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74 MIN READ TIME

Musical EMISSARIES

The Shanghai Quartet – violinists Weigang Li and Yi-Wen Jiang, violist Honggang Li and cellist Nicholas Tzavaras – performs at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China as part of its 35th anniversary Beethoven tour

‘When we formed the Shanghai Quartet in 1983 chamber music in China was almost non-existent’, says the ensemble’s first violinist Weigang Li. ‘Western music had been introduced to the country in the 1920s and 30s, and the first generation of classical musicians included my grandfather, a violinist, who played in a quartet with Yo-Yo Ma’s father (also a violinist) before the latter moved to Paris.

But most Chinese musicians, even by the 1980s, simply weren’t aware of the scope and depth of this fantastic repertoire.’ Li is speaking to me at the 2018 Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, where he is serving as a jury member. His fellow quartet members are here too, providing the professional element for the chamber music round.

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About The Strad

The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary and we hand on some yoga tips for string players. There’s an in-depth look at Stradivari’s working methods and Shostakovich’s violin works. Plus Maxim Rysanov’s Life Lessons and Rivka golani’s Sentimental Work

Other Articles in this Issue


The Strad
The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary
(Making Matters, page 70) trained in violin making
Letters, emails, online comments
FRONT
News and events from around the world this month
A metronome that aims to prepare musicians for the
The Ukrainian violist on long pedagogical relationships and the surprises of concert life
Despite the large number of young and talented British string players, few seem to make an impact as leading soloists on the world stage. Charlotte Gardner explores the reasons for this phenomenon
Stradfest, The Strad’s first live event for budding musicians, tackled a range of issues connected to building an interesting career - and brought together a wide variety of young and enthusiastic string players, writes Charlotte Smith
FEATURES
The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary during the 2018–19 season by performing eight complete Beethoven cycles around the world. The players speak to Charlotte Smith about forming at a time when Western chamber music was barely understood in their native China, and about promoting the art form to Chinese audiences and students today
Twelve violin moulds from Antonio Stradivari’s workshop still survive, but how do they correspond to the master’s oeuvre? In the first of two articles, Philip Ihle and Andrea Zanrè present the results of an exhaustive survey to match forms to finished instruments
Fifty years ago David Oistrakh premiered Shostakovich’s Violin Sonata, written for the violinist’s 60th birthday. Only two further works by Shostakovich for solo violinist survive: the concertos, both for Oistrakh. Andrew Morris examines all three pieces, uncovering their interpretative challenges in conversation with Gidon Kremer, Julia Fischer and Vadim Gluzman
Trio con Brio Copenhagen is marking its 20th anniversary by recording the complete Beethoven piano trios. Andrew Mellor attends a session for the group’s third volume, including the monumental ‘Archduke’
Identifying the varnish recipes of the early makers has been a long-held dream among researchers. Now, a team at the Arvedi Laboratory of Non-Invasive Diagnostics, headed by Marco Malagodi, has used a new form of micro-CT scanning to delve further into an instrument’s coatings than ever before
There is a close connection between yogic principles and string playing technique, says cellist Ruth Phillips, who illustrates this with postures chosen in collaboration with her colleague Jane Fenton, and reveals how both Pablo Casals and yoga guru Vanda Scaravelli have informed her musical ideas
REGULARS
Paolo De Barbieri was born in 1889 in Genoa. In 1902
A methodical way of completing this elegant but delicate part of the making process
A peek into lutherie workshops around the world
Eric Benning recalls how, with the help of the late William Watson, he identified a long-lost instrument case from the Hill workshop that exemplifies the immaculate workmanship of a bygone age
Philippe Graffin explores how to create an orchestra of abstract colours and characters in the first movement of the French composer’s last chamber work
The art of using finger, wrist and biceps to create a bel canto effect integral to our sound
Your monthly critical round-up of performances, recordings and publications
What sets a virtuoso player apart from an amateur, asks James A.
Stradivari’s moulds -part two Andrea Zanrè and Philip
As well as giving the first performance of Michael Colgrass’s Chaconne, the
DEGREES 2019-20
Welcome to Degrees 2019-20 -your international guide
Questions to help you find the right course and to prepare you for life as a student
Find out where you can study with some of the string world’s most in-demand pedagogues
COURSE LISTINGS
Post-baccalaureate Diploma, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Master of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki
Bachelor of Music, New Zealand School of Music (NZSM), Wellington
Bachelor of Arts, music, City, University of London
Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland