Violinist plays Tchaikovsky concerto on two fingers

Violinist plays Tchaikovsky concerto on two fingers

main

norman lebrecht

June 27, 2020

Clayton Haslop, a student of Nathan Milstein and concertmaster of the LA chamber orchestra, lost the use of two fingers to focal dystonia.

A setback?

Not at all. He plays the Tchaikovsky even more wonderfully on just half a hand.

Watch this, uploaded this week.

 

Comments

  • Robert Levin says:

    Absolutely amazing!!!

  • Ben G. says:

    Simply amazing.

    The guitarist Django Reinhardt was also forced to use the 2 finger method, but not because of the same reasons.

    A guitar is a fretted instrument, so intonation for him was not a moutain to climb as in Clayton’s situation.

  • Player says:

    Very inspiring. I’m so glad he found a way through and can continue to make his life-affirming music.

  • M2N2K says:

    Very impressive – a truly heroic feat indeed.

  • Nick says:

    Heroic and brilliant!!

  • Amos says:

    Similar to what his mentor did before his last recital in Sweden.

  • Patrick says:

    Where is the emoji for “jaw dropping on floor”?! This is an amazing story. Thanks!

  • Ben G. says:

    Simply amazing.

    The guitarist Django Reinhardt was also forced to use the 2 finger method, but not because of the same reasons.

    A guitar is a fretted instrument, so intonation for him was not a mountain to climb as in Clayton’s situation.

  • Alex Saldarriaga says:

    This is nothing short of miraculous. Only a violinist who intimately knows the difficulties of this Concerto when played with all four fingers can begin to appreciate this incredible feat of playing it with half as many fingers. And he’s played it beautifully! I’m astonished, humbled, and inspired.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I was unaware of this terrible setback for this splendid violinist. He issued a CD of music for violin and guitar (including some virtuoso works where the piano part had been transcribed for guitar) that I reviewed way way back, maybe late 1980s or very early 1990s, for Fanfare, and it was clean and elegant playing, with some real verve in the Sarasate Carmen Fantasy and particularly in a very unusual, wild, and somewhat disturbing piece, “Dances in the Madhouse” by David Leisner, a guitarist/composer whose own performing career was put on hold for some time by … focal dystonia. How ironic! But bravo to Haslop for carrying on so amazingly. I hope, like Leisner (who wrote a book on the ergonomics of playing the guitar), that greater recovery from this is possible for him.

  • ira says:

    i believe milstein was noted for changing his fingerings between rehearsal and performance and for continuing on three strings when one broke. but never playing with only two fingers.

  • M2N2K says:

    Besides the intonation issue, another big difference is that Django Reinhardt lost use of his two left fingers when he was still a teenager, while in Clayton Haslop’s case it happened when he was already in his late middle age when relearning muscular activities with new major limitations is significantly more difficult. So, while Django’s achievements are remarkable, Clayton’s recent accomplishments are nothing short of astonishing.

  • D says:

    Inspired is not even close to what I am feeling right now. I will never take my violin practice for granted again- you have my honest word. Thank you for sharing your story with the world, this is a miracle, I am so happy you have this gift. Good luck, please keep us updated.

  • Linda says:

    It would have been interesting to hear how he retrained himself to play. I have arthritis in my left hand that affects playing and would love some tips on how to work around it. But, great playing and much respect to you!

  • MOST READ TODAY: