Music Performance

12 Modern Violinists To Follow To Inspire Your Violin Journey

Who comes to mind when asked to name the greatest violinists of all time? 

Chances are, names like Paganini, Vivaldi, and Bach are the first to pop up. And rightfully so. After all, these virtuosos have made the violin what it is today — an instrument that knows no bounds. 

But while the classics have their merits, there are plenty of modern violinists making waves in the music industry right now. Below, we’ll highlight some of these modern violin players who continually contribute to the landscape of music by showing that the violin isn't constrained to a single genre. 

1. Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell has an illustrious career that undoubtedly inspires many upcoming violinists. The Indiana-born virtuoso was a child prodigy who began playing the violin at age four and signed with his first label at 18. 

He's secured a global audience thanks to his captivating performances and ability to blend traditional techniques with innovative interpretations. This is evident from his interpretation of Tchaikovsky's "Violin Concerto in D," where he showcases his musical intuition and conveys emotion with every note. 

He has numerous notable achievements, including:

  • Grammy Award for his performance in the recording of Nicholas Maw's "Violin Concerto"
  • No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts for his 2013 album with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields 
  • Contribution to the 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post, which focused on his incognito performance in a D.C. metro station
  • Named Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, a renowned chamber orchestra

Bell helps transform violin education through his partnership with Trala. He contributes to our curriculum and shares inspiration with students through videos. Like us, he believes music education should be accessible to all. 

2. Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling shows the violin isn't confined to one genre by blending electronic, pop, and classical music. Like Bell, the California-born virtuoso was a child prodigy who began playing the violin at age five

In 2007, Stirling started releasing videos on her YouTube channel, putting her on the path to becoming a global sensation. She then competed on "America's Got Talent," where she wowed judges with her unique music blend and ability to dance when playing the violin. 

Over the years, Lindsey has amassed millions of followers on her YouTube channel and secured global viewership. The violinist has partnered with numerous brands, one of the most notable being Yamaha, a popular violin brand, to deliver a specially designed instrument for music enthusiasts. She inspires modern violin players by continuously showing that you don't have to fit into any box to be successful. 

3. Ray Chen

Let's be honest. Classical music isn't as popular today as it was in the era of Mozart and Beethoven. But it would be a great disservice for the music genre to die. 

And Ray Chen agrees. The Taiwanese-Australian violinist uses social media and digital platforms to showcase the beauty of classical music to the younger generation. 

Since he started playing the violin at age four, Chen has had numerous achievements, including:

  • Winning the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition 
  • Winning the Queen Elisabeth Competition
  • Performing with renowned orchestras like the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic
  • Being featured on the Forbes list of the 30 Most Influential Asians Under 30

Ray Chen has played with some of the world's most expensive and sought-after violins, like the 1721 Macmillan Stradivarius, the 1715 Joachim Stradivarius, and the 1714 Dolphin Stradivarius. 

4. Hilary Hahn

Born in Virginia, Hillary began playing the violin when she was only three years old. By age 10, she was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music, where she continued to refine her violin playing

Throughout her career, she's had numerous violin solos and performed with notable orchestras, like the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. 

Her critically acclaimed performances have won her many awards, including the 2002, 2008, and 2013 Grammy Awards. She continues to make waves in the world of violin music by expanding her repertoire to feature a wide range of compositions, from pieces by Bach and Pablo de Sarasate to works by Spanish composer Antón García Abril. Some of her most famous projects include:

  • In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores, an album that features 27 works from 27 artists 
  • Six Partitas for Solo Violin, pieces composed by Antón García Abril
  • Hilary Hahn's Violin Case, a social media initiative that allows her to connect with her fans
  • Hilary Hahn Plays Bach: Sonatas 1 & 2, Partita 1, an album that features Bach's works

5. Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman, an Israeli-American violinist, is one of the few classical musicians who've achieved superstar status. He had his first public concert at 10 and was admitted to the Juilliard School in New York at only 13, where he perfected his technique. Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Performing with major orchestras 
  • Working as a conductor for the Detroit Symphony and Westchester Philharmonic
  • Serving as a music adviser for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Receiving a Medal of Liberty from President Reagan
  • Receiving a National Medal of Arts from President Clinton
  • Being granted a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama
  • Winning 16 Grammy Awards throughout his career

Perlman has had these many achievements not only because of his remarkable technique and emotional depth but also because of his contribution to music education. He's been a teacher and mentor to many through the Perlman Music Program and other projects. 

