The Best Violinists of All Time

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Written By Tanya

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It was not difficult to choose who to include on our list of the top 10 most influential violinists. While you will agree with the selections, it is the order in which they appear that may make you want to write us an argumentative mail. This is a subjective exercise, so we’ll listen to you.

We choose players based on their skill level and not only the current day. You’ll find both the respected older players that we all love and some newer players. You are probably a classical lover since you’re here. I think you would enjoy our Best Flutes Players in the World list.

We have included honorable mentions and runners up because it is difficult to limit yourself to ten options. If you can’t find your favorite violinist, continue looking down. We won’t waste any time, so let’s jump right into the list with the greatest violinists…

#10 – Joseph Joachim


Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), despite having studied violin as a child, was a first-ever significant performer. He performed the solo part in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in London at 12 years old, a piece that he had brought out of infamy. This concerto would be performed almost a decade later at Lower Rhine Music Festival.

Many cadenzas he wrote were for concertos by many composers, including Beethoven and Brahms. His original compositions include the overtures to Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1853), and Henry IV (1844) and the Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor “in Hungarian Manner.”

He was also a member of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Joachim String Quartet. He was elected president of Oxford & Cambridge Musical Club 1899.

Trivia Facts – Joachim owned several violins and/or violas during his career, including the Guarneri Filius Andreae1703 and the Johannes Theodorus Cuypersanno 1807. His success earned him the title of “the most famous artist in Germany”.

#9 – Sarah Chang


Sarah Chang (b. 1980). She made her first musical strides as a violin soloist in the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and as a child prodigy.

In August 1992, she released Debut,, her first and best-selling album. Her first album, em>Debut, was released in August 1992. She received the Gramophone Magazine Young Artist of the year and the Newcomer of The Year awards. Another notable album is 2005’s Fantasia with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

Chang performed with many orchestra groups including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as other top orchestras. She performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Barbican Centre.

Trivia Facts At five years old she played Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto Number. She was accepted to Juilliard with 1 in G minor. She is also a proponent of early musical education. She plays the 1717 Guarneri del Gesu violin, which her mentor Isaac Stern gave to her. Newsweek named her one of the Eight Most Achieving Females in America in 2006

#8 – Pablo de Sarasate


Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), began his professional career in 1861 as a violinist. He was a musician since childhood, and he received a lot attention. He toured all over Europe, North America and South America throughout his career.

He composed and performed opera fantasies. Many pieces incorporate piano and orchestra, such as Zigeunerweisen’s Carmen Fantasy and Spanish Dances Opp. 21, 22, 23, 26. 21, 22, 23, 26,

Berthe Marx, Sarasate’s piano accompanist, accompanied Sarasate on his international travels. She arranged Spanish Danceson the piano. Sarasate also arranged works by other composers for violin.

Trivia Facts – Sarasate’s charisma attracted many women throughout his career. However, he never got married. He is also mentioned in a few Sherlock Holmes stories including Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Red-Headed League and Anthony Burgess’s Murder to Music. Sarasate, an Elemental Master who can control, create, and speak to ghosts using his music, is also mentioned in Mercedes Lackey’s Study in Sable.

#7 – Hilary Hahn


Hilary Hahn (b. 1979) started her career with several orchestral groups including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. At age 16, she made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall as a Philadelphia Orchestra soloist.

She commissioned many concerti and other music pieces, which was one of the highlights of her career. She was also featured violinist in James Newton Howard’s score The Village (2004) and Andrew Hewitt’s score The Sea (2013). She quickly rose to the top of the best violinists’ list and it was well deserved.

In 2009, Hahn was awarded a Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist(s), Performance (With Orchestra) and 2015 for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. Her albums include in 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores (2013), and Hilary Hahn plays Bach (1997).

Trivia Facts Hahn started several community-oriented concerts that were free for families. She also established several knitting circles and dance workshops. She also participated in the Middlebury College total-immersion language program and learned German French, Japanese, and German. Carol E. Reiley and she founded in order to increase creativity for musicians and AI companies.

#6 – Niccolo Paganini


Niccolo Paganini (1782 – 1840) was the first violin of the Republic of Lucca. He remained as a Violinist for the Baciocchi Court until 1809.

He eventually became a freelance performer, making a huge break in Milan’s La Scala concert in 1813. From 1827-1831, he toured every major European city. He continued his touring through Paris and Britain. He also spent some time in Italy.

Over his entire career, he composed many music pieces, including The 24 Caprices For Solo Violin, six Violin Concertos and 12 Sonatas for Violin, Violin, Cello, and Guitar. He preferred to play guitar in private concerts during his touring years and early years.

Trivia Facts While Paganini is best known for his use of a violin, he also enjoyed playing the guitar with composer Hector Berlioz. These interests were incorporated into compositions. Don Nigro’s 1995 play about Paganini also features him as the main subject. It focuses on a long-held rumor that Paganini’s musical mastery is due to a deal with Satan.

#5 – Nathan Mironovich Milstein


Nathan Mironovich Milstein (1904-1992), who was born Nathan Mironovich Milstein, made his American debut in 1927. He played with Leopold Stokowski’s Philadelphia Orchestra and became an American citizen. He had previously toured Western Europe and the Soviet Union with Vladimir Horowitz.

