Violin related films and documentaries

May 1, 2020, 3:13 PM · Hello violinists:

Any recommendations on violin related films and documentaries?

I have just finished watching the doc on Ida Haendel called "I am the violin"and have rewatched the "Red Violin".

While skype lessons and practice are good distractions from the current COVID situation, I am also interested in other forms of violin related distractions, namely documentaries and films : )

Replies (21)

Edited: May 1, 2020, 4:09 PM · 'The art of violin' is probably the single most important violin documentary you need to watch if you haven't already. God's fiddler, and From Mao to Mozart are also great.
May 1, 2020, 4:20 PM · Strange timing. Just 10 minutes ago my DVD of the film "Ivry Gitlis and the Great Tradition" arrived in the mail. Gitlis is one of the speakers in the video "The Art of Violin" and one of the most ideosyncratic virtuosos there ever was. He has still been performing in his mid 90s.

The film is available on YouTube, but I wanted all of it with as much clarity and fidelity as possible to watch on my bigger screen so I ordered it from Amazon last month.

May 1, 2020, 4:26 PM · The 1995 documentary film "Small Wonders" and the 1999 Movie based on it, "Music of the Heart," starring Meryl Streep will make for an interesting afternoon about the public school education of children in violin playing.

I've got a lot of violin films, but perhaps the top of the pile is the 1962 video series of the Heifetz Master Class. A day well spent!

May 1, 2020, 4:50 PM · "They Shall Have Music" A movie from 1939, featuring Heifetz in his prime.
Edited: May 1, 2020, 8:37 PM · Thank you for these suggestions; I am so happy to learn about these films!
May 1, 2020, 5:21 PM · Art of the violin is good. Also, there was an episode of the South Bank Show about Nigel Kennedy which was good.

There are a couple of good documentaries about Maxim Vengerov.

Edited: May 1, 2020, 5:25 PM · I remember "They Shall Have Music." It is the first movie I ever saw - first run - on the big screen in NYC in 1939 I had already started violin lessons. I remember turning to my father and asking, "Is that a real man?" I just don't remember why I asked, was it the 20-foot high screen, or was it that incredible downbow staccato?

I saw it again on TV (at 2 am) in the 1960s. Stayed up to be sure to catch it to see if it really was that "first movie." It was!

When the lady who owned our local TV rental shop retired and closed the shop she gave me her VCR tape of the movie.

May 1, 2020, 5:33 PM · “Highly Strung” is a documentary by Scott Hicks, ostensibly about Very Expensive violins and the people who play them. It’s a bit disjointed, and there was an unexpected twist during the making of it that is a diversion, but I still found it fascinating ( as I’m never going to be in that elite world) and re-watch it from time to time.
May 1, 2020, 8:13 PM · Here are a few:

“God’s Fiddler”
“The Magic Bow”
“A Late Quartet”

May 1, 2020, 10:39 PM · theres also the "Devil's Violinist" with David Garret as the famous Paganini
May 2, 2020, 12:43 PM · I thought "Itzhak" was enjoyable.

Are you open to films/documentaries involving other string (or any other) instruments?

May 2, 2020, 12:54 PM · I've always enjoyed the Guarneri quartet documentary - forget what it's called right now. They certainly don't hold back with showing their personalities.
May 2, 2020, 12:56 PM · Was that "High Fidelity--Adventures of the Guarneri String Quartet" ?
May 2, 2020, 1:28 PM · That sounds right!
Edited: May 2, 2020, 2:06 PM · "The winners" by Paul Cohen is quite confrontational. Highly recommended. You can find it on this YouTube channel:

Edited: May 2, 2020, 4:01 PM · "I know I played every note"....Itzhak.

"Two gentlemen of Cremona"...Joe and Tony.

Both on youtube.

May 2, 2020, 4:04 PM · There is a short story in the April 13, 2020 issue of The New Yorker that features a character who is a Suzuki violin teacher. The story is entitled "The Other One" by Tessa Hadley. It's a good read, perhaps a little predictable.
Edited: May 3, 2020, 4:36 AM · 'The Secret of the Violin' with Daniel Hope is pretty interesting.

You can find it on youtube.

May 3, 2020, 9:20 AM · Thank you for all the recommendations! I will start with "The Art of the violin" and work my way down the list.

Happy playing everyone ans stay safe!

May 9, 2020, 3:13 PM · Haven't found out how to watch it, but you can read it on

..... I think!!!

May 10, 2020, 7:12 AM · 'Orchestra of Exiles' - more history and politics than the violin per se, the story of Bronislaw Huberman and the founding of the Israel PO.

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