My Favourite Violinist

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, December 17, 2008 | Published in


Do you like Classical Music?

Yes? No?

When I first learn to play the piano at the age of 8, I was trained in classical music. I learnt about the music of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy and many more. Since then, I have always loved classical music.

Surprised? Me, a huge fan of Mariah Carey, love classical music? Well, why not? In fact, I love all types of music except heavy metal.

Midway, during my teenage years, I started to become interested in modern music or what you call popular music which include all kinds of music ranging from pop to jazz to hip hop. I got interested in playing the electone. That was the time I learnt about modern pop chords. It was really a good thing because I could then relate what I learnt in classical music and applied it to modern music.

The only problem was I was so fond of the electone I started to neglect my piano practice. That was something I really regret because I found that I could not play the piano as well ever since.

Later, in my late teens, I decided to take up violin. However, I found playing the violin one of the toughest things in the world! Maybe I did not practise enough, or probably I did not have a flair for it, but somehow I just could not play the violin very well. Because of that, I did not enjoy playing it although I love listening to songs performed by good violinists. To me, violin is such a tough instrument to master I really admire anyone who can play it well.

I'm sure you have heard of the name Vanessa-Mae, who became famous playing mostly pop songs on her violin. However, she is not my favourite violinist.


Instead, I am a fan of a classical violinist by the name of Sarah Chang. Ever heard of her?

Sarah Chang

Last month, I went to Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (Petronas Philharmonic Hall) in KLCC to watch Sarah Chang perform with our Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO). She played Bruch's Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor (Op.26).

For those of you not well versed in classical music, a violin concerto generally means a work or performance by a solo violinist and the orchestra. In this case, the solo violinist is Sarah Chang and the orchestra is our very own MPO.

I was blown away by her performance! She was really good! The concerto by Bruch was no easy feat, yet she played so effortlessly. The audiences loved her so much she was cheered back on stage at least four times to take her bows!

Born to Korean-American parents, Sarah was recognised as a child prodigy early on. She made her first record at the age of nine, possibly the youngest violinist ever to do that!

I searched YouTube for her performances and found this. She may have put on a little weight here (compared to the photo above) but what matters is she did a very good rendition of Jules Massenet's piece called "Meditation" from his opera Thais. Enjoy!!

(42) Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I read about Sarah's impressive achievements. Funny thing with those of us who learned to play the piano (including me)..somehow, we would yearn to try out other instruments like the violin or guitar. I gave up on learning the guitar coz my fingers were hurting from pressing the guitar strings!

    I am not very musically inclined but I love listening to good jazz. My favourites are Diana Krall, Michael Buble and Norah Jones.

    December 17, 2008 at 9:13 AM
  2. khengsiong said...

    You learned piano since the age of 8. No wonder you are so creative...

    I know very little about classical music. I listened to some but don't know their titles and composers.

    I came across a music in Kinokuniya bookstore, and then on a blog site. The blogger told me it was Canon in D.

    December 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM
  3. Mystery Man said...

    Ugh! you're a freaking prodigy, aren;t you? GRR!!!

    lol nothing wrong with liking everything from Mozart ot Mariah CArey. I'm the same way. I've never heard of either violinist, at least not that I know of, but I'm going to go look them up and see if I can find more about them.

    Good to know that there is someone else out there who doesn't just listen to the mindless synthetic stuiff that is pumped from the radio these days.

    December 17, 2008 at 1:27 PM
  4. Anonymous

    Vanessa-Mae is so popular, and she is hot! i know nothing much abt classical musci..hehe just a couple of pieces that i know of

    December 17, 2008 at 3:59 PM
  5. foongpc said...

    my bug life, haha! I also tried to learn the guitar when I started working, but gave up because too embarrassed to face the teacher every week. You know why? Cos I didn't practise most of the time due to busy work schedule, and also out of pure laziness!

    I also gave up on the violin even though I've completed my Grade 8, cos I never liked to play it in the first place. Didn't know how I managed to reach Grade 8! : )

    I love jazz music too! Yes, Diana Krall, Michael Buble and Norah Jones are excellent artists! : )

    December 17, 2008 at 5:35 PM
  6. foongpc said...

    khengsiong, well if you like classical music, you can always buy some CDs to listen to. Frequent listening will make you love classical music more and more, It sort of grows on you, unlike pop songs which get stale after repeated listening.

    Btw, Canon in D is a great piece of music. I enjoy playing it on the piano too : )

    December 17, 2008 at 5:39 PM
  7. foongpc said...

    mystery man, I'm far from being a prodigy! But I do think I have some talent. LOL!

