Sunday, June 3, 2012

Celebrity Violinists

I have been meaning to put together a list of celebrity violinists for a while, but I have not done so for reasons I do not understand.  However, I have decided – instead - to now put together a list of violinists on this blog who, for reasons I also do not understand, have gotten very little attention – fewer than 70 (unique) views.  And, here it is, in reverse chronological order: Arthur Hartmann, Jacob Grun, Franz Kneisel, Eddie South, Tivadar Nachez, Karl Halir, Camilla Urso, Nahan Franko, Albert Sammons, Jose Lafitte, Daisy Kennedy, Isidore Cohen, Erick Friedman, Victoria Mullova, Joseph Hellmesberger, Robert Mann, Emmanuel Wirth, William Reed, Otto Joachim, Ion Voicu, Jan Kubelik, Willy Hess, Pierre Baillot, Jacques Thibaud, Antonio Bazzini, Roman Totenberg, Jeno Hubay, and Emile Sauret.  With time, perhaps these violinists may get a few more views and reach 100 views or so.  Few people seem even aware that these once-famous people were very influential musicians in their day.  Of course some profiles have gotten over 2,500 (unique) views but the reason eludes me.  Why some old names stick and others don’t is a mystery.  The ones who are contemporary but have very few views are Robert Mann and Victoria Mullova but the reason for that is that my Pronetoviolins blog post about them does not even show up in the first ten pages of Google.  I wonder if, fifty years from now, Gil Shaham or Itzhak Perlman or Hilary Hahn will still be remembered.  Not too long ago, I asked a violin student if she had heard a certain Heifetz recording.  She said she had never heard of Jascha Heifetz.  Well, there it is. 


  1. One violin's student knowledge or lack thereof is an insufficient basis on which to build any credible conclusion or premise.

    That said, who can say which performers will be remembered x years from now? Violinists who also composed like Kreisler and Ysaye are remembered better than those who didn't but it's still a crapshoot.

    Even great recordings aren't always enough. Grumiaux's solo Bach records were imo the best until Hilary Hahn came along. His recordings were even put on the Voyager Golden Record, but nowadays few people know who he is.

    Hilary is obviously a rare talent and works hard, but no one achieves her kind of superstar status without the right agency, connections and publicity machine. All of which have nothing to do with a star's historical legacy because in the end their work is the sole determinant of said legacy.

    1. Thank you for your comments. What Silvia Markovici said regarding popularity and success still makes a lot of sense.

  2. she had never heard of Heif... WHAT?!

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  4. I think that what you said about Heifetz is true on the bigger scale as well. As here in Poland we have seperate music schools for kids aged 7-18, with music theory, ear-training, music history etc., all students are supposed to know the great performers and to be SERIOUSLY prepared for their careers. And I'm the only kid who knows names like Heifetz, Oistrach, Grumiaux even Hahn or Mutter. And there are 50 violinists in my school.

    @bagler I think Hilary plays Bach much much worse than Grumiaux, because she styles it very romantically (for example, too much vibrato for my taste). But it's only my opinion, and she's still said to play Bach very well... :P