Every musician, no matter what their level, has other musicians that they are inspired by. In the world of the violin, there are famous violinists going back to the 15th century who have created masterpieces that are still influencing musicians and continue to contribute to the history of the violin to this day.
But, don’t discount some of the modern violinists, who are influencing a whole new generation of young people to take up the violin. Today, we are going to take a look at some of the world’s most famous violinists.
Drawing Inspiration From Famous Violin Players
Born in 1908, David Oistrakh didn’t have a long life. Dying in 1974, he definitely left a legacy that is going to live on for generations to come. This Russian violinist was known for recordings and recitals of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto, along with many classic pieces from Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven.
Many other famous violinists, who were also his friends, dedicated works to him, and works that he himself premiered. His favorite was always Tchaikovsky’s Concerto, and many feel that his was, and is, the best recording of this famous piece.
Here is a musician who saw the recording age coming to life. Fritz Kreisler lived from 1875 until 1962, and was known for his polite and charming performances that were perfect technically, although he would add a bit of his own flair now and again.
Kreisler overcame many obstacles throughout his life, including a fractured skull resulting in a week-long coma after being hit by a car in 1941. Not long before his death in 1962, he was again struck by a vehicle, leaving him deaf and blind. His most popular and influential piece was his cadenza for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D.
Giuseppe Tartini went against the wishes of his parents, who wanted him to become a friar, and made his mark in the music world. He also studied law at the University of Padua, and from there led a rather interesting life.
Marrying a commoner of lower class, Elisabetta Premazone, who was also the mistress of Cardinal Giorgio Cornaro, he found himself needing to flee out of the fear of excommunication or death after being accused of “stealing” her. He went to the monastery of St. Francis of Assisi, where he studied the violin and discovered his true talent. He was famous for his use of trills, with his most famous work being the Devil’s Trill Sonata for solo violin.
Known as the “Dancing Violinist” and “The Hip Hop Violinist,” Lindsey Stirling first appeared to the world on America’s Got Talent in 2010. It didn’t take long for her to become known as one of the finest talents in the world of violin today, and she has more than two million YouTube subscribers, not to mention more than 100,000 sales with her self-titled album.
Stirling appeals to a younger generation of music enthusiasts, creating her own versions of today’s biggest hits. She also records her own compositions, which are a combination of electronic and dubstep, and her first album spent many weeks at number one on the iTunes Electronic Charts in 2012.
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Born in 1653, Arcangelo Corelli is considered to be one of the most influential violinists of all time, and most of today’s violinists can trace their training to him, including fingering techniques, bowing form, and even posture.
Corelli was famous as a performer in Western Europe, and he had some interesting prejudices when it came to playing, including a dislike of extremely high notes, which he thought had a screeching sound. Most of his own compositions were written to be played at D or below on the highest string.
Younger than Corelli by 25 years, Antonio Vivaldi would later prove to be his rival. His music because nearly obsolete after his death, but was revived by Alfred Casella and Fritz Kreisler, to the point where Vivaldi is once again considered to be among the top three composers in history, alongside Bach and Handel.
Priest, Educator, and Composer Antonio Vivaldi was known for his incomparable technical precision, and he was able to create images with his music. For instance, in Four Seasons, he creates the sounds of birds singing, storms, and even frozen lakes.
Frank Peter Zimmermann
Frank Peter Zimmermann began his solo career in 1983, and would soon be known for his technique, along with a sound that was pure and strong. He has performed some of the most famous concertos for EMI, and has also dabbled in contemporary music.
This artist has premiered works by such composers as Brett Dean and Matthias Pintscher, and now has an affinity for chamber music, having put together the Trio Zimmermann with cellist Christian Poltera and violist Antoine Tamestit. In 2013, the trio one a BBC Music Magazine Chamber Award.
Born in 1919, Ginette Neveu suffered a tragic death as a result of a plane crash at the young age of 30. But, in her 30 years on this planet, she left an incredible mark on the world of music. Some of her most popular pieces, Chausson’s Poeme and the Sibelius Violin Concerto show the intensity in her work.
Debuting to the world at the tender age of seven, Ginette would go on to win first place at the Wieniawski Competition, and then began touring the world. Neveu premiered Poulenc’s Violin Sonata to the world, playing this and other pieces with an unrivalled intensity.
Every Famous Violinist has a Beginning
This is just a small handful of the most famous violinists throughout history.
When people think about violin music, it is performers from centuries past that first come to mind. But, there have been a number of modern violinists who have made a definitive mark in the world of music, and have definitely left their own legacy. Incredibly famous violin players such as Itzhak Perlman, Niccolò Paganini, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Yehudi Menuhin, Jascha Heifetz, Sarah Chang, plus many, many more.
From the classics to new and popular pieces, these composers have created masterpieces that will always stand the test of time, and be influential to new violinists and generations of musicians to come.