Who is your favourite violinist and why?

I am falling in love with different female violinists all over again. First, there was Hillary Harn, then, this forum directed me to Viktoria Mullova, and then I experimented with Nicola Benedetti and now Anne-Sophia Mutter.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz.

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Arthur Grumiaux was a brilliant soloist in the great concertos, but also a wonderful chamber musician in the trio and the quintet which he led: their Mozart String Quintets are astonishingly deep and brilliant music making.

He was fortunate to record for Philips, when they were amongst the best classical labels for natural sounding recordings.


Not classical but more folk, Duncan Chisholm is the man for me, brilliant player

I think any discussion about best violinists should have Jascha Heifetz on the shortlist. Some of his recordings are just sublime


Kyung-Wha Chung
Susanna Yoko Henkel

I agree with you on Heifetz, but RCA weren’t up to making recordings of the best quality, so Heifetz can be made to sound rather strident.

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From recordings alone I’ve a great love for Nathan Milstein. From performers I’ve seen live, I’d go with Viktoria Mullova, the combination of great technique, intelligence and sheer musicality at the service of the music never fails to give me joy.

Edited to add that in the folk world it’s Dave Swarbrick for me. It’d be hard to find an English fiddler who hasn’t been influenced by his style, whether in his work in the ‘60s during the folk revival, or his work with Fairport Convention inventing English folk-rock as we known it. His technique, musicality, elan and personality made him compelling in stage whether acoustic in a duo with Simon Nicol or Martin Carthy, folk string quartet with Whippersnapper or with the electric instruments of Fairport. RIP Swarb.


I was listening to Hilary Hahn - which is what her name is - earlier today. I really like her playing. My other favourites are Alina Ibragimova and Rachel Podger. Try also John Holloway, who is quite brilliant and recorded a number of excellent albums on ECM.

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All of the above, to which I would add Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman in classical repertoire. I also enjoy James Ehnes’ playing in those recordings I’ve heard of his. And, particularly for English music, Tasmin Little, the violinist I’ve heard most live.

Outside Classical it has to be Martin Hayes.



I believe that Tasmin Little has announced that she will no longer give public performances. I don’t know why.

I know most of the older generation of violinists mentioned above by reputation, and I have an example of most in my collection, but my introduction to classical violin was delivered by Pinkas Zukerman, and I remain fond of his style. However, now I prefer the Grumiaux interpretation of Bach’s concertos. My favourite violin concerto is the Sibelius and I prefer Leonidas Kavakos’s rendition, which is very atmospheric.

In the folk world, I can not decide between Martin Hayes and Dave Swarbrick, but if pressed I would plump for Swarb because of his energy when performing. In this vein I should mention klezmer; I came across this Genre before Nigel Kennedy delivered his collaboration with Kroke, but for me the most enjoyable of modern recordings is by Itzhak Perlman (In the fiddler’s house).


“I’ve decided it’s time to find a little more space in my life for my many other interests” according to Little herself. Disappointing, perhaps, but Janet Baker’s decision to retire earlier than many would have liked meant her reputation was never tarnished by failing powers as she aged.


Janet Baker must have been much older when she retired.

I’ve been enjoying Alina Ibragimova. Particularly her recent version of the Paganini Caprices recorded during lockdown.


Have been enjoying this.

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Baker finally retired at 56. Little is 58, I believe.


Thank you. My mistake!

Unsurpassed. He keeps the tension up during entire concertos whilst others are often great in certain passages only.

So many wonderful violinists these days. To those mentioned above, I would add Isabelle Faust, Renaud Capuçon - and I’m sure there are many others out there.

Mark O’Connor.

He has a very recognisable and pleasing style.

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