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Fairytale ending

‘I want all contestants to understand that no decision we are about to announce will define you, ’ said Carl Nielsen International Competition president Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider as a prelude to revealing the 2019 results in Odense, Denmark. It was a statement typical of the healthy, collegiate environment of this year’s event. In some respects an incredibly tough and demanding ask of all participants, in others the contest was defined by its warm appreciation of music in every form, and of the works of Carl Nielsen in particular.

The Nielsen competition, launched in 1980, was designed as a vehicle for the composer’s music – much loved in his native Denmark, but less recognised and performed internationally. Active in the early 20th century and influenced by such late Romantics as Brahms and Grieg, Nielsen increasingly stretched the bounds of tonality, as evidenced in his concertos for violin, flute and clarinet. The contest’s three instrument sections each champion their corresponding concerto, and while previous iterations focused on a single instrument, the 2019 competition was the first to feature concurrent rounds for all three.

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About The Strad

We conclude our investigation of Stradivari’s moulds and examine some radical teaching methods. Vadim Gluzman, Philip Dukes and Matthew Barley are interviewed and there’s our annual Accessories supplement, featuring carbon fibre bows, wolf eliminators, mutes and lots more.

Other Articles in this Issue

The Strad
Since Antonio Stradivari’s death over 280 years ago
Letters, emails, online comments
Freelance cellists Victoria Beattieand Katy Whittlejoined The Strads editor Charlotte Smithand contributing editor Pauline Hardingto try out a range of carbon fibre bows - discovering great differences in weight, balance and playability
As tropical hardwoods become endangered, the likes of spruce, maple and boxwood are being scientifically modified to offer luthiers alternatives to rosewood and ebony. Tom Stewart explores the brave new world of sustainable fittings
For maximum thrills, its hard to beat an electric violin at full throttle. Christian Garricktest-drives some of the most innovative models and discovers if they sound as wild as they look
William Wiessmeyerof Wiessmeyer & Son describes the process of manufacturing his companys 3D-printed mutes for violins, violas and cellos, and discusses the evolution of their design
Wrestling with a wolf note? Kimon Daltasasks double bass specialists for solutions, and checks out a range of wolf eliminators
Just as developers have discovered numerous alternatives to wood products for stringed instruments, a small number of pioneers are seeking non-biological alternatives to horsehair for bows. But, say a number of experts, there is still some way to go before a comparable product can be found. Peter Somerford investigates
Inspired to make a cello after Rugeri, Quebec luthier Guillaume Schönau turned to 3D scanning and CNC machining to make a replica for reference. But do such tools have a future in luthiers’ workshops?
News and events from around the world this month
Can changes to an overlooked part of the cello anatomy help improve your sound?
The British cellist on memory, nationalism and his long journey - via a skiing accident - to technical confidence
As artists grow older they hear more in the music, says Orion Quartet violist Steven Tenenbom, who urges younger musicians to learn as much as they can from their mentors - and delve deeper into the music themselves
A record-breaking Gofriller and possibly the oldest British viola drew Kevin MacDonald’s attention in the March auctions
This year’s Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, which took place in March, succeeded not only as a joyous celebration of the composer’s music, but in bringing together exciting young players set to make their mark on the world stage, writes Charlotte Smith
Andrea Zanrè and Philip Ihle conclude their examination of Stradivari’s moulds, with the aid of micro-CT imaging by Rudolf Hopfner, by exploring whether the Cremonese master may have used more than the twelve forms that survive in the Museo del Violino
String tutors are always looking for ways to help students develop or refine their technique, and some use unconventional approaches. Judith Kogan spoke with three such teachers, all based in North America and whose unique ideas are achieving significant results
The Orchestre d’Auvergne recently launched its own digital-only label. The third release features soloist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair in a Haydn violin concerto alongside two string orchestra arrangements of Strauss and Bruckner, writes Gavin Dixon
At the beginning of the 20th century, as social attitudes towards women were changing, a small number of female violinists became internationally renowned. Linking the members of this intrepid group was the famous Czech string teacher Otakar Ševík, as Rosalind Ventrisdiscovers
Very often neglected, the chamfers of a bow head can give intimate clues as to a maker’s working style and personal characteristics. Anton Luand Dai-Ting Chungcompare and contrast bows from the Baroque era to the present day
Teaching & Playing
Teaching &Playing
Your monthly critical round-up of performances, recordings and publications
The Israeli violinist finds a sense of nostalgia for his childhood home of Riga, Latvia, in Pteris Vasks’ ‘Distant Light’ Violin Concerto