Funny Fiddlers

Violinists often get a bad rap. We tend to be seen as snobby, elitist narcissists who just want to show off and be the best. And yes, to a degree that is true. But there are some funny ones that walk amongst us breathing some life and laughter into this field, and they deserve some praise and attention. 

Sometimes we all need to be reminded that this is fun! We do it because we like it! We get so distracted by all of the work, the practice, the competition, and the high frequencies that it can be so easy to take life a little too seriously. I watch a few of these periodically to keep my spirits up and because laughter is the best medicine - right? A chuckle a day keeps the some-sort-of-specialist-psychologist-doctor at bay. When stakes get high - the impending doom of an audition, or a high pressure performance looms - take a few moments to smile and remember why you started playing violin to begin with. Just because you're the most serious doesn't mean you're the best. Remember to keep it light. All of these musicians are top notch! No joke! They most likely would be incredibly successful as 'boring, serious musicians' but have chosen to highlight their lighter side. What a relief!

Igudesman and Joo

This violin/piano duo were the original musical comedy couple for me. I was first introduced to their work during my undergrad while preparing for my junior recital. My friend showed them to me when I was really fretting about my preparation and these guys made me laugh until I cried. I would go to the library on my practice breaks and watch a video or 2 before returning to work, instantly in a better mood. They tour the world and perform with some of the biggest names in classical music. They garner praise for their playing, comedy, and ability to poke at classical music tropes that we are constantly trying to memorize in school. I would pay big bucks to see them live. this is a collection of their videos.

Here are a few classics that I have always loved and enjoyed from way back when.

Ray Chen

Ray Chen has earned the right to be a serious, snobby violinist - the winner of both the Queen Elizabeth AND Menuhin competitions is no easy task. Recently he has actually acted as a competition judge for the Queen Elizabeth meaning he is a highly regarded, truly respected musician. He tours constantly as a soloist and recitalist but always seems to make time for an amusing Instagram photo, Facebook post or (wherever the cool kids are posting them) video. I don't know how he does it but his quick wit is always in tact no matter what sort of crazy pressure he is under. He even makes fun of himself and gets other famous violinists - those who are perhaps not typically thought to be hilarious - in on the joke. The following are a few of my favorites. I also really enjoyed the short instagram videos he made with British violinist Daniel Hope.

He updates his Facebook with all of his extra funny (and not so funny) posts regularly so if you're looking for a chuckle check it out.


Two Set Violin

These guys are hilarious! They don't appear to have a proper website and they don't post most of their videos to youtube but they are a pleasant addition to any Facebook feed. Everything from making fun of youth orchestra rehearsals and the secret fears (and fantasies) of all violinists to weird things teachers say in lessons, and epic concerto rap battles. They are not to be missed!


Salut Salon - seduced classically

These ladies pull off some crazy antics on their instruments. I first encountered their work about a year ago and was both impressed and amused. Inventive, silly, and actually really really difficult to pull off - especially in heels and a dress!


This isn't so much a specific musician, or group, but rather a very talented producer (or producers) who overdub famous musicians with terrible versions of the music. Perlman Shreds is the one I know best. They actually make the music sound how you might imagine it sounding based only on what it looks like - facial expressions, quirky technique, posture, breathing etc. 

Here's a great one of Pinchas Zukerman

And probably the most painful one of all - the performance at Barack Obama's inauguration. 

and just so you know what it actually sounded like, here is the actual performance