Simone Lamsma is a Dutch violinist and teacher born (in Leeuwarden, Netherlands – about 70 miles northeast of Amsterdam) on October 5, 1985. Opinions vary, of course, but I think it is no exaggeration to say she is among the top ten present-day violinists in the world. As has been the case with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, there are few music critics who have resisted the temptation to refer to her striking beauty in their reviews of her performances. From her photograph, you can see why. Lamsma’s recordings have already garnered huge praise. Her tours have included performances with chamber music ensembles around the world. Needless to say, Lamsma has performed with all of the top orchestras in the Netherlands, including the best orchestra in the world – the Royal Concertgebouw. She began her violin studies at age 5 at the Northern College of Music. Soon thereafter, she enrolled at the Sweelink Conservatory in Amsterdam and studied for a while with well-known violin pedagogue Davina van Wely. In 1997, at age 11, she enrolled at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London, England. She also studied at the Royal Academy of Music until 2004, the year she graduated, with Hu Kun in the same city. After that, she began studies with Maurice Hasson at the Royal Academy as well. In addition, Lamsma also participated in master classes with Yehudi Menuhin, Zakhar Bron, Herman Krebbers, Julian Rachlin, and Zvi Zeitlin, among others. By 2006, she had made her recording debut which immediately earned the award for Instrumental and Chamber Disc of the Month from Classic FM magazine. She was 21 years old. She was named an Associate at the Royal Academy of Music in 2011. From various sources I checked, it is evident Lamsma loves violin competitions and has won a number of them beginning at a very young age. Her tours have taken her to China, the U.S., South America, and, of course, throughout Europe. She frequently collaborates with conductor and former concert violinist Jaap van Zweden, one of her many champions. Her U.S. debut was in 2009 in Indianapolis with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Lamsma frequently collaborates with other major artists to perform chamber music. A typical review reads something like this: "… a terrific account of Beethoven's Violin Concerto [was heard] with Simone Lamsma as the sensational and glamorous soloist. Powerful in control, the young Dutch violinist drew silvery meticulousness and burnished tone out of the Stradivarius, but it was her sense of line and phrase that held her audience spellbound.” Another one: “Lamsma’s mix of high ardor and collegial spirit is something to be treasured.” And another: “Her sound is full of energy and refreshing.” Here is a YouTube video of one performance and here is another. Among other violins, she has played a (Ferdinand) Gagliano (1773), a Carlo Tononi (1709), and the Habeneck Strad from 1734, but her current violin is the Chanot Stradivarius (aka the Braga Stradivarius) of 1718 (or 1681 or 1726 – sources differ.) It has been loaned to her by an anonymous benefactor. The violin is reportedly protected by a (Dimitri) Musafia violin case, one of the best violin cases available. The Chanot Stradivarius is rather unique in that it has no corners and has been described as guitar-shaped although it is definitely not guitar-shaped. The Chanot was purchased by Joshua Bell in 1987 and subsequently sold. It is said to have been featured in the 1998 movie The Red Violin.
Photo is courtesy of Denis Ryan Kelly, Jr