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VC VOX POP | “Does Your Instrument Have a Pet Name?” [Q&A]

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …

“Does your instrument have a pet name?

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …


Australian Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Ray Chen:

“My violin has an official name The Joachim ... but I call it Tiger - because of its one piece tiger-striped back ..."

Canadian Violin Soloist Lara St. John:

“I used to call him Guad Baby ... but now I call him The Great One  .... I also have a Schiddle - a German factory violin I sometimes use for Klezmer shows ..."

Time For Three Violinist, VC Artist Charles Yang:

"I play on a Carl Becker violin  .... her varnish is a beautiful orange-gold so I call her Carrot ..."

VC Artist Cellist Kian Soltani:

“No ... as i don't really talk to it much ... but on plane tickets its name is Mr Cello Soltani  ..."

Curtis Institute Faculty Member, Violinist Ida Kavafian:

“Yep ... JB .... as he is a JB Guadagnini from 1751 ..."

Canadian VC Artist Violinist Nikki Chooi:

"On good days I call it Violin - if it is being temperamental, I call it Viola ...'"

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

“My current instrument, no, but my first instrument  ... a 1984 Peresson ... I named Caroline after a French-Canadian violinist I met on a youth orchestra tour ..."

German Violin Soloist David Garrett: 

“Even when I was a child I never gave my instrument a name ... for me it was always a piece of art ... something really special so I cannot give it a name ..."

Russian-American Violin Soloist Philippe Quint:

“The 1708 Antonio Stradivari I've been playing on for a few years has the name Ruby ... for its red intense varnish ..." 

British Cello Soloist Steven Isserlis:

“My instrument is called The Marquis de Corberon ... I do sometimes call him Marquis ... anything less formal would feel cheeky - he’s an aristocrat, not a pet! Maybe I’m his pet? ... "

Cellist Zuill Bailey:

"The Rosette ... there are only two cellos in existence with a carving of the Rosette under the fingerboard ... this 1693 Matteo Gofriller never leaves my side ..."

French Violinist Augustin Dumay:

"My violin is often called The Canary Bird ... Made in 1743/44 it was one of the last Guarnerius del Gesù ... and was played by two famous violinists, Leonid Kogan, and Wolfgang Schneiderhan ... "

Veteran New England Conservatory Cello Pedagogue, Laurence Lesser:

“I never gave it a name .... since it’s my elder by a lot (1622), if it so wished maybe it should have given me a name! ..."

Curtis Institute Violin Pedagogue, Aaron Rosand:

“No .... but I often refer to it as my voice ... "

Canadian Violin Soloist James Ehnes:

“Nope ... maybe I should be more creative?"

Italian-German Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Augustin Hadelich:

“I just refer my violin as The Violin ... Yes, it’s a monogamous relationship ..."

Korean-American Violin Soloist Sarah Chang:


American Soloist, VC Artist Violinist Stefan Jackiw:

”We have a love/hate relationship, and our pet names for each other reflect the fraught nature of our interaction ... ”

Milwaukee Symphony Concertmaster, Frank Almond:

“I call it different things, depending on how I’m sounding…"

Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, VC Artist Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley:

“I sometimes call my Bergonzi violin ... Carlo"

American Violin Soloist Anne Akiko Meyers:

“I name the ex-Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesu, V ....  V for Vieuxtemps ..."

VC Artist Violinist Benjamin Beilman:

"The Nippon Music Foundation recently loaned me the Engleman Stradivarius ... since I just received the instrument in December I'm not quite ready for a pet name yet ..."

VC Artist Violinist Bella Hristova:

“I call my violin Nicky sometimes  ... after Nicolo Amati ...  Nicky, it's time to practice ..."

VC Artist Violinist Paul Huang:

“... Sometimes I refer it as Henryk, because it was once owned by Wieniawski and Henryk was his first name ..."

VC Artist Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu:

"I call my wonderful Stradivarius violin Black Angel ... If I treat her well she will always sing like a beautiful Angel ... but if I'm in a bad mood and don't treat her with the best care, she does crazy things to me ... like wolf notes and a squeaking e string ... hence the Black ..."

VC Artist Violinist Igor Pikayzen:

“My violin doesn't have a name ... but I do always refer to it as her  ... in Russian, the word for violin "скрипка" is feminine ..."

VC Young Artist Violinist Kerson Leong:

”It doesn't officially have a pet name .... but some times when taken aback by its forceful sonority I've yelled, You beast!"

VC Young Artist Violinist William Hagen:

“I've actually never named any violin that I've played on ... naming it makes me feel like it is a pet ... "

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