This generation of violinists has failed

This generation of violinists has failed


norman lebrecht

July 14, 2019

The violin pedagogue Edward Wulfson has given a combative interview to the Russian journalist Marina Arshinova.

In it, he asserts that there are only two present-day violinists of the highest quality – Janine Jansen and Julia Fischer – and two more coming up: Daniel Lozakovich (pictured) and Marc Bouchkov, both of them his students. The rest, he asserts, are uninteresting.

Wulfson maintains that Bouchkov should have won the Tchaikovsky competition, but for an error on the conductor’s part.

Read here.




  • Leopold says:

    So he offended all of his former students? Good move!

  • John Sorel says:

    Edward who? The desparation clangs.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Wulfson is certainly a respected teacher and his name appears in the bios of many fine artists — perhaps it is fair to say that he is one of a particular type of violin professor that young violinists with talent go to for final polish, or a rounding off of what other teachers started. Many great teachers, including Joachim and Enesco, played that role. So those bios list many teachers, including Wulfson, but not just Wulfson.

      I don’t share his views about how few first rate violinists there are, but his opinions deserve a fair consideration, even when he lists his own student.

      • John Sorel says:

        [[ even when he lists his own student.]]

        No, that’s a complete no-no. Whatever residual credibility your hero Wulfson may once have had, he blew it all when he challenged the decision of the Tchaikovsky jury, and sought to advance his own proteges. He also blew it for his proteges too, who will now be marked out as probable cheats in other competitions in which he is involved. He needs to leave the profession.

  • Tweettweet says:

    I believe they are speaking about the violinist in the age bracket 18-35, and that in the age bracket 35-40 he only likes Janine Jansen and Julia Fischer, quoting Martin Engström, the chairman of the competition jury (who also favours LIsa Batiashvili, but Wolfson doesn’t like her).

    For the rest I think it’s quite unbelievable that he speaks so badly about other competitors that are not his students.

    However, I also think it is quite funny that he questions the membership of Boris Kuschnir, having a student in the competition.

  • Kölscher Jung says:


  • Michel says:

    Only his students are worth of attention !! If I remember well Marc Bouchkov made an mistake in the Tchaikovsky concerto which costed him the first place but it was not the fault of the conductor !

  • Caravaggio says:


  • Fiddlist says:

    No denying that the majority of younger players lack character and individuality of sound when compared to previous generations. Pity such a statement was rendered inane by naming one’s own students.

  • As an author of the text of that interview I need to translate here correctly my question and Eduard Wolfson’s answer:

    M.A. – The chairman of the jury of the violinists’ competition, Martin Engström, in an interview given during the XVI Tchaikovsky Competition, clearly articulated that there is a failure in the generation of today’s violinists; he limited the circle, on the one hand, to Daniel Lozakovich (18), and on the other – Janine Jansen, Julia Fisher and Lisa Batiashvili (35-40). Do you agree with Engström that today there is no violinist between the ages of 18 and 35 who can hold the attention and interest of the public?

    E.W. – My close friend Martin Engström is absolutely right. I am very glad that the music world knows my student Daniel Lozakovich, a phenomenal violinist with whom I continue to work (since 2014), and this is a great joy and honor for me.The only thing I disagree with is the presence of Liza Batiashvili on this list, who for me is a very well-trained violinist, but definitely of no great interest, either in terms of virtuosity or in terms of interpretations. This is my only disagreement in this case with my close friend Martin Engström.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      In other words, he agrees Janine Jansen and Julia Fisher are interesting, but disagrees that Lisa Batiashvili is worth hearing. He doesn’t mention anyone else since these three were the only three in the conversation.

  • And that’s what exactly Eduard Wulfson has said about Marc Bushkov in aforementioned interview

    E.W. – As I have already stressed, Bushkov, in my opinion, was the clear favorite and the best performer in this competition. Definitely, Mark created sensation in the first and second round. His performances of the Fifth Sonata of Ysaye, 7th Caprice of Paganini were pure outstanding. As for his Mozart Fifth Concerto in the final, it was unquestionably an amazingly elegant performance of this very difficult Concerto. Unfortunately, some grimaces and lack of mobility in the accompaniment of Maestro Simonov created an impression on Mark that the conductor had a hidden hostility, which I think was psychologically disturbing for Marc, he was not ready for such resistance. However, I do not defend his mistakes in the Tchaikovsky Concert; at this level, Mark had to show even greater willpower. Fatigue plus, to put it mildly, not quite professional help from the conductor really hurt him.

  • Sharon Gray says:

    Yes. I started playing in the 60s. I love recordings that are considered too emotional now. Fritz Kreisler, great technique and great emotion. Love my recording of FK doing the Brahms Concerto. Szigeti was always cleaner and warmer than Heifetz. Heifetz could scrape like I did before I got my bow arm worked out.

  • That is an inflammatory statement designed to get attention.

  • giles says:

    He’s actually an instrument dealer …

  • M2N2K says:

    It may be just me, but unfortunately I cannot possibly have much respect for the opinions of a person who says phrases such as “я являюсь лидером мировой скрипичной педагогики и лидером рынка великих струнных инструментов” (“I am the leader of the world’s violin pedagogy and the leader of the market for great string instruments”), presumably with a straight face and in an interview that was destined for publication.

  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    James Ehnes is one of the best violinists I’ve ever heard.

  • Larry W says:

    A Prone to Violins bio for Kristóf Baráti says: “In 1996, he began studying privately with a little-known professor of violin, Eduard Wulfson, in Paris.”

  • fflambeau says:

    Let’s see. Sarah Chang is only 39; Augustin Hadelich is only 35; Alina Rinatovna Ibragimova is only 34; Stefan Jackiw is only 34; Yevgeny Kutik is 34; Yury Revich is only 28; Sayaka Shoji is but 35; Lana Trotovšek is 36; Tianwa Yang is 32; Nancy Zhou is only 26. This is but a sampling.

    All have won prizes; many multiple prizes.

    This is nonsense.

  • Mike Aldren says:

    Such a short list, how about Hilary Hahn, Sarah Chang, Baibe Skride, Vilde Frang, Tianwa Yang, Alina Ibragimova etc. and that’s just the ladies.

    Some very distinctive players and add the most distinctive of all, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who’s only a little older.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    His comments only tell us of himself: ignorant and self-aggrandizing.

  • Bruce says:

    Well this guy certainly has a very favorable opinion of himself.

  • Righteous says:

    Eduard Wulfson is a violin dealer. He is only seeks the benefit of his students. An arrogant and very cunning person, bluffer and only praises him self! He did not teach no one student by his own, Bushkov had great teachers before him, he started to take lessons with Wulfson at age 27. Barrati was already 19 years old when he met this bluffer at that time he got the 3 plays on QE competition, Lozakovich has a greatest teacher Josef Rissin and still studying with him.
    Definitely not of this violinists is his students.