Breaking: Top violinist will retire at 55

Breaking: Top violinist will retire at 55


norman lebrecht

January 24, 2019

The excellent English violinist Tasmin Little has decided to give up the grind after 30 years on the road.

Here’s what she tells us:

Dear Norman,

I have some news to share…

After more than 30 years on the concert platform giving something approaching 2000 performances, I have, after a great deal of thought, decided to hang up my concert gowns in the summer of 2020.

My performing career has taken me to every continent of the globe, to most of the major concert halls with a wondrous array of international orchestras and incredible conductors. For three decades, I have enjoyed very special partnerships with Piers Lane, Martin Roscoe and John Lenehan. I have given hundreds of presentations in schools and have had opportunities for 10 years to visit numerous small communities far and wide with my Naked Violin Project, forming connections that have often been exceptionally touching and truly special. I have made over 40 commercial recordings, appeared on a huge quantity of television programmes, made documentaries for TV and radio, presented radio programmes, been the Artistic Director of two festivals, written countless articles for magazines and newspapers, and given something in the region of 1000 interviews across all forms of media. And, I have enjoyed every moment of it and treasured all the opportunities that a life in music has given to me.

I’ve decided it’s time to find a little more space in my life for some of my many other interests!

There are a great deal of things I plan to do and explore, both musical and non-musical. Some of these in musical spheres include: developing my continuing presence within the media, via radio, writing, presenting and television, persisting with and progressing my involvement with the campaign for music education to remain a vital component of the national curriculum, maintaining my wonderful association with the Royal Academy of Music with public masterclasses, and finding some time to enjoy international jury work in music competitions (at least I’ll be able to sit down for some of these!).

In the immediate future, I will be spending the next 18 months enjoying the remaining engagements that I have scheduled in my diary and, should any of you feel you wish a final “curtain call” from me before summer 2020, please do feel free to be in touch with Sinead and Denise and we will try our best to make time in the schedule for some additional concerts.

In bowing out (forgive the pun), I wish to thank each and every one of you who has played a part in my career, whether you have given me concert engagements, other professional opportunities, been a loyal member of my audience, or simply been there to encourage me during more challenging times. All this has never been taken for granted and has been the main reason I have continued my career for so many years.

I have loved every moment, but now it is time for me to embrace a new perspective and relish new challenges and opportunities.

I can assure you, though, that this is not “Goodbye”, it is more: “See you around!”.

With heartfelt thanks and warmest wishes to you all,

Tasmin Little


  • Bill says:

    Wonder where in Antarctica she performed…

  • Peter says:

    Wow. What a bold decision. It makes sense the way she explains it. One can only wish her great success in the next stage of her stellar career.

  • Novagerio says:

    Hats off!

  • Jamesay says:

    Superb musician and lovely human being. She’ll be missed on the circuit.
    Best wishes to her for this new chapter

  • Tamino says:

    She looks like she can afford it in the picture.

  • Brettermeier says:

    No recordings of the Bach concertos? (Or did I miss them?)

    Granted, there might be two or three recordings from other violinist around, but…

    See you around!

  • Christopher Storey says:

    For me, Tasmin Little is the finest violinist of the first 20 years of this century ( and indeed for the last part of the preceding millenium ) . I am sorry that we shall not be hearing her as a soloist after 2020 ( particularly in Elgar, where both in the Concerto and the Sonata she was IMHO unrivalled ) , but I can understand how public performance, not to metion the travelling, eventually takes its toll , and I wish her every good fortune in, and enjoyment of, the years ahead

    • Brian A. says:

      I have listened to many interpretations of the Lark Ascending over the past fifty one years. Miss Little’s version is the most sensitive version I know. It has an earthy quality, too often absent in the majority of recordings, that is entirely appropriate to the narrative. Her playing is like a folk singer totally familiar with the song whereas others are like an opera singer trying to sing a folk song without any acquaintance with the vernacular of nature. Her Chandon recording is definitive.

  • Brian A says:

    Sorry, it should, of course be “Chandos.”