The answer to this question is… Who knows? The fact of the matter is that once you reach a high enough level of ability in anything it becomes more a matter of opinion. There are many factors to consider when asking who is the best violin player in the world, such as technical ability, repertoire, composition, emotion, etc.Â
One player who had all these abilities and more was Paganini who completely revolutionized violin playing. He invented and developed many new techniques and composed pieces that no one but himself could play. In his thirty year career he did more for the violin than any other artist ever has. Paganini also had a much larger repertoire than most musicians today. Violinists before the 20th century were required to learn works of other composers as well as write their own music something which today’s players do not do.
Two of the best violin players in the world today are Joshua Bell and Itzhak Perlman. Joshua Bell was born in the United States and is the son of a psychologist and therapist. His mother is Jewish and his father Christian.Â
Bell began taking violin lessons at the age of four; he studied first under Mimi Zwieg and then switched to renowned teacher Josef Gingold. By age fourteen he appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Today Bell plays a 300 year old Stradivarius which he bought for four million dollars. During his career he has sold million of albums and won numerous Grammy’s.Â
Itzhak Perlman was born is Tel Aviv and became interested in violin when he heard classical music on the radio. He studied at the academy of music in Tel Aviv before moving to the United States to study at the Juilliard School of music. Perlman has had an extensive recording career and as well as recording many classical works has been featured on many movie scores most notably the score for Schindler’s List by John Williams.
In recent years Perlman has also began to conduct and teach. He performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony along with Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill.
Eric B. Hill is an professional violin player and teacher with over 20 years experience.
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