Not your regular concertmaster

Not your regular concertmaster


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2016

No tattoos as far as we can see, but a bristling pair of biceps.

This is Dylan Naylor, Vorspieler of the First Violins of the Gürzenich Orchester of Cologne.

He doesn’t always look like this, but he loves to take his violin out clubbing.

So how’s your concertmaster looking these days?

See also: Not your regular orchestral player.


  • John Borstlap says:

    What will be the next stage? Cage fighters in the woodwinds, boxers in the percussion section, and hiphoppers doing the strings? The task of the conductor will get much more difficult.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    How about a wrestler-conductor? 😉

  • David Boxwell says:

    Fiddle up against bare shoulders? Anne-Sophie Mutter was there first.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    How is Robert Chen looking these days? I can’t say I’ve ever seen him sans shirt…

  • Una says:

    Pretty grim sort of publicity …

  • Diane says:

    I suspect this trend could be disconcerting….

  • Nathan Braude says:

    I am currently playing principal viola at the wonderful Gurzenich Orchestra. I would suggest all the above mentioned dinosaurs don’t judge so quickly! Dylan is a great violinist super experienced orchestral player and a lovely colleague! The fact that he is open minded to other musical styles is wonderfull! I do not see anything bad in the fact that someone likes to explore new styles in his free time.
    So my advice to old dinos: don’t judge by appearances!

    • John Borstlap says:

      As far as can be read from the comments, nobody is criticizing this player for his playing, and nobody is denying the aesthetic results of the player’s sportive investment. What he does in his free time, is nobody’s business, but showing-around one’s hobby may invite some noses being raised, depending on the nature of the hobby.

      Such critique is, as I guess, not the result of some Urzeitnostalgie to dinosaurs, but the instinctive defence against modern, hip trendy references, like tattoos and half-naked dresses during Chopin recitals, or abyssmal cleavages during oratorios, which distract from the nature of the art form, which is all about inner experience transcending physicality.

  • Derek Williams says:


  • Andrew Appel says:

    My question is, can a muscular hunk play French music or is he muscle bound to German Rep? Can a big piece of beef do sauce a la creme? Can a beer mug do a wine glass?

    and.. IF he can play Debussy or Leclair as well as Brahms and Mahler, then he has earned our hearts.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Mahler and Strauss, who were both rather thin and leptosomic, exercised every morning before their composition session, hence the protuberant beginnings of many of their works. Debussy worked long at night and slept till the afternoon, and began working in a groggy mood, as can heard by many of his pieces which begin in half-sleep. Bach drank 3 cups of strong coffee (a new fashion at the time) before putting his pen on the music paper. Andreas Holzheimer however, who was one of the first gymnastics teachers in Bavaria in the 2nd half of the 19th century, did not write one single note all his life, while the Austrian Empress (‘Sissy’ for Americans) had a private gym in the Hofburg and exercised all day long, and had no interest whatsoever in anything cultural or intellectual. Gymnastics and classical music don’t seem to mix very well.