Milstein composed cadenzas and orchestrated many violin pieces. Paganiniana is one of his most important cadenzas. Milstein also performed arrangements for Bach’s solo violin. In 1979, Carnegie Hall hosted Milstein’s 50th anniversary performance.

He was presented with the Legion d’honneur in France in 1968 and a Grammy for his performance of Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas. In 1975, he received Kennedy Center honors.

Trivia Facts – Milstein was awarded the 1716 “Goldman” Stradivarius, which he renamed the “Maria Teresa” in 1946 after his wife and daughter. He was perfectionist and spent much of his time studying the note flow. After breaking his left arm, he retired in July 1986.

#4 – Friedrich-Max “Fritz” Kreisler


Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), made his American debut at Steinway Hall, November 1888. From 1888-1889, he toured with Moriz Rosethal. He was initially rejected by the Vienna Philharmonic but he later performed in concert with the Berlin Philharmonic which earned him more acclaim.

Kreisler composed many solos and encores for violin, such as Liebesleid and Liebesfreud. He also wrote cadenzas to accompany other composers’ violin concertos including Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart. His Violin Concerto (1910) was another impressive piece.

Kreisler has also composed credits for many Broadway operettas and revues including Apple Blossoms (1919), Continental Variety (1934), Reunion in New York (1940) and Rhapsody (1944). He also composed the music for the movie The King Steps Out.

Trivia Facts – Kreisler owned many violins during his career, including one Giuseppe Guarneri that he donated to Library of Congress in 1952. Many of his recordings were reissued via CD and LP releases. He was 12 years old when he won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome silver medal in Paris. He studied medicine and joined forces with the Army.

#3 – Itzhak Perlman


Itzhak Perlman (b. Itzhak Perlman (b. He would perform with many orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a well-known soloist but he also performed with Yo-Yo Ma and Isaac Stern.

Throughout his career, he was honored with 16 Grammys, four Emmys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Perlman was also awarded the Leventritt Award for 1964. His notable performances include the White House State Dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II, and President Obama’s Inauguration.

Perlman has also been a conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the Westchester Philharmonic. From 2002 to 2004, Perlman was the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s music advisor. He could climb even higher up the list of top violinists with time.

Trivia Facts Perlman, his wife Toby, and the Perlman Music Program were the founders of Perlman Music Program. He is also a distant cousin to Howie Mandel. Perlman was also involved in several international initiatives for people with disabilities. Perlman was born with polio, which severely limited his mobility. He now plays a lot while sitting down.

#2 – David Fyodorovich Oistrakh


David Oistrakh (1908-1974), performed his first recital in Moscow in 1927. He became a professor at Moscow Conservatory. His son, Igor also performed many pieces, including Bach’s Double Concerto, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.

He was a soldier and a factory worker in the face of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. During the Battle of Stalingrad, he played Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Oistrakh toured and performed in Western Europe after the war.

Oistrakh was the recipient of many awards and honors over his life, including the Stalin Prize, the Stalin Prize in 1943, the Orders of Lenin 1946 and 1966, as well as Peoples’ Artist of the USSR. Shostakovich, Khachaturian wrote violin concertos in his honor.

Trivia Facts Oistrakh loved chess, and became interested in it after Stalin’s government encouraged it to be a hobby. Oistrakh’s son Igor is the name of the asteroid 42516 Oistrach. The “David Oistrakh Festival”, held each year in Estonia from late August through October, is Oistrakh’s musical legacy.

#1 – Jascha Heifetz


Jascha Heifetz (1901-1974), made his United States debut in Carnegie Hall in 1917. This was an instant success, which led him to explore new musical opportunities. He recorded many solo, chamber and concerto recordings, as well as recordings with various musical groups, such the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and others.

Heifetz was known as Jim Hoyl during World War II and performed many concerts for Allied camps in Europe. Heifetz also wrote the song If You Make Love To Me (Don’t Make Believe) during World War II.

His work was mainly recorded by the company RCA Victor. Many of his recordings included pieces by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

Trivia Facts Heifetz was a participant in many socio-political movements in his later years. He was a strong advocate for clean air and a member of the University of Southern California’s student protest group. He also converted his Renault into an electrical vehicle. He advocated the establishment of 911 as an emergency number. The Los Angeles Times described him as “the greatest violinist since Paganini.”

Runners up: Who is almost one of the best violinists in the world?

It is difficult to stay at the top 10, as there are many other violin players who deserve recognition for their contributions, skills, and techniques. You and someone else might rank different players differently. These are the next four runners up, and honorable mentions.

Eugene-August Ysaye


After graduating from Liege’s Royal Conservatory of Liege in 1858-1931, Eugene August Ysaye (1858-1931), became the Berlin Philharmonic’s principal violinist. Anton Rubinstein asked Ysaye to join him on one his tours. In 1886, Ysaye established the Ysaye Quartet. He soon toured Europe and Russia before returning to the United States.

