New online: Violinist, 9 years old, plays Paganini concerto

New online: Violinist, 9 years old, plays Paganini concerto


norman lebrecht

March 12, 2021

They love her in Japan.

She’s studying with Zakhar Bron.


  • Rogerio says:

    Mr. Bron’s ties to Japan are not new:
    “Mr. Bron believes that collaborating with Yamaha in jointly developing affordably priced, high-quality violins for these young musicians will lead to the fulfillment of his mission as an instructor. His relationship with Yamaha began in 2002 based in part on this strong aspiration. Mr. Bron was involved in the joint development of the carbon bow “Bron Model” and provided a wealth of beneficial advice as a collaborating artist in the development of the finest violins.”

    Along with his qualities as a teacher, Mr. Bron is a world renowned specialist in carbon-fiber manufacturing technologies.

    • Simon Scott says:

      Yamaha violins and bows are grossly overpriced. Most of the stuff is made in Chinese sweatshops which Yamaha buy for peanuts and merely add their name to it. Designer society…….

  • JB says:

    I miss the time when prodigies were actually worth listening to

  • DML says:

    Astonishing! 10 out of 10 for performance, 11 out of 10 for bowing (pronounced boughing!)

    • PixelDust says:

      ahh, the “ough” monstrosity; nothing is added by this distinction, since it admits to several variations of pronunciation.

  • Emore says:

    If you go on Youtube there’s about 1000 of these same videos. All cute and good. Also, nothing special and well, kind of annoying. I am sure that she will win an abundance of competitions and awards–all run and judged by Zakhar Bron and his associates. Good luck to her. I hope she is allowed a childhood!

    • The View from America says:

      Perhaps not 1,000, but still too many to count comfortably.

      … And certainly too many to make this JADE video anything particularly special. Technique is all well and good, but it can’t compensate for 10 or 15 years of going around the track we call “life” and influencing the soul of the music-making.

  • Violinist says:

    Look at all these adults criticizing a 9 year old girl..

  • Luis Stern says:

    Unbelievable!!….some of the Best players stay away from Paganini, and here she is playing marvelously.

    • Simon Scott says:

      Paganini is bloody hard. To bring him off one requires a cool nervous system. Just that one drop of adrenalin too much and he becomes a car crash.

  • M2N2K says:

    An outstanding talent. She is clearly doing what she loves and she is doing it exceptionally well for her age. Good luck to her!

  • Nijinsky says:

    I wonder what will become of such kids.

    I happened to be listening to Teo Gertler today In playing parts of the Saint Saens concerto, he has more courage in being there for what’s expressed in the music, supporting the emotions, and also in the last movement the temerity, than I can say I’ve heard in a now equally good looking top soloist, who in comparison sounds like he’s putzing around. What’s to happen to someone with such a heart, and such dedication to the music in a world where it’s more about playing the game, impressing the multitudes with whatever generic gimmick goes with such marketing and acting like you’re a dedicated great artist.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Sorry, but I really think that the way the standard repertoire is treated, or rather mistreated: the kind of factory setting that classical music has become is something akin to making out that God created cows for Mc Donald’s corporation.

    And any child with talent is put in danger of becoming part of this, this… and stories of computers being able to put together a Beethoven concerto, Renee Fleming being charmed they have a pastry named after her and selling little porcelain knick knacks via her site. Before this it was just the “Great” Arthur Rubinstein writing a best selling memoir and feeling free to make out Karol Maciej Szymanowski had social problems, when Szymanowski’s music will be remembered long after Arthur’s “great” memoir at best is a forgotten curiosity.

    I don’t understand it, or how grown people can lack the sensibility to see how tacky such behavior is, instead to fuel the ambition they think life is about and they feel moral in justifying, aggressively finding fault with others they deem crazy or too radical that don’t fall into arbitrary fashions that with time really will be found crazy, although during the “time” don’t resonate with a certain “majority” I mean mob….

