My name is Augustin Hadelich. I was born in Italy to German parents and started learning the violin at age 5. 15 years ago, I moved to New York City to study at Juilliard and started my concert career after that. I now travel around the world as a violinist and am on the road most of the time. This week, I'm in Boston, where I'm performing Beethoven's violin concerto with the Boston Symphony. Ask me anything!


My website

Instagram (proof is in the stories)


Edit 1: proof

Comments: 863 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

Kitsparz333 karma

As a freshman studying violin performance, I have an enormous amount of work ahead of me to develop the sound, musicianship and artistry that resonates with me. What's your greatest advice for developing these skills throughout the next several years of my schooling and the decades afterwards?

AugustinHadelichAMA389 karma

When I was growing up, my ideal of sound was always vocal, so I liked violinists whose tones were "singing", and spent a lot of time working on my vibrato and right hand sound production to make the tone develop like a voice. This is a process that never stops - I keep trying to understand the violin better, and the progress is very slow and gradual, but adds up over time, so many aspects of my technique are now different than they were 10 years ago.
Musicianship is a separate story - I think the musicians I played with and listened to were the biggest influence, and in recent years, conductors have also taught me a lot, since they approach scores more analytically and in a different way (without being distracted by thinking about playing an instrument)

paoerfuuul291 karma

Have you ever had a broken string during a performance? If so, how did you deal with it?

AugustinHadelichAMA739 karma

It has happened a few times to me. In a recital or chamber music performance, I would just go backstage and put on a new string and come back. (I usually keep a set of old strings in my case that I can use for this, so they won't go out of tune much -- they just need to last for that one performance)
With orchestra, it's not great to let the whole orchestra and large audience wait, so it's traditional to take the concertmaster's violin (who takes the violin from the person next to him/her).
In 2011 I was performing outdoors with the New York Philharmonic in Vail, Colorado when I broke an E string, and finished on the violin of Sheryl Staples, who plays on a Guarneri Del Gesù. It was really wonderful to play on. Of course, it can happen that it's a pretty strange violin and it could be quite uncomfortable. After about 5 minutes, somebody in the orchestra will have put a new E string on my violin, so I can take it back. (that too can feel slightly weird, because it might be a different brand of E string - but at least the rest of the violin will feel familiar)

mrstabbeypants222 karma

Hi! Do you bring your instrument on with you or do you check it in the baggage compartment? What do people with large instruments do?

AugustinHadelichAMA402 karma

I always bring it with me on the plane, and put it in the overhead. I check the type of plane when I book a flight, you can tell how big it's going to be. If it's "mainline" (A319-A320-A321,B737 and bigger) then there will always be enough space as long as you board early enough. With regional jets, you really need to board early to make sure there is space on the aircraft, which sometimes you can buy as an add-on. (frequent flyer status also helps with early boarding)
In the US airlines are required by law to let you board with a violin or viola as long as there is space in the overhead (it's an FAA rule that went into effect about 5 years ago). In other countries, each airline has their own policy (RyanAir might make you buy an extra seat for it)

Cellists usually buy a separate ticket for their cello, which is expensive and complicated to do.

dinasaurtaco203 karma

Hi Augustin! I’m on the video crew at the BSO and was part of the team that shot and edited your concert clip Thursday night. Fantastic performance and I hope you’re enjoying Boston this weekend! A few questions:

  1. What’s your favorite concert hall and/or general venue you’ve performed in during your travels?

  2. Where is the most unusual place you’ve performed?

  3. I have a 1 year old son- how did your parents encourage you to continue playing the violin throughout your early years? What motivated you to keep at it when you could’ve been playing video games instead?

AugustinHadelichAMA284 karma

1 - I think Symphony Hall here in Boston is totally fabulous. I love seeing the statues that are watching over us as we play.
Of the old halls in the US, I love Orchestra Hall in Detroit particularly. There are also a lot of great new halls- the Kauffman Center in Kansas City is one of the best! I love Disney Hall as well.

2 - I once played a concert for animals at a veterinary college. I also once played a recital at an altitude of over 11,000 feet in a ski lodge near St. Moritz - afterwards, the whole audience skied down the mountain.

3 - I think 1 is a bit early to start playing, but at an early age, I was always hearing music in the house, because my brothers were playing. I think this was really important for me, since it made actually playing the violin much easier when I was five, since I could recognize the notes. Once I got more into the violin (it took a while, maybe 1-2 years), and got into the habit of playing one or two hours a day, It was fairly easy to keep up. (I went to a school in Italy though that finished before 1 PM so there was always plenty of time during the day)
I played a lot of video games as an adult and even today so they're not mutually exclusive :-)

dinasaurtaco53 karma

Thank you for your response! We haven’t started my son on any instruments yet. I’m hoping I can get him into the ukulele when his little hands are big enough :)

Follow up question! What video games do you play now?

AugustinHadelichAMA135 karma

Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild, which came out in 2017 :-)

Bach09161 karma

What is one piece that will get you emotional every time?

AugustinHadelichAMA222 karma

An die Musik by Schubert

AugustinHadelichAMA158 karma

Temporarily signing off to go to a concert!

AugustinHadelichAMA76 karma

Wow. I thought I would be finished typing in an hour, but this post received so many interesting questions and comments! I really appreciate everyones’ questions and time. I do have to sign off right now, but will answer a few more questions as I am able in the next few days.

rantwasp73 karma

How is your sleep? I heard that travelling and changing time zones can really do a number of the quality of sleep.

AugustinHadelichAMA107 karma

I'm lucky that I can usually sleep pretty well. I also don't drink coffee or alcohol which makes it easier to adjust to different time zones. Walking around outside when it's light can help.

4thOrderPDE70 karma

How much time do you spend on administration - booking and planning travels, arranging your schedule, dealing with payments and financial negotiations, etc?

AugustinHadelichAMA81 karma

Way too much. I would say the majority of my time and a lot more time than I spend playing.

sliceofpeach66 karma

What would be your best advice for young violinists to stay motivated?

What are some of your favourite pieces?

AugustinHadelichAMA122 karma

It's normal to not be motivated sometimes. The important thing is to rediscover reasons to enjoy playing. Sometimes hearing concerts or recordings can be inspiring, or playing chamber music with friends.
Nobody enjoys practicing, that is also normal :-)

I have a lot of favorites! I feel lucky that I (almost) never have to play a piece that I don't like.

Chris10099845 karma

I’m a junior studying violin performance and I was wondering if you could tell me how you would find time practice multiple pieces at once that your professor has given you? Also I’ve been told I have a good ear, but then other times I’ve been told to fix my intonation. Could you tell me what it means to you to have/learn good intonation?

AugustinHadelichAMA70 karma

In terms of learning the notes of those pieces, you can practice those pieces at the same time, but in order to immerse yourself into the style and character of each piece, I would focus on each one more intensely, including listening to recordings, listening to other pieces by the same composer, looking at the score.
It's very hard to be self-aware while you are playing and are in the heat of the moment, to hear your own intonation as though you were listening to yourself. It can be helpful to record yourself - you might notice intonation habits that you weren't aware of.

Dontbecruelbro40 karma

What's the oldest someone can start learning to play and still realistically become a great musician?

AugustinHadelichAMA85 karma

Most professional musicians start between 4-6, but occasionally I have met some that started later but are extremely accomplished. To become accomplished on the instrument or a great musician is another story- you become a great musician as an adult by thinking about and studying music, so I don't think there is an age limit.

AugustinHadelichAMA2 karma

Most professional musicians start at 4-6 years old, but I have met very accomplished musicians who started later. As for becoming accomplished at an instrument or great musician, I think that's a different story. People become musicians as adults through thinking about and studying music for years, so there is no age limit.

michaelquinlan39 karma

I hope this is appropriate; it doesn't seem to fit in with the other questions you are being asked but you say that you plan all of your own travels. How do you find a good hotel in the cities you stay at? What attributes do you look for? What suggestions might you have for someone else looking for a hotel in a strange city?

AugustinHadelichAMA42 karma

I often don't choose my own hotels, but when I do, I go by online reviews. Usually orchestras and presenters have recommendations.

AM34TML34 karma

Hi Augustin! I loved your concert and masterclass in Denver earlier in June. I’m a classical pianist so this question is more musician based. What kind of practice (slow, mental, etc) do you find helps you the most and is most efficient and why?

Also, how do you maintain such a vast repertoire in your hands and how would you suggest one build up their repertoire? A follow up of that is how much new music do you learn at any given time.


AugustinHadelichAMA76 karma

I think it is harder for pianists because you need to remember twice as many notes! I genuinely think it is a bit easier for violinists to have a big repertoire than pianists. One thing that helps me keep all these pieces memorized is a method where I play the violin part with the right hand on the piano, so I can't access my muscle memory. I learned this from a pianist who used the crazy method of reversing her hands (playing the part of the right hand with the left and the left with the right). If you can do that, you'll never get lost!

