
Edited: May 21, 2018, 2:51 AM · The question is interesting, anyway. Although not well formulated. It is impossible to rank "goodness".

But another way to put it, which could interest some, would be "who are the most successful violin teachers in developing internationally famous violinists". It is raw and hard (business usually is), but it would be interesting to see who were the teachers of, say, the Menuhin Competition finalists in the past 10 years. Or who were the main teachers of current soloists. It's true that such list would treat them more as "trainers" rather than teachers but it's also true that for a young aspiring violinist, one of the few roads available ahead is the cutthroat permanent competition and in that sense those "trainers" with more winners in their history are more attracttive. If that is the case, that some names appear more than others as teachers of winners of famous competitions, the career of a young student would aim to be in the roster of those teachers. How to get there will often involve other prior teachers who would be recognized by the awarded one etc... However competitive and expensive, it is a realistic career path.

Edited: May 21, 2018, 4:31 AM · Something I see a lot of from people passing through my shop is the search for the teacher who will provide what is needed at the moment. For instance, I see in one of the lists above someone who I think is terrible, but has proven superb at teaching students to be confident and professional, and has a very high employment hit rate. There are teachers for bow, for left hand, for musicality, for particular aspects of musicality, and I rarely see those combined in one. I know someone who was being recommended one particular person because of a quirk that they had been unable to leave behind that was holding them up, and that teacher wouldn't put up with that particular problem. And then there are the coaches for preparing for auditions, which is another group entirely. There's probably someone for the specific skill of winning contests, too, but after the contest, you still have to win the audition if you want a job.

In that context, how can you tag "best"? Maybe that's an old idea that isn't as functional as it used to be.

May 21, 2018, 5:27 AM · What about Ana Chumachenko, Philippe Hirschhorn and Aida Stucki ? They certainly have many students who are now the most in demand soloists and orchestral members in the world :)
May 21, 2018, 10:58 AM · Well Philippe Hirschhorn is dead lol

Ana Chumachenko is great! Augustin Dumay is as well.

I think the greatest quality a teacher can have is flexibility of approach. The best teachers, in any craft, are those who tailor the approach to the student’s specific needs.
In that regard, the ‘best’ teacher I know of is Miriam Fried.
And her students win prizes at all the top international competitions too.

May 21, 2018, 3:28 PM · I'm stating the obvious but, in order to teach the very elite students, these elite teachers would first have to work really hard to establish their name and move through the ranks.

As for any businesses, once you get established, you enjoy choosing your own customers.

Harvard University can theoretically accept students at much lower echelons, but it doesn't need to, while continuing to reject the nearest-to-top students. It doesn't make sense for Harvard, nor it is fair for the elite students who were rejected by Harvard.

Edited: June 2, 2018, 4:54 PM · To All ~

This question is a Huge Subject to address & in this vein, nearly impossible to do without a Violinist's Dr. L. Gates Expert on Ancestry! To quickly jot down names of some, currently 'in fashion', without a hint of violinistic background/pedigree is folly ~

Parent 'civilians' seeking 'a good or best teacher' usually have no idea nor background or awareness of such to pull a Teacher out of a local, national or global 'Phone Book', & seem attracted to names of those on the concert stage for a short time - innocently thinking A, B or Y can Teach! Not so fast! Welcome to a realistic & true blue tried World of Violin Teaching ~

Agreeing with Joel Quivey who named his principle teacher, Vera Barstow, who had to come from somewhere, violinistically, is a truthfully informed decision of opinion. Just because some Great Teacher's are not alive in no way deletes the long range influence of a principle teacher, learning all from a legendary 'old teacher' (I beg your pardon?) like Carl Flesch, the violin pedagogue exceptionale who taught Vera Barstow, Henryk Szeryng, Ida Haendel, Alan Loveday, & many other acknowledged top Teacher's in the UK - London, in Berlin, & parts further ~ (Although not of Flesch 'violin country') I know his 'Apostles', aka, virtuoso 'star's' carried his approaches forward to all those they taught + 'silent' pupil's of Carl Flesch, not star crossed, but solid in the Flesch Violin Culture, passing on techniques used/employed by the 'Root' - Carl Flesch's approach to learning to play the violin ably, more than ably & most extraordinarily! To authenticate those mentioned thus far, all of us must research specific 'roots' of Teacher's Now, thought to be in a 'Top 10 Teacher's of Violin' List!

Not mentioned is Leopold Auer! A pretty 'good' Teacher, from whom came Heifetz (who gave credit to his 1st principle teacher, Ruvin Heifetz, father of young 'Jascha', taking his 7 yr old son to Leopold Auer, & who, after a 60+ year never to be duplicated career of supremacy on the Violin, determined to teach - saying to his original 7 pupils, "I wanted to play well enough to be able to teach!" (I know of this because I was one of JH's original 7 pupil's in his 1st Violin Master Class which all can see due to Mr. Heifetz's own quest to teach us, allowing our 'normal' class lessons to be filmed in order to pass on his own legacy as a teacher ~ in our violin master classes on YouTube.)

