Giora Schmidt’s New Violin

violinist Giora Schmidt
violinist Giora Schmidt

American-Israeli violinist Giora Schmidt challenges the assumption that old Italian violins are superior to modern instruments. In 2011, Schmidt purchased a violin, made in 2000, by Philadelphia-based luthier Hiroshi Iizuka. For about eight years before, he had played fine Italian instruments on loan: a 1753 Milan Guadagnini and a 1743 Guarneri del Gésu. Million dollar-plus price tags often make these violins inaccessible to performers, who rely on generous donors. Schmidt was one of ten violinists who participated in the much-publicized 2012 “blind test” study in which modern violins often beat their older counterparts.

In this fascinating interview with Laurie Niles, Giora Schmidt talks about the reasons he was drawn to a modern violin. In this clip, he plays the instrument and talks about the optimal setup of a violin (for non-violinists, type of strings, position of the sound post and bridge, and bow can alter the sound of the instrument greatly). He also talks about the ways the violin has changed and developed as it’s been played.

You can hear Giora Schmidt’s violin in action in this 2013 live performance of Robert Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in A minor at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall. Do you hear anything “fresh” and “new” in the sound that suggests when this violin was made? (We discussed this stormy and Romantic piece briefly in a past Listeners’ Club post).

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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