RedJayRioting29 karma

Hi Augustin! Recently at your Milwaukee performance, my girlfriend and I were able to get a quick selfie with you.(Linked here) My girlfriend is pretty shy when it comes to meeting performers she enjoys seeing, so I’ve taken it upon myself to push her out of her comfort zone on a couple occasions - once with the selfie, another time last year (you might or might not remember us). We were the fans asking to have you sign a cell phone case at another Milwaukee performance. Your wife was kind enough to take our picture while holding that signed case. (Linked here) What I’m trying to say is that your performances are wonderful, and I’m excited that my girlfriend has gotten the opportunity to meet her idol on a few occasions.

The question I have is as follows - What has been one of the most exciting places you’ve traveled to in your career? Will you also be performing there anytime soon so my girlfriend and I have excuse to travel and see you perform again?

AugustinHadelichAMA35 karma

My concerts have taken me to some cool places. This year, I was in Hawaii and Hong Kong for example, next year I'm going back to New Zealand, which is one of my favorite places. This summer I played at Grand Teton festival in Wyoming, which is also incredibly beautiful. I love Aspen too, where I've been playing every summer.
In March I'm going to Iceland for the first time, which I'm excited about!

CardboardSoyuz27 karma

Are things like a Stradivarius really that much better? Or is just kind of cool because they're old and famous?

AugustinHadelichAMA113 karma

A lot of old violins, when the wood has aged over centuries, have a sweet, mellow sound. Of the old 18th century Italian makers, Stradivari is one that stood out because of the consistency of his craftsmanship, the quality of his instruments and because of how they project in big halls. As people moved to playing in bigger and bigger halls in the 19th century, a lot of soloists started playing on Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù instruments because of the projection issue. Before this, they weren't necessarily considered to be the greatest instruments by everyone. There are really fantastic modern makers today, so once those have aged a bit, we might have a new Stradivarius!

Girl-Here27 karma

What are your tips for packing well? Do you have a set list of items (like a uniform of sorts) to make packing easy? What are items you cannot travel without?

AugustinHadelichAMA56 karma

I actually bring my own travel pillow, since hotels have really weird and uncomfortable ones sometimes!
I never completely unpack - when I arrive home and unpack, I right away pack for the next trip, even if that's a few days or a week away. This helps me not forget anything. (but I still do sometimes)

vanBeethovenLudwig25 karma

Augustin, I saw your winning final live at Indianapolis competition a few years ago (I was a classical violinist studying at IU). LOVED your Bartok performance!

So I have some nerdy violin questions for you:

Which scale system do you swear by?

What is your favorite Galamian rhythm (or bowing) for practicing scales / fast passages?

Favorite etude?

Any tips on interpretating new pieces? How do you approach interpretation in general?

Favorite old school violinist and favorite modern violinist?

You are Italian born but with a German heritage and German family name - which nationality do you feel closest to?

I'm teaching at a music school in the Middle East - who would I talk to if our school wanted to bring you to give our students a performance and a workshop?

AugustinHadelichAMA28 karma

I don't really swear by a particular scale system or etudes. They should be customized to the things that are the biggest problem in playing.

The nationality question has always been tricky for me. I am definitely German (that's my first language), but my home is Italy, but now I am also American, and New York City feels like home! Food-wise, I definitely lean towards Italy. :-)

It might depend on the travel schedule, but you can write to my management and ask!

hobbitfoot198724 karma

Hello! Basic question. What's your favorite place you've ever been and why?

AugustinHadelichAMA58 karma

It's very hard to pick! Last year I did a two-week tour of New Zealand, with six very fun concerts and a lot of sight-seeing and enjoying that beautiful country.
Maybe my favorite place is where I'm from, in Italy (south of Livorno)- I try to go back a few times a year.

Dannylinh191116 karma

I saw you playing Beethoven in Auckland, NZ with my teacher. You were wonderful, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because of how good you were! Please come back to NZ soon

AugustinHadelichAMA14 karma

I will be back next year and am looking forward to it!

antonbruckner22 karma

Hi Augustin,

I just wanted to say how much of a pleasure it is to play with you; not only because of your unparalleled musicianship but also your warm and approachable demeanor. I always take away something new about string playing when I work with you. If we had more time and you were not such a busy guy I would ask you to lend an ear for me whenever you are in town! Your Tchaikovsky from this April and Mozart 5 the previous year were such a joy to play. Wishing you all the best for the remainder of this year and next. I hope we can work together again sometime soon.

My question: How do you practice "performing" a new work compared to "practicing" that work for technical details? As in, how do you separate practicing for yourself, and practicing to perform for an audience? Or do you always play as if you are playing for an audience, even when you are alone?

-Zach, cellist from the East Texas Symphony Orchestra in Tyler.

