Which Concerto comes after Sibelius?

June 28, 2023, 6:22 PM · Hello everyone!

I recently just finished the Sibelius Violin Concerto and I had so much fun playing it. It’s one of my most favourite concertos and learning it was definitely an unforgettable experience! I also played it for a competition recently. Although I didn’t win, I had the opportunity to play the concerto (only the first movement) with an orchestra, which I was grateful for.

I just wanted to ask, what Concerto is good after the Sibelius? I just want a good Concerto that might be good for a competition. Since I didn’t win, I really want to pick a very convincing Concerto.


Replies (29)

June 28, 2023, 8:38 PM · What else have you played? Generally, if you are able to play Sibelius well, you should already have the technical ability to play almost any other concerto well. Common other concertos played by this level student include Tchaikovsky, both Prokofiev concertos, Beethoven, Wieniawski f#, Brahms, etc. Also, some of the modern ones like Shostakovich, Bartok, Walton, etc.

However, if you feel like Sibelius was stretching your limits, you might want to try something a little less demanding like Dvorak, Glazunov, or Vieuxtemps 4 or 5.

June 28, 2023, 11:17 PM · How about the Beethoven Concerto? Unlike the Sibelius or several others, you will never say that you are truly "finished" with this masterpiece. Like J.S. Bach's Sonatas & Partitas, the Beethoven Concerto is an infinite wellspring of transcendental ideas and inspiration.
June 29, 2023, 7:43 AM · Just be glad you didn't perform Vieuxtemps 4 with the orchestra. The orchestral introduction is three minutes long.
June 29, 2023, 9:30 AM · The question is wrong: there is no concerto coming naturally after Sibelius. The Sibelius is simply part of a group of standard great violin concertos. You know what they are. The question also seems to suggest that you cannot win a competition with Sibelius; you need a "next" concerto. You can win any competition with the Sibelius. It's not the concerto, it's how good a violinist and musician you are. Of course, to grow as a violinist, you will study many different concertos.
June 29, 2023, 10:34 AM · Totally agree with Jean Dubuisson. Well said!
Edited: June 29, 2023, 11:01 AM · Hear, hear! Speaking as a musical enthusiast and amateur violinist who could never get close to performing the Sibelius concerto, I often get the uncomfortable feeling that many of the up-and-coming generation of young virtuosi view the music they play as fences to be jumped, mountains to be climbed, personal goals to be achieved. Those who consciously or subconsciously hold such views will eventually discover that they've missed the point rather comprehensively.
Edited: June 29, 2023, 2:15 PM · In all fairness, possibly Jianlin is simply asking for suggestions of which concerto to study. Anyway, my answer is the same: any other one from the standard set of great violin concertos, and, eventually, if you're serious, you'll have to study them all, give or take.
Edited: June 29, 2023, 2:42 PM · If you can play Sibelius, then the world is kind of your oyster.

Do you find that you still have some weaknesses you want to shore up, or that you have not done so much of a certain style of playing? Maybe you want to try something more modern as a stylistic shift. Maybe you've been playing big romantic stuff for a while and want to give something more transparent a shot, where you can really develop more subtle skills, like in Mozart or Mendelssohn, or Beethoven, as suggested above.

If you were served well by playing a dream piece like Sibelius, then maybe you have some other dream pieces that can really play into your motivation. Maybe if you want to work for a competition, then you come back to a concerto you already played and see how much you can really polish it and how it looks different after working on the Sibelius.

No one is really qualified to give you permission to follow your own interest, but if you are working with a teacher, then maybe you consult and see if your teacher has some thoughts on aspects of your playing to still develop.

