February 2nd – the day that the violin world was doubly blessed with with two violin masters: Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) and Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987).
Both these violinists have influenced me in many ways in terms of how I want to look posture-wise when playing, the different the styles, expression and vibrato I want to use and general musicianship. Both violinists also transcribed many famous pieces for the violin to show off the instrument and what it could do.
My first encounter with Kreisler was at around the age of 14, when my previous, previous violin teacher Dawn Price told me about Kreisler and his Viennese style and recommended that I watch some Youtube videos and get my hands on the Kreisler Collection. My eyes and ears were immediately opened to world of luscious, rich tone that Kreisler physically made and wrote in his music. I particularly love the music of the romantic and late 19th/early 20th century era of violin virtuosity and ultimate expression and Kreisler is the man who made it happen for me! I immediately wanted to play Caprice Viennois Op.2 however I started with Schon Rosmarin then progressed onto Praeludium and Allegro and Sicilienne and Rigaudon.
Heifetz is a violinist that I’m still learning about and it was only when I started at the Purcell School that I really became acquainted with him. He has such a a distinctive sound and power that is what draw me to listen to him and watch Youtube videos. It was also at Purcell where we watched the film the Art of Violin Playing and the focus on Heifetz was what made me want to discover him more. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge George Gershwin fan so naturally I love his transcriptions of some of Gershwin’s most popular pieces i.e. An American in Paris; Five Selections from Porgy & Bess.”George Gershwin was a good friend of mine. We often played together. I asked him to write a concerto for the violin but he died before he had a chance to do it”