    I actually like all types of music, even the mindless syntetic stuffs on radio you mentioned. Haha! But it's true nowadays the music you hear on radio are really forgettable. I enjoy listening to them but will get bored real fast with repeated listening! : )

    December 17, 2008 at 5:42 PM
  8. foongpc said...

    xin, funny I don't hear much of her nowadays. Had she retired or something? No new album and concerts? But she's good, that's without a doubt. If I can play the violin like her, I'll be very very happy! : )

    December 17, 2008 at 5:46 PM
  9. Anonymous

    I love Vannesa Mae, she got style! Mariah Carey, I like for being a very hardworking singer! LOL

    December 17, 2008 at 6:57 PM
  10. Lisa said...

    both their look .... look similar

    December 17, 2008 at 6:59 PM
  11. Anonymous

    I prefer songs - with lyrics, compared to instrumentals. Vanessa Mae...ok lah! Mariah Carey...eyew!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

    December 17, 2008 at 7:27 PM
  12. Monica said...

    I find listening to classical music wonderfully relaxing..!

    December 18, 2008 at 1:24 AM

    I had never heard of her but enjoyed this. I like all types of music including Mariah Carey!

    December 18, 2008 at 8:22 AM
  14. Anonymous

    Ehh.. no.. I am not that classic yet.. hahahaha..

    But I like to see leng nui la

    December 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM
  15. Anonymous

    I agree, violin is a hard instrument to learn. You are truly musically inclined Foong. I wonder what kind of job you have?

    December 18, 2008 at 9:57 AM
  16. foongpc said...

    peteformation, a lot of people like Vanessa-Mae for her style - maybe that's why she did well playing commercial music! She's good at promoting herself. Oh, yes, Mariah is a very hardworking artist and that's one reason why I'm a huge fan! : )

    lisa, really? I don't think so but maybe from a certain angle... : )

    suituapui, I know, you like those songs from the golden oldies yes? Haha!

    December 18, 2008 at 11:14 AM
  17. foongpc said...

    monica, yes it's relaxing although some classical songs are so slow and long winded I just fall asleep listening to them! Haha!

    health nut wannabee mom, we are both Mariah's fans, aren't we? : )

    keeyit, so is Sarah Chang consider leng nui or not? : )

    babette, oh yes! Violin is so difficult to master, but of course my violin teacher totally disagrees with me. He said piano is the more difficult instrument to learn. I guess to each his own.
    My profession? Let's just say I'm NOT a conductor of an established orchestra earning some USD40K a month! LOL! : )

    December 18, 2008 at 11:21 AM
  18. LifeRamblings said...

    i'm into all kinds of music too except heavy metal. and i love vannesa mae. her performances are simply mesmerising. i've not heard of sarah chang's work though.

    December 18, 2008 at 11:31 AM
  19. foongpc said...

    life ramblings, oh so you are like me! Also don't like heavy metal. Haha! Vanessa-Mae is famous for her pop music (ie. commercialised) whereas Sarah Chang plays only classical music.

    December 18, 2008 at 7:51 PM
  20. Mariuca said...

    Hey Foong, I've def heard of Vanessa but Sarah is new to me, thanks for the post! :):):)

    December 18, 2008 at 8:57 PM
  21. Mariuca said...

    I just love knowing u started playing piano at the age of 8, you rock! :)

    December 18, 2008 at 8:58 PM
  22. Johnny Ong said...

    have to check out sarah's album then

    December 18, 2008 at 9:22 PM
  23. foongpc said...

    mariuca, most people heard of Vanessa-Mae because she's in the mainstream/pop music scene. Sarah only plays classical music, so only those into classical music would know her. Yes, I started piano at the age of 8, but that's rather late compared to children nowadays who start at age of 3 or 4! : )

    johnny ong, yeah, check it out : )

    December 18, 2008 at 10:35 PM
  24. Faisal Admar said...

    i know vanessa may but not sarah. i just love piano so much even though i don't know how to play. richard clayderman is my all time hero! ballade pour adeline!

    December 18, 2008 at 11:45 PM
  25. Nick Phillips (15/03/1967 - 04/11/2022) said...

    I'm not into classical music and all that but for Vanessa Mae, I'll make the exception ... LOL!

    December 19, 2008 at 12:04 AM
  26. Anonymous

    Sarah was a child prodigy, glad that she grew up maturely as a great violinist, but not yet a maestro.

    As for Massenet's Meditation, the definitive choice (a personal one) would be the rendition by Nathan Milsten

    He was a complete opposite of Heifetz, even Primrose did a good take on his viola with this piece.


