A violin plays solo on Cremona hospital roof

A violin plays solo on Cremona hospital roof


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2020

The birthplace of great violins is also the heartland of Coronavirus sickness.

Violinist Lena Yokoyama, who works at the Museo del violino, scaled the heights to perform Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone. In the car park below, you can see makeshift tents – emergency wards for isolated Coronavirus patients.

This may be one of the enduring musical images of the 2020 plague year.

UPDATE: How fiddler got onto hospital roof


  • batonbaton says:

    It’s as if this very beautiful, talented lady is playing just for those in the tents below to give them hope and solace in their time of need. Grazie!

    • Seriously? says:

      It’s as if this very beautiful, talented lady is playing just for this likes, PR and the clickbait. Here’s the thing: people sick enough to be hospitalized, and the over stressed medical workers caring for them, don’t need violin music or any other intrusions from the classical music world. Nobody cares.

      • Reuben says:

        you evidently are devoid of all feeling and compassion, not what the world needs right now – kindly keep your cynical views to yourself. what goes around comes around, so find a heart before it’s too late

        • Bone says:

          I dunno, the camera work seems kinda…eh…oh, well, what’s a nice gesture if you can’t get a little 15 minutes of fame, right?

      • ANC says:

        No, you’re wrong. Music, especially classical music, brings more than just auditory comfort.

  • Anonymous says:

    All very laudible, but so many mediocre music videos popping up on social media – look at me! Listen to the regular weekly concerts downloaded by the great orchestras, Berlin, London, Boston…

    • Anon says:

      I agree. There is SO much crap coming out right now. Everyone thinks they have something meaningful and unique to contribute. Newsflash: it’s not. Share it with your family, your close friends, not the world stage.

      I am a prof. orch musician. I play at a very high level. It’s my job. But I am not flooding the internet with ridiculous home made videos or hiring a pr team and playing on top of a roof in a red dress.

      I do only the videos my orch is requesting now. Videos for collaboration montages and one (ONE) solo video. I did them well and they are in good taste. I am standing back now and leaving space on the internet for others, for the truly exceptional artists to come forward. Lena Yokoyama is not one of them.

      People, this is a crisis, not a marketing opportunity. You are not brightening my day or helping health care workers by standing on a roof in a red dress playing an oboe solo. Or most of the other crap that’s coming thru my newsfeed. Everyone is making too much noise with these crappy classical music videos. They are compromising and diluting the genre so that when the great ones – the ASM’s, the Hadeliches, the Yo Yo Ma’s – present, fewer people pay attention.

      If you want to make a meaningful contribution, just LISTEN. Stop trying to jump onstage and do bad karaoke. Just be the audience. Stand back and let people who actually have something to say speak and play and present their videos. Be the audience. We need audience members now.

      • Steven says:

        I like your sentiment, but I seriously doubt that you are a “professional” musician. We may be a-holes, but none of us talk like you do.

        • Anon says:

          We do here in the U.K.!

        • Anon says:

          “None of us talk like you do”? Give me a break. Like you have some divine knowledge of how professional players in every corner of the world “talk”?

          Trust me, it’s what I do for a living.You, on the other hand, sound like a high school band teacher who plays in a part time community orchestra and think this makes you a “professional musician”. Pretty sure you’d be a brass player.

          Anyone who presumes to generalize about how all professional musicians “talk” is either not one themself or is playing in a really un-diverse setting aka not a major ensemble.


  • Alastair Orr says:

    Seriously? – What nonsense you post above. It is at times of national and international peril that the thirst for music and all its sister arts is at its greatest. The doctors, nurses, paramedics and support workers in the video have been dealing with serious and often heartbreaking situations 24/7 for many weeks. Just to pause, listen and appreciate a piece of music for a few moments can lift morale hugely. Please listen and look again at the video and reflect on your comments.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have! Can we have ASM, Janine, Lisa, Julia or one of the proper lot playing “Gabriel’s Oboe!” This is cringeworthy – there’s music, then there’s music.

    • Marta says:

      Yeah no. The “thirst for the arts”? What planet are you living on? You obviously don’t work in the field. Nobody needs a silly violinist playing badly on a roof. The negative comments are right.

  • Anon says:

    Gabriel’s Oboe – seriously? With all the great violin repertoire why is she playing an oboe solo? The whole beauty & sentiment of this piece is about the oboe. That’s the story of the film it came from – it’s about an oboist not a violinist. It’s the voice for which Morricone wrote the solo.

    So, OK, yes, Yo Yo Ma did it. He is Yo Yo Ma, a wonderful, well-established artist who is in a position to be creative.This woman is not Yo Yo Ma. She is an unknown, unproven attention seeking entertainer in a red dress standing on a roof playing an oboe solo. It’s cheap, it’s inappropriate and it’s offensive to me musically and ethically in this situation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thankyou. My sentiments exactly, but very succinctly stated!

      • Larry D says:

        Of course you agree with “anon”—you both chose almost the same username, and you both are unaware of coming across as vile human beings even at the best of times.

    • Alphonse says:

      People are downvoting you for speaking the truth. You are correct. Just more crass self-promotion- “Look at me!” People will use any opportunity to make themselves the centre of attention.

  • esfir ross says:

    Wrong time and place to promote herself.

  • Carolyn says:

    Wow what beautiful playing and played with love . Thankyou

  • M. Johnson says:

    Times like these reveal just how self-absorbed some (many???) artists are.

    News Flash: People are dying. You are not important.

    P.S. Don’t use a world altering event as an opportunity to promote yourself.

  • Gary Ben says:

    If some of you are under the impression that the Japanese are full of compassion and kindness, try getting a “real” music gig in Japan. Tell me how that works out for you.

    People simply don’t know what they don’t know.

  • Pamela. says:

    I cannot believe what I have just read. You only have to look at the faces of the doctors and nurses to see the pleasure that gave for a few brief moments . Not thinking of marks out of ten. It sent out feelings of love warmth and compassion. Why would you bitter people resent that. Where is your humanity.

  • She’s giving her town something special. She may not be Hillary Hahn but she is passionate, she even works at the Musical Instrument museum. This entire city is passionate about violins, it is after all the birthplace of Stradivari and Amati. I have been to this city and as a Professional violin maker and previous concertmaster of an orchestra, I know musicality. Again, she may not be perfect, but her heart is with her city and I applaud her for it. Standing ovation from me. And I will use my real name, not hide like cowards who use Anonnomous.

  • Tom Galloway says:

    What a beautiful gift……