June 29, 2023, 2:50 PM · Paganini #1.
June 29, 2023, 6:33 PM · Greetings,
Agree with all of the above. I don’t think the OP really meant that concertos are chronologically arranged etudes but the warning is well worth restating. If you truly can play the Sibelius well then you can start making your own artistic decisions about what to do next. I agreed with Marty that Paginini would be a good choice and would even venture to suggest doing no2 instead of 1. It’s artistic /technical merits are high and it is still a little fresher than the ubiquitous no1. But then, the Beethoven too is a great choice, unless you haven’t done the Tchaikovsky in which case there’s that.
What do you feel like doing? Listen to your inner spirit .
Edited: July 3, 2023, 11:37 AM · Look, there are maybe 10 concertos that occupy 90% of the orchestral bandwidth. If you can play the Sibelius well, then until you've learned all X of them, from a career development perspective, why work on anything else?

Mendelssohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Beethoven, Shostakovitch, Brahms, Mozart 3, Mozart 4, and Mozart 5. If that's too much Mozart you can swap out Berg and Bartok but they don't get performed that often.

If you're looking to improve your technique, then you're really asking what's out there that's incrementally harder than Sibelius. And that probably depends on your individual strengths and weaknesses, besides that I would have absolutely no idea.

Edited: July 3, 2023, 3:34 PM · You left out Barber and Prokofiev No. 2. As per aggregated League of American Orchestras repertoire reports, those two were the 7th and 9th most performed pieces for violin and orchestra in the US and Canada between 2008 and 2013. The top 10 were:

1. Brahms
2. Tchaikovsky
3. Mendelssohn
4. Beethoven
5. Sibelius
6. Bruch No. 1
7. Barber
8. Mozart No. 5
9. Prokofiev No. 2
10. (3-way tie) Mozart No. 3, Shostakovich No. 1, Bruch Scottish Fantasy

July 3, 2023, 6:31 PM · Nice reply Paul,
I note somewhat wryly that you could follow szigeti’s advice and study the 1st violin parts of the Beethoven quarters for technical and musical development.
Aside from concerto lists which are , as we see above, easy to outline once a player is advanced there may be some generalizations that help. Personally I think the following are fairly fundamental:
1) At least half the Paginini Caprices.
2) All the Bach solo sonata!
3) Handel D and A major sonatas.
4) Dont etudes.
5) Lots of Kreisler and Heifetz transcriptions.
Edited: July 4, 2023, 8:50 AM · I agree with Buri about Kreisler transcriptions. My hat is off to anyone who can play the Haffner Rondo cleanly at a decent tempo. I'm certainly not among them.

Edit: Working on some of the highlights of the chamber literature is not a bad idea, either. Playing with a successful quartet is a worthy career outcome. It's true that you can't just learn the parts, but it's definitely a start. I suggest you start with the three Beethoven Op. 59 quartets and the Mendelssohn Op. 20 octet. (That Rasumovsky guy sure got his money's worth.)

July 9, 2023, 11:23 PM · For a rough idea, I have already played the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Vieuxtemps No.4 in D minor and the Barber Violin Concerto. I did skip quite a bit because I started playing the Sibelius right after I finished learning the Mendelssohn and this meant that I had skipped a lot of the other concertos that should usually come before learning the Sibelius. But I am just about to finish up with the Sibelius since my teacher thinks that I have mastered the whole concerto now.

I am just a little bit stuck between choosing what goes next. I was thinking about either the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto or the Prokofiev No 2 concerto. What do you guys think I should choose?

July 9, 2023, 11:40 PM · When I read the word "mastered" I can't help thinking "oh yeah?". No matter how much time and effort you put into a piece there's always something more to think about, something that can be improved. I doubt that any truly accomplished soloist would claim to have "mastered" one of the great concertos.
July 10, 2023, 12:00 AM · Sorry I don't actually mean that there's not more to be done in the concerto, what I meant was that I've been playing it for quite some time now and I have pretty much finished polishing it. I don't mean that I'm deifnitely the greatest at this concerto, of course not. But there's always a time when you need to learn something new, right?
July 10, 2023, 2:00 AM · You can play the Sibelius convincingly to where your teacher thinks you’re ready to move on? My answer like others is whichever one you want. Since you’re considering either Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev 2 pick the one you like more and learn that one. After that do the other. Then learn the other standards along with some chamber music including sonatas aka not just quartets and some other shorter pieces. Kreisler has many wonderful ones as well as some concert pieces by Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, Sarasate, etc.
July 10, 2023, 2:02 AM · Right you are. But an informed answer to your question really isn't possible for those who don't know your background and haven't heard you play. If I could I might go for Walton!
July 10, 2023, 1:57 PM · If I recall correctly, Jiya posted a recording of them playing the Barber Concerto last year. If I'm remembering right, it was solidly done, so maybe it's really just a matter of your own taste, Jiya. I don't think you'll lose either way.
Edited: July 10, 2023, 7:53 PM · Still, agonizing over it for another couple of weeks probably can't hurt. (Obviously just kidding.)
July 11, 2023, 9:19 AM · Ah yes, Chris, you're right. I did post a video of the Barber Concerto. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