    December 19, 2008 at 12:22 AM
  27. foongpc said...

    faisal admar, well it's never too late to learn, although don't expect to play like Richard Clayderman! I used to like Richard's music but I think I prefer Jim Brickman and Kevin Kern now : )

    nick phillips, haha! That's because Vanessa-Mae play mostly pop music, and she's got style, right?

    anonymous, thanks for your info. I do know about Nathan Milsten, and yes, that's an excellent performance of Massenet's Meditation, but I am sharing about Sarah Chang and just want to show one of her performances : )

    December 19, 2008 at 1:13 AM
  28. Unknown said...

    she is quite something heh. i wonder what happened to vanessa now.

    btw these violinists make it look so cool playing the violin! :)

    December 19, 2008 at 7:49 AM
  29. foongpc said...

    quachee, yeah don't know what happen to Vanessa now - no more news of her. Maybe she already retired and married? : )

    Yeah, they look cool don't they? But to me, playing the violin is not cool at all - it's so tough and challenging!

    December 19, 2008 at 11:04 PM
  30. Monica said...

    haha..those slow and long winded songs are not my cup of tea too! ;-)

    December 20, 2008 at 3:54 AM
  31. Anonymous

    i like playing musical instruments but i'm never good in them like violin and horn. but i would really love to take it up again.

    r u still practising the violin??

    December 20, 2008 at 10:41 AM
  32. levian said...

    i love all types of music including heavy metal. :p as for classical musics, sometimes i still listen to them. but unlike you, i had started to enjoy classical only recent years. back then, classical equals to stress for me. :p

    December 20, 2008 at 11:49 AM
  33. Tekkaus said...

    Never heard of your favourite violinist before. But from the video she really kick ass! are really good with music huh! It's phantom of the opera considered classical? :D

    December 22, 2008 at 5:05 AM
  34. foongpc said...

    monica, yeah. Puts you to sleep, right? : )

    renaye, I no longer practise the violin cos firstly, I don't have the time for it. Secondly, I don't enjoy playing it since I'm no good at it. Really a tough instrument to master. Playing the piano is 10 times better! LOL

    levian, why would classical equals to stress? Maybe you are forced to learn the piano or something? Well, it's never good to be forced to do something we don't like. Sometimes when we relax and open up our minds, we can hear the beauty in classical music! I have as yet still not learn how to appreciate heavy metal music! : )

    tekkaus, yeah I love music - it's my life! Phantom Of the Opera is not considered classical music : )

    December 22, 2008 at 5:10 PM
  35. Anonymous

    The 2 ladies you mentioned are great!Both have their own style.

    I like Joshua Bell too!

    December 25, 2008 at 5:48 PM
  36. foongpc said...

    momo, thanks for dropping by! Joshua Bell - yes he's another excellent violinist! : )

    December 26, 2008 at 7:34 PM
  37. Cassie the Missy said...

    hi.. i know i'm super late for a comment (1 year late..=.=") but when i read your post, i can't help commenting!coz i LOVEEE classical music very much as well and play the piano and violin as well.. similarly, my violin skills are terrible.. really terrible.. but u are better coz u manage to pass the Gr8.. me still struggling in Gr8.. lol.. but i still enjoy playing the violin although i don practise much.. my fault.. haha..

    i still remember my 1st violin teacher say to me at the beginning of my 1st violin lesson, she say

    you will learn to enjoy the violin more than the piano once you learn it. violin is really really different from piano and it is very enjoyable to play.

    i still remember her words but sometimes i just can't realise her theory. haha.. at times, i just wan to let go of the violin and just concentrate on the piano.. but i know i will regret... lol..

    i'm really indecisive! anyway, i admire you coz you are able to decide for yourself what is best for u.


    December 10, 2009 at 12:02 PM
  38. foongpc said...

    cassie the missy, haha it's better to be late than never! Anyway, appreciate your comments here. I read all comments even if they are more than 1 year old! : )

    Oh! So you play both the piano and violin! Maybe we can do a duet someday - you on the violin and me on the piano. Haha!

    I love classical music too, but I love all other types of music as well except heavy metal - you can say I'm eclectic. Haha!

    I don't quite agree with your violin teacher cos I've tried hard to like the violin but I just simply can't play it well! OK, maybe it's lack of practice, but I still prefer the piano! Of course, good violinists will beg to differ. LOL!

    My advise to you is to give your best shot at the violin, and if you still find you have no flair for it, then focus on your piano instead : )

    December 13, 2009 at 11:05 AM
  39. pons macaslintal

    Is there a chance for Sarah Chang performing in the Philippines

    December 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM
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