He became more comfortable with teaching at the Brussels Conservatoire, conducting and writing his own work later in his life. He was a conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s 1929 Festival Overture andOffenbach’s Orpheus In Hades.

His Six Sonatas for Solo Violin and Sonatas for Cello, Sonatas for Two Violins , as well as cadenzas for Beethoven Tchaikovsky Brahms, Mozart, and Brahms are some of his most famous works. Ysaye was awarded the following honors: Commander in the Order of Leopold (1900) and Officer in 1919 (1919).

Trivia Facts Many regarded Ysaye during his lifetime as “The King and Violin”, and considered him to be the first modern violinist. He composed the 1931 opera Pier Li Houyeu, in Walloon. Many of his techniques included vibrato or rubato.

Stephane Grappelli


Stephane Grappelli (1908-1997) founded the Quintette de Hot Club of France in 1934 with Django Reinhardt, a guitarist. Although initially formed as a jazz group, the group was influential in a new music movement that introduced swing.

The group was disbanded when World War II started. Grappelli stayed in England, while Reinhardt returned to France. He found it difficult to update his style during the 60s and 50s when bebop was the hottest music trend.

Grappelli has released many albums and collaborated with talented artists throughout his career. He collaborated with the Diz Disley Trio and Yehudi Menuhin.

Trivia Facts Many refer Grappelli to as “the grandfather jazz violinists.” In 1974, Grappelli worked on the film scores for Moving Places and May Fools in 1990. He was a teenager who played the accompaniment to silent films at Theatre Gaumont. Grappelli was not married but he had an affair with Jean Barclay and shared much his life with Jean Barclay.

Yehudi Menuhin


Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999), recorded his first concerto, Bruch’s minor in 1931. He performed many other concertos and sonatas as well as partitas for the violin. He performed the Sonata for Solo Violin in 1944 as a fan of Bela Bartok’s work.

Menuhin was a performer during World War II for Allied soldiers. He also performed in July 1945 for survivors of various camps liberated in April 1945.

Throughout his career, Menuhin received numerous awards and honors, including being president of the International Music Council (now Trinity College of Music). In 1957, he founded the Menuhin Festival Gstaad. He and Ravi Shankar recorded their Grammy-winning album West meetss Shankar in 1967.

Trivia Facts Menuhin was interested in yoga and met B.K.S., a highly respected yogi. Iyengar. He also appeared in the 1943 film Stage Door Canteen, where he played violin solos of “Ave Maria”, “Flight of the Bumblebee” and “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Menuhin also was the first conductor of the Asian Youth Orchestra in 1990.

Papa John Creach


Papa John Creach (1917-1994), began his career as a violinist performing in Chicago bars during the middle of 1930s. He was also an accomplished player of classical music. A cabaret group called Chocolate Music Bars, which played blues and jazz among other genres, was also formed by him. He eventually met Joey Covington, the drummer, and joined Jefferson Airplane.

He was a violinist for many music groups including Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship and the San Francisco All-Stars. His backing band, Zulu, he also led.

Creach has released more than 20 albums during his entire musical career. The group’s 1975 platinum-selling album Red Octopus was released while they were on tour with Jefferson Starship. His solo albums include Filthy (1972), Papa John Creach (1971), Playing My Fiddle for You (74), I’m the Fiddle Man (75), and Papa Blues(92).

Trivia Facts – Creach was unable to play the jazz violin at first and bought an electric violin in 1943. He made a few films appearances as well, including in Fritz Lang’s The Blue Gardenia with Nat King Cole . Being a jazz veteran, Creach was older than his bandmates.

Honorable Mentions to the Best Violinists Of All Time

There are many outstanding violinists who deserve to be mentioned, so how can we stop at the top of the list? It is possible that you have not yet seen your favorite violinist, but there are many players who could climb the ranks to the top of the list. These are the players:

  • Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)
  • Joshua Bell (b. 1967)
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter (b. 1963)
  • Nigel Kennedy (b. 1956)
  • Midori Goto (b. 1971)
  • Viktoria Mullova (b. 1959)
  • Gil Shaham (b. 1971)
  • Ginette Neveu (1919-1949)

Or we’ll continue to talk about it forever. It can be a great conversation to know that you could ask another person, slightly re-weight some variables or have the whole top 10 list re-arrange their order or even include a different set of violinists.

You may find it interesting to take a different route with a similar instrument, and see how much you can make if your life is dedicated to a more popular instrument. This is the wealthiest guitarist in the world. Anyway, thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts about the greatest violinists ever.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Violinists All Time

This table lists the top 10 most successful violinists of all-time. It includes their names as well as associations.

1Jascha HeifetzSaint Petersburg Conservatory, New Symphony Orchestra
2David Fyodorovich OistrakhMoscow Conservatory, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
3Itzhak PerlmanDetroit Symphony Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic
4Friedrich-Max “Fritz” KreislerBerlin Philharmonic
5Nathan Mironovich MilsteinPhiladelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic
6Niccolo PaganiniFirst Violin of The Republic of Lucca
7Hilary HahnThe Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
8Pablo de SarasateConservatoire De Paris
9Sarah ChangNew York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall
10Joseph JoachimRoyal Conservatory Of Music

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