AugustinHadelichAMA17 karma

Initially, I'll focus on learning the piece and thinking about details, but eventually as I prepare for a concert, I try as much as I can to pretend that I'm playing for the audience.

Tosh00722 karma

What do people that are on your level, and you in particular, want to improve about your playing? It seems to me that once you've reached a certain level, you can basically play anything.

What challenges are you facing?

AugustinHadelichAMA29 karma

The work never stops - when I was growing up I was told that if you don't keep trying to get better, you'll get worse. That is true because as you get older you keep having to relearn your technique. There is also always more repertoire to learn.

Modthryth22 karma

Most of the time you play standard rep with an unfamiliar orchestra. Doesn’t that get tiresome? A lot of the most interesting violin passages are within string quartets, but you never or rarely will get to play them! Have always wondered about this. Thanks for your time!

AugustinHadelichAMA41 karma

I love the string quartet repertoire, and part of me has always longed to play those pieces - late Beethoven quartets, Schubert quartets, Bartók quartets. But, having a string quartet is also a full-time job, because it takes years for quartets to develop a unified sound. I've had the chance at some festivals to play some of my favorite chamber music, including some quartets, and enjoyed it immensely.

I really love most of the pieces that I perform and never get sick of them (I'm also careful not to play them so many times in a row that I might get sick of them). Playing them with new orchestras and new conductors actually helps to keep them fresh.

rustysurfsa21 karma

What Vilolin do you use?

AugustinHadelichAMA64 karma

I play on a 1723 Stradivari violin on loan ("Kiesewetter" is the nickname of the violin, named after a violinist who played it in the early 1800s)

krazo19 karma

Have you been told you look like michael cera?

AugustinHadelichAMA12 karma

You're the first one!

Jacob1Plus18 karma

I have learned a great deal watching your performances, paying close attention to your bow arm. What are some things you had to keep in mind to achieve such a flowing and as natural as possible bow arm? Same could be said for the left hand if you have time to answer that too!

AugustinHadelichAMA36 karma

13 years ago, I was the one watching videos of other violinists and trying to figure out how to have a bow arm that makes sense! This is something that most violinists struggle with at some point and gradually it feels more and more normal when you find your technique. The things that I worked on had to do with eliminating unnecessary or disruptive motions for a fluid and simple motion and how to use the natural weight of the bow and arm and how that weight is transferred into the strings. It is very important to avoid tension in the left hand. I learned over the years to move the left-hand fingers less, leave them in place when they can stay in place in fast passages. I don't press down all the way- there are ways in which things can be more loose or relaxed.

smartnotheart18 karma

With all the traveling you do, how do you make time for family and friends?

AugustinHadelichAMA36 karma

I schedule it :-) Whenever I'm home, I get together with friends to play board games or hang out, or meet up for meals. And I'm quite careful to "save" free time for my family so I can spend as much as I can that way.

Vicky_istAHsSuperfan17 karma

Hi Maestro! Your Beethoven yesterday was amazing!! I just came up with three questions for you:D 1.Do you have any specific ways to develop your understanding and interpretation of a piece?

2.Do you analyze the harmonic progressions and hamonic changes for Bach partitas?

3.Do you have any tips for putting yourself into the “zone” as soon as you start performing a piece? (That is, not to get distracted from your performing environment other than your music.) Thank you!!!

AugustinHadelichAMA19 karma

Great questions. I do analyze harmonic progressions in Bach. They are the foundations of those pieces and what Bach himself started out with when he wrote them, so they are essential.

To get into the zone, you have to ignore your surroundings and somehow get drawn into the music. I do that by listening to the orchestra and sing along in my head.

TheLostSkellyton17 karma

Is there a challenge in adjusting to so many different orchestras and conductors as you perform in so many different places during the year? I listen to a radio program where lots of classical artists share their favourite pieces while telling stories (This Is My Music on CBC Radio 2), and a common story seems to be "and then I had one rehearsal with the orchestra before performance." Does this happen often, and is it a new challenge every time?

AugustinHadelichAMA37 karma

In general in the UK and the US, orchestras rehearse a bit less than in mainland Europe - but on the other hand, orchestra musicians tend to arrive at rehearsal very prepared in this country.
When rehearsing for a recital, it can work sometimes to have a first reading and work things out as you rehearse, in orchestra rehearsals it's essential to arrive with a clear idea of how I want to play the piece and a plan how to use the time. This becomes much easier with experience - I've often had the feeling of not having enough time or running out of time the first time I played a concerto with orchestra, but years later after performing it many times I'm not as worried about it because I know what to expect and how to use the time efficiently.

Aznick1216 karma

Have you heard of two set violin?

AugustinHadelichAMA17 karma

Yes, I like those guys and saw them when they came to New York last year!

deftonikus14 karma

Are people in your circle elitistic towards other genres of music? Do they recognize talent and skill of musicians in other genres like heavy metal, funk etc. or is it considered lower class musicianship? Tell the truth :)

AugustinHadelichAMA33 karma

I think most musicians in my generation will appreciate talent when they see it. As a classical musician, I am often frustrated by the lack of voice-leading and sense in harmonic progression in pop music because that is something I pay a lot of attention to, but I will appreciate other aspects like virtuosity, cool basslines and rhythms. For example, if I hear a really great Brazilian jazz guitarist, I'm wowed by what they can do! Classical musicians have all kinds of different tastes in music they listen to, so I can't speak for everyone.

myothercarisatardiss13 karma

which is your favorite piece to play? Have had the priviledge of watching you perform twice btw,big fan!

AugustinHadelichAMA20 karma

Whichever piece I am playing at the moment! It is kind of a cop-out answer, but it is true.

Hobbesssss12 karma

Where do you lean on the Russian bow arm - Franco Belgian scale? I've always found your right hand to be absolutely fascinating - the control you get at the tip of the bow is unreal.

Also, any advice for reducing left hand tension? (I'm an undergraduate violist, and saw you perform the Beethoven last night, Bravo!)

AugustinHadelichAMA20 karma

My bowhand is probably more Franco Belgian now than Russian, but these terms mean less today than they used to, because bow technique has normalized- people have much more similar bowholds now.

It's important not to press down too hard with your left hand. The faster you play, the less you need to press.

Bach0910 karma

Who is your violin role model?

AugustinHadelichAMA30 karma

From the time I was small, I listened to a lot of Oistrakh, and loved his sound and honest approach to playing music that never made the performance about himself.

foamzula9 karma

Are you a headphones kind of guy or speakers? What is your current rig for listing and enjoying music?

AugustinHadelichAMA12 karma

I do listen with headphones when I listen to my recordings (they're not that fancy), just to be able to hear all the details and small noises etc I always test the sound with a few different speakers during mastering, because I that most people listen to music with normal speakers (or even on their phones!), not HiFi rigs, so it needs to sound pretty good on every system.

violinnathan7 karma

Hello Maestro Hadelich,

I am currently finishing my studies for my bachelors and beginning to look at schools for my masters. As a student I am in a dilemma. For my next teacher I would like a teacher who can cultivate me as a musician. I am seeking a teacher who can show me a balance between the intent of the composer as well as finding my individualistic self within the rules and laws of musicality. Although my teachers are in my opinion fantastic technical teachers (I wont say their names for their privacy because they are renowned teachers at a renowned school), they care more about telling me how they like the music to be played, rather then cultivating the musician inside of me. A better way to explain it may be the saying "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." I feel like I am being given the fish instead of being taught how to fish. Especially when committing to a teacher for a masters I am seeking a teacher who can show me how to fish.

What advice can you give me? Am I being presumptuous? Are there any teachers who you could reccomend I look into?

Thanks, Nathan

AugustinHadelichAMA3 karma

You could try to play for different teachers at master classes, or ask for lessons with potential teachers you are considering, in order to see who you click with musically and who inspires you.
Looking back, I learnt the most from the teachers who were chamber musicians - like Joel Smirnoff, and growing up, Cristoph Poppen and Norbert Brainin - because they approached music from the musical rather than the technical side. Learning technique is so important too of course, but it sounds like you have been spending a lot of time working in this direction.

kms_lol7 karma

Did you ever play with the idea of becoming a concertmaster, maybe just for a few concerts? I'd imagine playing mostly the same big concertos can burn you out, and there is just so much symphonic repertoire out there.

AugustinHadelichAMA8 karma

There is so much good repertoire for violin - in fact as a violinist you don't really run out of repertoire. There are about 20-30 good concertos (if one is generous), and a ton of great duo repertoire and chamber music. And tons of new music to learn if one does get bored.
When I was in school I played in orchestra, and have some memorable memories of Mahler symphony no. 9, Brahms No. 2, Bruckner no. 4.

Brag_6 karma

Do you listen to non-classical music? If so which bands do you currently enjoy.

Many newer acts within the progressive genre are, in my opinion, doing a great job of utilizing the violin in both rock, metal and jazz, especially bands like Thank you scientist (their newest album is great. You should give it a listen during your next flight). Do you play any non-classical music yourself? And if so, what are the biggest differences between that and classical?

AugustinHadelichAMA5 karma

Thanks for the tip! I'll have to check them out.

DarthNero6 karma

How much does an individual make, traveling the world as a classical violinist? Genuine answer, for I never knew it was a full job and always thought people did it unpaid due to me being ignorant on it

rcheu5 karma

Not sure if he’ll answer this directly, but they tend to make quite a bit. This link has a list of how much concertmasters make (top symphonies pay over $500,000/year) and soloists tend to make even more than that.

Many soloists own their own Stradivarius violins, which are multimillion dollar instruments.

AugustinHadelichAMA11 karma

Actually, some concertmasters in the US earn more money than many soloists :-)
It is a very good income, but in my generation soloists are not able to afford a Stradivarius with the money we make -- this is mainly due to the prices of these instruments increasing in such an insane way in the past 30-40 years. There are a few exceptions of people who made it work, but most violinists under 50 who play on Stradivari or Del Gesù violins do not own their instruments - luckily, there are foundations and private owners who lend these instruments out. I've been very fortunate to have been able to play a Stradivari on loan for the past 9 years.

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AugustinHadelichAMA28 karma

Good bot!

papasmurf8266 karma

I was so blown away by your performance 10-11 years ago in Charlotte, NC that I ended up writing about you for one of my college admission essays. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions!

Let's pretend violins dont exist, what other instrument do you pick up and start to learn?

AugustinHadelichAMA7 karma

If I never started the violin, I might be a pianist - I played a lot of piano growing up and love the piano repertoire!

wimpyroy6 karma

What kind of shoes do you wear for performances? And casual shoes.

AugustinHadelichAMA9 karma

I like patent leather loafer shoes. Casually, especially when I travel, I love allbirds shoes, because they breathe well and are comfortable to wear on a long travel day.

CovertFuture6 karma

Omg, I saw your concert last night, and it was incredible. The Recuerdos de la Alhambra was really special to me since I was in Spain for a bit this summer and was listening to that piece when visiting Alhambra.

Anyways, concerning Beethoven’s violin concerto, can you talk about your experience with this piece. Everyone says it’s one that you can spend your entire life working on and growing with. I’ve been playing it for a few years now and I was wondering what are some of your breakthrough experiences with this piece?

Thanks for the concert

AugustinHadelichAMA10 karma

The Beethoven concerto is a piece I have been playing since I was 8 years old. When I was growing up, I heard the piece played very romantically, with large orchestra and extremely slow tempi. Violinists are tempted to choose a slow tempo and take additional time everywhere, in order to play out the passagework, as though it was melodic - when it actually often is ornamentation around the themes in the orchestra! If this was a piano concerto, the average performance would probably be 30% faster...

Over the years, I’ve played some slower performances, and some faster ones, but one that stands out in my mind was with Bernard Labadie (who brings a historical performance practice), who made it feel very new and fresh, and whose phrasing was incredibly beautiful.

Nowadays I try to keep in mind that the first movement should not feel already like a slow movement. If most of the first movement has a sense of vitality, then the slower introverted sections will be more special.

Icyjon19985 karma

I asked you this last night(phenomenal job btw). What do you think Ligeti Violin Concerto is about? I think it's a tribute to his brother who died during ww2? Thoughts?

AugustinHadelichAMA8 karma

I think that could make sense-- or at least it was an event that influenced him deeply and comes through in his music. I said yesterday that it's a long topic, because the concerto includes so many different elements. The first movement develops out of the open strings of the violin and their overtone scale, mixed with Hungarian folk tunes and rhythms. The second movement makes a lot of references to medieval music, and introduces the ocarinas. I find that the concerto takes a dark turn only later, during the fourth movement, which is full of desperation and pain at the end. Then, the fifth movement features these descending laments.

lhrmeonom5 karma

Hi Augustin, traveling around and playing with so many orchestras, how many rehearsals do you usually have for each performance? What do you discuss with the conductor prior to the rehearsals? Are there any characteristics that different orchestras fall under?(i.e. playing behind the beat). Thoroughly enjoyed your Beethoven concerto here in Seattle a while back. Went to all three performances. Such virtuosic playing!

AugustinHadelichAMA5 karma

Thanks! Usually there are two rehearsals to put a concerto together (in the summer, often just one), so it's not a lot of time. I might get a bit more time if it's very unusual or difficult repertoire (like Ligeti).
The discussion with the conductor starts by talking about tempi. Often they ask me if I do anything "unusual" -- it's hard to answer, because what I do doesn't feel unusual to me. But I will generally bring up any details or ideas that I feel strongly about that aren't often done in the piece. Some conductors won't do a meeting, they prefer to just see what happens. Others ask me to play the entire piece all the way through for them before going in front of the orchestra.
Playing behind the beat is a tradition with some orchestras - it takes a bit of getting used to, but eventually feels completely natural also and changes the type of sounds that the strings get. It forces you to listen more closely in order to play together, rather than only watching only the baton.

jjyi1014 karma

Hi Augustin! Reading one of your comments, I cant help but mention an experience I had the other day. I was in the car listening to the radio with my girlfriend when Franck Sonata came on. We played the "who is it" guessing game and my first guess was actually Oistrakh until the final movement (in which I was able to recognize you from the many times I have heard you!)

My question is... when you are practicing and have deadlines upcoming, how do you focus even if you are tired, burnt out, or not in the mood??

AugustinHadelichAMA3 karma

I usually do smaller, easier tasks that need to be done anyway. That way I take my mind off of it briefly until I try again.

panda313964 karma

With all of your traveling you’ve probably tasted all kinds of food. Which dishes did you absolutely love and which types did you not like at all?

AugustinHadelichAMA13 karma

I don't eat cilantro. Other than that, I eat everything. I'm from Italy, so I love Italian food.

skypieces5 karma

Ah. The soap gene?

AugustinHadelichAMA8 karma

exactly :-)

poonam23314 karma

I started playing violin at the age of 27, almost exactly a year ago and started with the Suzuki Book 1. I am learning the violin as a hobby, because I love the instrument and would love to understand music better. I would love to get better at it. Do you have any suggestions about what to concentrate on as an adult beginner? Also, what piece do you think would be best for a beginner to learn? I’m excited to learn more!

Excited to see you in Seattle!

AugustinHadelichAMA3 karma

I think the progression of pieces in the Suzuki books make sense for beginners, so I would start with that. Then, when you are ready for other challenges, look for pieces you like that sound like they lie pretty well in the hands?

Marco97114 karma

I am looking to begin learning Violin at 18. What strategy do you suggest best for learning violin. YouTube videos, classes, just learning on my own? I learn songs on piano by using synthasia videos and ukulele from chord tabs.

AugustinHadelichAMA17 karma

To learn the violin, I think people always need a teacher. It's not really an instrument you can learn well by yourself. You can do a lot of the work by yourself, but eventually you need a teacher to help guide you.

dodecahedodo3 karma

Which city has the best tap water?

RagingDB12 karma

I got this, homie.

As a traveler of the world and someone who is both too much of a drinker and not a thorough planner I have suckled from the sink at many a locale.

To truly appreciate the tap water you have to understand where it’s coming from, and via what means.

If it’s a lake and filtered, it will taste as such.

If it is reclaimed and filtered, it will taste as such.

The best water comes from underground natural springs and aquifers.

Therefore mountainous places are always the best, I have it proven time and time again.

Anyways here are my tops:

Lucerne, Switzerland.

BC Canada.

Seattle, WA

Denver, CO

Wanaka, New Zealand

They all taste great I’m not ranking in order or anything.

I live in California and I hate the water I get from the tap here in SF.


Edit: ya know what, I was answering as if he asked what the best tasting tap water is rather than cleanest. I’m not sure which is cleanest but a quick google search includes Denmark and Iceland as well as the places I’ve mentioned. If I left your hometown out of the list I apologize for I haven’t visited or I have and don’t think it tastes all that great. Downvotes tho?

AugustinHadelichAMA9 karma

Thanks! I agree that these places all have good water.
The pipes in the building you're in also matter -- Vienna has some of the best water in Europe, but many old buildings have lead pipes...

ZanzabarOHenry3 karma

Do you experience isolation due to language barriers? If so, how do you handle it for so long?

AugustinHadelichAMA18 karma

Most places I go, people speak enough English or German or Italian that I can get by! Even in Spanish-speaking countries, I can usually use my Italian and gesticulate.

elpolloloco20003 karma

Not sure how familiar you are with community based music programs. In your opinion what can they be doing better to make sure young students become life long lovers and supporters of classical music?

AugustinHadelichAMA24 karma

I think many music programs have too much of a focus trying to train professional musicians and holding that goal in front of students, rather than the goal of creating life-long music lovers, which should be the goal of most music programs. Those students that absolutely want to do it for the rest of their lives will do that. We are creating too many musicians for a limited number of jobs and not enough audience members! Many music students lose their love of music over the course of this progress and then don't want to go to concerts.

eutohkgtorsatoca3 karma

Hello/ Hallo. Do you have an agent that finds your engagements? Or are you so famous that they all come to ask you too come and perform? Sorry I must admit I haven't heard of you before.