6. Nicola Benedetti

Like many on this list, Nicola Benedetti came into the spotlight at an early age because of her violin prowess. She won "BBC Young Musician" in 2004 and has since been playing with major orchestras across the globe. 

While she is famous for her violin solos, Benedetti also enjoys chamber music and has performed with pianist Alexei Grynyuk and cellist Leonard Elschenbroich since 2008. 

The Scottish virtuoso has captured global audiences with her spirited presence and advocacy for classical music. She formed the Benedetti Foundation to inspire and support violin learners and enthusiasts and the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra to bring freelance musicians together. 

7. Akiko Suwanai

Also a child prodigy, Akiko Suwanai has become one of the most sought-after violinists of her time. The Japan-born virtuoso won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1990, becoming the competition's youngest winner in history.

Since then, she's had an illustrious career, performing as a soloist with orchestras like the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic. She has also collaborated with numerous artists, including renowned American cellist Yo-Yo Ma. 

Suwanai has a distinct playing style. She remains true to the character of her compositions and infuses an appealing warmth that captures audiences everywhere she plays. 

8. Janine Jensen

Janine Jensen is a Dutch violinist born into a musical family — her mother a singer, her father an organist, and her brother a cello player. Her violin prowess is undeniable as she uses the instrument to connect emotionally with her global fanbase. 

Janine's charismatic stage presence has seen her receive countless standing ovations in large concert halls globally. She has a diverse repertoire featuring a wide range of musical styles, from Baroque to contemporary. 

The virtuoso demonstrates proficiency in Baroque work by performing pieces from composers like Vivaldi and Bach while showing her commitment to modern classical music by working with modern composers. 

9. Mia Asano

Hailing from Denver, Mia Asano is a classically trained violinist who, like Stirling, continues to show the violin's versatility. She blends her classical training with alternative genres like pop, rock, jazz, and bluegrass, delivering remarkable performances. 

Mia Asano has performed with world-renowned artists like Ally the Piper, Avi Kaplan, and Dragonforce. She has also amassed huge followings on social media platforms like TikTok and performed on distinguished stages like Carnegie Hall, propelling her performances to global audiences. No one can stop this rising star and her electric violin

10. TwoSet Violin (Brett & Eddy)

TwoSet Violin is an Australian violin duo composed of Brett Yang and Eddy Chen, previous members of the Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. They're famous for using humor to make classical music relevant to the younger generation. 

Unlike typical violin music shows, theirs are interactive and more focused on relatability than perfection. This unique take on music has helped the duo amass millions of social media fans. They've also performed with world-class violinists like Janine Jansen, Hilary Hahn, and Ray Chen. 

11.  Anne-Sophie Mutter

Anne-Sophie Mutter is a German violinist with an illustrious career spanning decades. She's left an indelible mark in the violin world because of her versatility — she's known for traditional classical violin pieces from the Baroque era and contemporary works from modern composers. 

She has won numerous awards, such as:

  • The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
  • The European St. Ulrich Award
  • The Cristobal Gabarron Award 
  • The "Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes" (Gold Medal for Merits in the Fine Arts)
  • The Ruhr Piano Festival Prize

As a proponent of supporting present and future musical elites, Anne-Sophie Mutter has worked with numerous modern composers, including Thomas Adès, Jörg Widmann, John Williams, and Henri Dutilleux. 

12. Augustin Hadelich

German-Italian violinist Augustin Hadelich is the true definition of finding success in the face of adversity. Unlike many violinists on our list, he did not get formal violin training in his early years. Instead, he got irregular lessons from violinists who would pass by his hometown in Italy when he was growing up. 

In his teen years, Hadelich was injured in a fire that prevented him from continuing his lessons. However, he persevered and, after recovering, joined the Istituto Mascagni and, later, the Juilliard School. 

Hadelich has won numerous awards and played with major orchestras because of his expressive playing. His persuasive interpretations and soulful approach have earned him the nickname "The Musician's Musician." His repertoire includes traditional classical pieces from composers like Bartók and modern works from composers like Adès. 

Accelerate your violin-learning journey with a Trala instructor

Through their remarkable performances, these musical legends continue to show that the violin has no bounds. Like many before them, it's taken training and consistent practice for them to reach world-class ranks.

Interested in learning a Lindsey Stirling song? Trala can accelerate your learning journey by connecting you with expert teachers. 

We offer personalized lessons that teach everything from proper bow techniques to reading sheet music to finger placement. Rest assured, you'll find your perfect teacher regardless of your experience level or reasons for learning violin. 

Start with Trala today to join the 400,000 students already taking violin lessons with us!

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