Some people told me today that I should try and play a concerto that not many people have played before. Any concerto suggestions that might be around the level of concertos such as Sibelius/Tchaik etc.?

Edited: July 11, 2023, 10:41 AM · Check out the violin sonatas published in 1681 by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber! I have a special love for #5 but they're all beautiful.


Best played on a very old violin with gut strings!

July 11, 2023, 11:49 AM · The Dvorak Violin Concerto would be on my list to try. It really is a great piece and requires significant collaboration between the orchestra and the soloist. Last year I saw it live in Chicago with Hilary Hahn as soloist. I loved every minute of it.
July 11, 2023, 2:52 PM · Glazunov is also a very underrated one.
July 11, 2023, 5:26 PM · greetings,
The great concertos are all played/studied for a readon. Trying to play something not may people have played before is pretty much a hiding to nothing. Glazunov would be great. Sinding Suite is a little neglected. Elgar concerto but you may not be ready for that in a weird sense.
One question worth asking is can you play Mozart 4 and 5 so well you could pass just about any orchestral audition. Sometimes we need to step back from warhorses and really perfect the elegance of our bowing and style. Your teacher would be the person to advise on that.
July 20, 2023, 10:17 PM · Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!
I have actually decided on playing the Tchaikovsky next but I have a question. I recently watched recordings of violinist Ray Chen performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and I realised that in some parts of the first movement he sometimes jumps up an octave for some of the melodic passages. I have not bought any copies of the sheet music for this concerto but so far all the scores from IMSLP does not have anything written up the octave. Does anyone know which edition includes some parts which may be written up an octave?


Edited: July 21, 2023, 4:54 PM · I never know which version I'm listening to, but if you can track down a copy of the original and the Auer version, you can probably find most elements between the two that occur in various recordings. A lot of violinists make their own choices on cuts and alterations according to their particular taste, so you can find little bits of variation in different recordings. I think more and more violinists are going back more faithfully to the original, but I'm not sure what Ray Chen did.

I believe that the Oistrakh edition contains both versions:


Hard to go wrong with Oistrakh.


July 22, 2023, 8:23 AM · Regardless of what you end up doing, I would start with the urtext. This is the one my son used. https://www.sharmusic.com/products/tchaikovsky-concerto-in-d-violin-piano-urtext?utm_term=&utm_campaign=PMAX-+Franz+Hoffmann+-7.18&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_acc=1032166109&hsa_cam=20384282557&hsa_grp=&hsa_ad=&hsa_src=x&hsa_tgt=&hsa_kw=&hsa_mt=&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_ver=3&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_O2lBhCFARIsAB0E8B9iJJ-GaqHm9R65gYBActDcLPfNFRD_NMWKOEwmnL68LpIVinXW-XQaApMqEALw_wcB

If I remember correctly, there are some notations of alternate parts, but not everything. My son did make a few changes, including one octave change in the second movement, and also the alternate mini-cadenza thing in the 3rd movement. I think he got these out of the Auer and Oistrakh editions. The Auer is on IMSLP so you can see that.

Also, I recommended getting the Sevcik Tchaikovsky book as well -- it has exercises for all the hard bits in the concerto.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings



Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine