Girl plays violin with new artificial hand

Girl plays violin with new artificial hand


norman lebrecht

April 23, 2017

Isabella Nicola Cabrera was born ten years ago without a left hand.

This week she played the violin for the first time, thanks to a device fitted by the engineering department of George Mason University.

More here.


  • John says:

    Wonderful. Isabella should know that at least one prominent violinist — Rudolf Kolisch –played his violin reverse of the ‘normal’ way due to a hand injury in his younger years. Does anyone know if there are others?

    • Ravi Narasimhan says:

      There’s a reverse-handed violist in this famous recording of Kleiber conducting the overture to Die Fledermaus.

      around 1:10, 8:35, and possibly elsewhere.

      What a great accomplishment by the GMU undergrads. I’m sure they’re already working on giving her control of this hand through some new neural interface. The young gearheads today are doing some mind-blowing work.

    • relddift says:

      Rivka Mandelkern played in the Buffalo Philharmonic for many years. 1948-1981, I believe.

      • Peggy Sweeney says:

        I lived in Buffalo during that time and have often told people about a woman who played “backwards” in the violin section. No one believed me. Thank you so much for this validation — now I know her name — and that I’m not crazy!!

    • Max Grimm says:

      The Danish National Symphony Orchestra has a reverse-handed cellist (at time index 48:10 for a close-up).

  • Spinner says:

    I remember a classmate, Vickie Yanicks, who had a horrific accident with a lawn-mower:
    She was a member of the White House Marine Band Chamber orchesra, and retrained herself to play.
    It takes great courage to switch when you are already a musician.
    I think that learning “backwards” from the very beginning might almost be easier…
    Good luck to Isabella. Don’t underestimate the importance of having the best violin teacher possible! (and practicing…!)