All great & good violinists came from somewhere, & to rule out those Root Teacher's in favour of some w/Juilliard association seems quite shallow or a lack of awareness of the Violinistic Ancestry of said Teacher's, whom I must say, had no or minimal acquaintance w/ the Leopold Auer Legacy of Teaching & Approach to violin playing (btw, as displayed thru JH, Milstein, Elman, Toscha Seidel, Zimbalist, Sascha Lasserson - the UK's most famed Premier Violin Pedagogue (& before, a Great Violinist), who taught/passed on all of Auer's violin approaches to technique/musicality to generations of British Violinist's, who is amongst the 'Top 10 Teacher's' carrying forward authentic Leopold Auer approaches to violin technique all of Auer pupil's passed on to their pupil's w/varying 'success', but Sascha Lasserson is a legendary Teacher definitely belonging on a 'Top 10 Teacher's in the World' List, alive or not alive because his explicit & caring teaching was 1000% successfully passed on to every pupil & even his loving amateur's who rode bicycle's from Edinburgh to London to have monthly lessons w/ Lasserson! I know this because I witnessed it up close & personal!!

To name the 'Top Giant Teacher's of the World' requires a close & personal acquaintance with these truly extraordinary 'Teacher's' ~ Leopold Auer, Carl Flesch, Ferdinand David, Eugen Ysaye, Sascha Lasserson, Eduoard Dethier, Persinger & Josef Gingold to start! I also think Stolyarsky, the early Teacher of both Nathan Milstein & D. Oistrakh, should be on the 'Top Giant Teacher's of the World' List. To repeat, we need our own Dr. Gates of Violinist Ancestry, to do research into the violinistic 'blood lines' of those Teacher's, who may seem 'nameless' to YouTuber's & Strad ? readers, but 'Builder's of True Technique/ Musicality', who laid lasting foundation's of all pupil's who came under their guidance & beyond dedicated teaching who are Hero's!

In being forced (due to time constraints) to stop, allow me to just pay Forever gratitude & fervent admiration to my great principle teacher-father, Ralph Matesky, of Hollywood composer for films/television fame w/a Life of Teaching +service as ASTA's National President of Vision, who expanded then ASTA string boundaries to include the Guitar, Harp & (now seeming odd) Double Bass! Dad possessed panoramic knowledge/overview's of strings & all orchestral instruments, who married the Alternate Pianist (w/Leonard Stein) for Arnold Schoenberg's UCLA Advanced Classes in Theory; Form and Analysis, and Orchestral Structure & Composition, my beloved Mother, Betty, whom he always turned & deferred to whenever arranging & composing exceptional works + arrangements for every level of Orchestra, Violin & the 'lot' as is said in the UK! His words on receipt of National ASTA's '78 Distinguished Service Award, were, "One cannot teach that which One cannot do ~" This Maxim is a requirement in assessing a 'Top 10 Giant's of Violin Teaching of the World' List, and if answering the Call of Kylie Pike, to draw up such a List - we all better get cracking!!!

Respectfully offered by ~

Elisabeth Matesky / Chicago

Edited: June 2, 2018, 4:44 PM · To All on Violinist.com ~

In lieu of this very fascinating and intriguing Topic, posted by Kylie Pike, as a core contributor to our over 3 Year online LinkedIn 'Top 10 Violinists of All Time, (IV)', created & hosted by Prof Nick Hulme of Thames Valley University/London, Discussion (www.linkedin.com), please accept this 'Invitation to Visit' our international discussion which includes 'regular's' from Buenos Aires, LA, London, Czech Republic, Pietrasantra, Rome & Milan in Italy, Portugal, the Midwest, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, OR, and Northern California, to listen to Great Violinists of the past, present & those coming up, with intriguing commentary from our very informed & (sometimes opinionated!) Group, all of whom have become friends over these 3 + Years of truly attempting to discern which Violinist's we deem worthy to hold a 'Chair' in the Top 10 Violinists 'Seats' of an in depth study/ re-visit to vast recording's of all under consideration with enormous respect and admiration of those we are struggling to name! So far, in Three Years, we unanimously voted-agreed upon the Number One Top 10 Violinist of All Time, Jascha Heifetz, in December of 2015 ~ If any or many or All here enjoy Music and the World of Great Violinist's with a passion, then you must log on to visit with Us!! Please know, in advance, we affectionately refer to our Leader, Prof Nick Hulme, as 'Guv', a British term of endearment reserved for Heads of English Pubs & the like! For many Violinists & Teachers to collectively agree to address Prof Nick Hulme as 'GUV' is an international musical miracle and a sign of deep respect ~

Hoping to see you there and in no way trying to kidnap any here away from Laurie, a great Hostess, you are all welcome to just Stop In!!!

With warm musical greetings, I remain

Yours musically from Chicago ~

Elisabeth Matesky*

*Please don't feel obligated to Post! If visiting a second time, we will enjoy
knowing You dropped in while sight-seeing on LinkedIn to The Violin

Edited: June 3, 2018, 1:36 AM · @Elisabeth Matesky
Thanks for your posts. I have signed in to Linkedin and and viewed your profile and that Mr Hulme (whom I won't call 'guv' because when someone calls me 'guv', as London taxi drivers will, I sometimes think it is ironic!). I have no idea how to join the discussion which you write about. There is a group called "The Violin Network" which is perhaps where the discussion takes place--just a guess--so I asked to join.

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