Several violin players throughout history have made a name for themselves and have become quite popular because of their exceptional skill with the instrument. The violin is an extremely versatile instrument. It is used for a wide variety of music genres including classical, folk, jazz, country, rock and roll, soft rock, and Baroque music. Violins are also played in a wide range of cultures around the world. Here are 5 of the most famous violin players:
Itzhak Perlman – Often considered the greatest violinist of the twentieth century, Itzhak Perlman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1945. At the age of four, Itzhak contracted polio but recovered enough to walk with crutches. His handicap means that Itzhak plays the violin sitting down. Perlman taught himself how to play the violin by using a toy instrument after he was denied acceptance to the Shulamit Conservatory because he was deemed too small at the age of three.
Perlman eventually entered the conservatory and studied with Rivka Goldgart and then studied at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, giving his first recital at the age of ten. After moving to the United States, Perlman studied at Julliard. Perlman has appeared on several American shows including The Tonight Show, Sesame Street, and The Ed Sullivan Show. Perlman has performed for several functions at the White House, has accompanied the New York Philharmonic and played with Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Besides being a famous violinist, Perlman is also a conductor, teacher, and coach with the Perlman Music Program, a summer camp for remarkable string musicians.
Sarah Chang – Sarah Chang is a gifted violinist born in 1980 in the United States to immigrants from South Korea. Chang is considered a child prodigy since she was accepted into Julliard at the age of five in 1986. During her school years, she attended Julliard on the weekends, and then once she graduated from high school in New Jersey, Chang enrolled in Julliard full-time. She studied with Dorothy DeLay and received training from a former student of DeLay’s named Hyo Kang. At the age of eight, Chang played with both the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
At the age of ten, she released her first album Debut. Her songs quickly worked their way to the top of the charts, and Chang has played several international concerts, including one in Pyongyang, North Korea. Chang has worked with several notable symphonies in the U.S. and the world and played at Carnegie Hall. Chang has always supported childhood musical education and kept her Korean roots.
Antonio Vivaldi – Not only is Vivaldi well-known for being an incredible composer of Baroque music, he was also a tremendous violinist. Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy in 1678. Throughout his life, Vivaldi suffered from poor health but that did not keep him from playing the violin or becoming ordained as a priest. Vivaldi’s nickname was il Prete Rosso, or the red priest, due to the color of his hair. Vivaldi began his career as a composer in opera music but wrote several violin concertos.
His most famous is the Four Seasons, a musical depiction of each of the four seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. The work was a revolution in music, because in it, Vivaldi makes use of the violin to depict the sounds of nature like dogs barking, the flowing of water, birds singing, thunderstorms winter fires, and buzzing mosquitoes. Even today, Vivaldi is still considered one of the most popular Baroque composers.
Isaac Stern – Isaac Stern, one of the most famous violinists of the twenty century, was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in Krzemieniec, Poland. Not long after, Stern and his family moved to San Francisco, California. Stern studied the violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and then under Louis Persinger. At his public debut in 1936 at the age of fifteen, Stern played with the San Francisco Symphony.
Over the years, Stern became famous for his recordings as well as his ability to find other great musical artists such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman. He worked on the musical scores for several films including playing the violin for the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Stern won several Grammy Awards for his music and played for several famous symphonies.
Niccolo Paganini – Regarded as the of the best violinist of all time, Paganini was born in Genoa, Italy in 1782. He had incredible talent as a violinist and made a name for himself by playing the most difficult violin pieces on just one string. Paganini was also a guitarist and composer, his most famous composition being Caprice Number 24.
That piece, more than any other, has become the foundation for many other composers. Paganini developed many modern violin techniques. He gained fame throughout Europe in his day by playing concerts on a tour of several of its biggest cities. His compositions have gone on to influence several other musical works.