AugustinHadelichAMA8 karma

Hi! I have several managements (one in New York, one in London, one in Germany) who arrange the concerts. If you perform a lot in different places, and released recordings and videos, more and more concert promoters will have heard the name. Ultimately it still takes the efforts of a good agent to make the concert happen.
It's also very awkward to negotiate money for yourself - much easier for an agent to do this.

curvedpipegeometry3 karma

What’s your favourite symphony? And what’s your favourite chamber work? Do you enjoy chamber music more or solo performance?

AugustinHadelichAMA7 karma

That's hard to pick. I love the Brahms symphonies particularly. In Chamber music, I'm crazy about the Schubert cello quintet. The best thing about chamber music is that there is so much repertoire to explore, and no shortage of great pieces.
A solo performance is more glamorous in some ways, but in many ways the intimacy of chamber music makes it satisfying in a different way.

phamily_man3 karma

In Grand Rapids a couple weeks ago, you came back out for an 'encore' solo piece. Is that scripted into your show or do you come back based on the enthusiasm from the crowd? Is the piece of music pre-selected?

AugustinHadelichAMA11 karma

I know what I'm going to play if the audience claps enough - but whether I go out and play depends on the audience response!

pete17292 karma

Perlman, Stern, or Milstein? Who would you prefer to hear?

AugustinHadelichAMA3 karma

that's hard to pick. I always feel like I learn a lot listening to Milstein, so that would be really fascinating to see him and see his hands. He had some of the most creative fingerings in that generation.
(Perlman is still around, so luckily I've had a chance to hear him quite often)

cloudyasfuck2 karma

Where did you buy that suit you wear for performances?

AugustinHadelichAMA5 karma

I order my performance suits from

spodek-4 karma

What do you think of decisions by people like Greta Thunberg, Jerome Bel (covered in the NY Times), and me to avoid flying?

Of course there are benefits to traveling, but that was the case before environmental problems became global and time limits short. I'm not trying to criticize.

I expect people will downvote because they consider my question a criticism, which it isn't. He has many unique experiences and views and he brought up how much he travels. Many people model their behaviors off of famous people.

AugustinHadelichAMA9 karma

I genuinely believe that the ease with which people can now travel across the globe affordably and the contact between different cultures and the interconnectedness that this creates will be a significant factor in the prevention of war - so I don't think discouraging travel is the way to go. As we saw with Greta Thunberg, her decision to sail actually increased the emissions she caused, so there is no easy alternative to this other than not traveling.

As someone who flies a lot, it is important to reduce your impact on the environment in other areas- avoiding plastic (refilling my bottles at fountains), reducing consumption in general, recycling, and donating to organizations that plant trees and help the environment. I have actually planted trees on my parents' farm. (My parents have been organic farmers since the 80's)

AugustinHadelichAMA2 karma

I respect all your passion, but I would argue that there are bigger fish to fry than a touring violinist - what about touring orchestras, or sports events like the Fifa Soccer World Cup (with tens of thousands of people flying to it)?
According to the IATA, commercial flying currently contributes 2% of global emissions (I'm taking their word for it) There are other areas where emissions can and must be reduced, but there presently is no alternative to flying to cover large distances in a short amount of time - if there was, I would take it!
At the time I read about it, the plan regarding Greta Thunberg sail trip was that she took the sailboat only one-way to New York, and then with her father, would fly back. A crew sailed the boat to New York and then had to fly back, while a second crew flew to New York to sail the (now empty) boat back. It's officially "zero emissions" because the emissions would be "compensated" for. But had they just flown two normal round trip tickets to New York, it would have been less than half the CO2 footprint, and would have cost a fraction of the cost -- so they could have compensated for those emissions, and with the money left over given a lot more towards the environment.
And what is the message it's supposed to send? That there is an alternative for air travel if you have the money to pay for a sailboat, and pay a crew to sail it, and can afford to spend weeks on the boat?

dinasaurtaco-15 karma

You plan your own travels?? Do you book your own shows as well? If you aren’t using the chase sapphire reserve card let me know and I’ll refer you! What is your favorite airline? Your favorite airport?

AugustinHadelichAMA12 karma

I have several managers in different countries to book the concerts, but I do book my own travel, since I've been traveling for a long time and kind of enjoy it.
I am familiar with the reserve card - If you want a referral to the Ink Preferred let me know :-)
I usually fly United, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite airline... Helsinki airport is one of the best - it's one of the most efficient and reliable and 35 minutes is enough for a connection there!