  • Frank says:

    On youtube there are literally dozens of these clips of kid wonders playing Paganini on a fractional violin. Most of these clips have the look of hostage videos. There are also hundreds of dads boasting their kid has perfect pitch (an irrelevant thing in performing musicians). It really makes one wonder what parents hope to achieve by pushing their kids into a shrinking profession. I’ll admit this Himari sounds like the cream of the kiddie crop, but I’m perfectly happy to wait another fifteen years before hearing from her again.

    • Geoffrey William Gardiner says:

      I don’t have 15 years left. Glad to have heard this concerto played better than I have heard it in my previous 91 years.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    This is extremely impressive. I looked carefully at her left hand and the finger length is astounding for a 9 year old – no wonder the first movement passage in 10ths and the double stopped harmonics in the last movement were so nicely done. Her little finger looks about as lone as mine and I am 6’7″ tall! And she can already vibrate powerfully with the little finger, which some violinists (“guilty, your honor”) never quite master.

    Yes I am sure that the many little nuances and gestures that she included were likely the result of careful drill by Prof Bron and perhaps her listening to/copying from recordings. But that is what goes on in a violin lesson! And if you can’t play then there isn’t much to copy from listening to Michael Rabin or other touchstones in this concerto.

    Speaking of nuance I liked what the conductor was doing very much.

    What could I be critical of? Oh some of the fidgety gestures; that tapping her foot to the beat. The high drama of the concerto’s long tutti opening is enhanced if the violinist does not put violin under chin too early, which is what she did. Her phrasing sometimes pulls punches on moments of drama. It is not quite given to her right arm yet to be able to end the slow movement with that agonized shriek of the prisoner begging God to be relieved of the burden of existence (Paganini was setting to music a scene from a then-popular play). Listen to Leonid Kogan, or even more so, Viktor Tretyakov for what I am talking about. She gave it a go but it just wasn’t there. Someday it will be.

    She doesn’t need a stacked deck jury to do well in competitions if she can play like this into her teens and twenties.

  • Emil Gilels says:

    The violinist – Himari Yoshimura – has in fact been performing the 1st movement of the Paganini since she was 7. That’s when she won the Grand Prize in the Junior Category of the 2019 Grumiaux Violin Competition with it.
    I remember thinking at the time that it must be unmatched in music history that someone that young was playing the first movement of the 1st Paganini Concerto so well, until a brief search on YouTube offered up another performer at age 6(!) playing the same repertoire (though perhaps a bit less successfully). I wasn’t able to find a 5 year old playing the Paganini, but one can always hope and dream…
    Perhaps not surprisingly, a few commenters are dismissive of the performer. However, her talent is unquestionably extraordinary, and we should certainly wish her the best in her musical and personal development.

  • Max Raimi says:

    I have always been struck by the parallels between Paganini’s concertos and pornography.
    1: Both are mechanistic, not based in convincing human motivations.
    2: Both simulate without actually expressing emotions.
    3: The orchestral tuttis in Paganini serve exactly the same function as dialogue in a pornographic movie, essentially marking time as the audience waits patiently for the payoff, the part it really wants to see.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Moriz Rosenthal would say “Too old.”

  • Edgar Self says:

    Two shocks: Max Raimi’s expertise in blue film, and David Nelson’s height of 6’7″, putting him in Nikolai Znaider’s class. How do they reach the violin from way up there? Even Joshua Bell bends double.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    The girl looks too skinny. I hope she does not crash completely in a few years. The conductor gesticulates too much (in a Paganini concerto neither the conductor nor the orchestra has much to offer).

  • Grabenassel says:

    Wow! Sooooo amaaaazing! To bad she is 9 years already – would have been so much mooooore amaaaazing when she were 8….*irony off* …….and now back to some Beethoven with Barbizet and Ferras.

  • Terry Holton says:

    This is a staggering performance from a 9-year-old child.