1982? Image of Joseph Gingold by Wil Counts.

Josef Gingold on Violin Playing and Teaching

Recently, I found a few interesting links relating to Josef Gingold, the legendary violinist and teacher who died in 1995. If you’re not familiar with Gingold’s legacy, this short video offers insights into his life, distinguished career and great humanity.

Having studied with the nineteenth century Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye, Gingold was one of the last links to an elegant earlier style of violin playing. Here is an excerpt from his 1976 recording Josef Gingold Plays Fritz Kreisler, featuring Kreisler’s Aucassin et Nicolette. It showcases his golden tone and the warmth of his playing:

No matter what you do, always con amore, always with love. You never play dutifully, you play beautifully.

Gingold has many interesting things to say in this interview, conducted in the last years of his life by Kim Markl. He talks about the importance of constantly learning and changing throughout life. Despite his age, he exudes a love of the violin and a joy of discovery that suggests an amazing youthful vitality. He discusses the way styles of violin playing have changed over time, demonstrating in the style of Ysaye. He believes that the most fundamental aspect of good tone production is good intonation, which allows rich overtones to ring. When asked about teaching, Gingold stresses the importance of a student’s first teacher in establishing the correct foundation. He says that a good teacher must have patience and must recognize that each student is unique.

It’s also fascinating to hear Gingold’s thoughts on violinists of the past. In this episode of Music for the Fingerboard Gingold takes us through recordings of significant violinists of the past including Joachim, Sarasate, Auer, Kreisler, Huberman, Ysaye and Heifetz. Students of Gingold, such as Joshua Bell say that listening to recordings and studying the way legendary violinists played was an important part of their lessons with Gingold. Indeed, it’s important for all violinists to know the playing of the great violinists of the past. (Here are Parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Music for the Fingerboard).

Here is a recording of Josef Gingold playing Henryk Wieniawski’s Capriccio Valse. Wieniawski was a Polish violinist and composer who lived from 1835-1880:

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3 Responses to Josef Gingold on Violin Playing and Teaching

  1. Anonymous June 23, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Would you like a copy of Gingold playing the Brahms Violin Concerto? If yes contact me at violinland@talktalk.net

  2. Anonymous September 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Hi Timothy,

    Great features on Joseph Gingold. May I invite you to take a look at my violin teachers Web site,

    Herbert Whone A Life in Art. Herbert Whone was my teacher from 1975 until he died and he was a most fascinating

    person and artist, in every sense of the word?

    I am a 2nd violin player in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic since 1981.

    Do let me know what you think of Herbert Whones website.

    Regards,

    Jim. Hutton

    • Timothy Judd September 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      Thank you for sharing the link, Jim. Gingold’s legacy is a great reminder of the important bond between teacher and student.

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