Watch Ida Haendel's Masterclass from 3rd July 2013 at the Royal College of Music, London:
Watch John Suchet in conversation with Ida Haendel on Classic FM:
"Ida has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I met her at the Menuhin competition at the age of 12. She is not only a legendary player but also a phenomenal presence – what a privilege that she still shares her magical powers with us."
"Ida has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I first heard her, and met her, over 10 years ago. The intensity of her sound and the depth of her musicianship are awe inspiring, and every concert she gives is a true experience from which you come away feeling energised having discovered new aspects of a familiar piece. Not only is she a great musician, but also a wonderful and warm person and I feel so privileged to know her."
"Ida’s sound quality is quite unique. I’m not only talking about her virtuosity but about her musicality. She has a very centered way of playing, which, I have the impression is in some ways lost nowadays. It’s very good for people to listen to this way, because it is the most beautiful way."
"I would say we never stop learning. In other words, something that I had played a 1000 times, every time I take that score, and I look at it, I find new information. It’s a never-ending source of education. Totally inexhaustible. It means that these were the greatest geniuses. We are just a tool. We are juts trying to satisfy the composition. When I take my violin and I look into a score, I say, my god, I missed this yesterday. I didn’t see yesterday what it really means. It’s a never-ending source of education."
"I would say we never stop learning. In other words, something that I had played a 1000 times, every time I take that score, and I look at it, I find new information. It’s a never-ending source of education. Totally inexhaustible. It means that these were the greatest geniuses. We are just a tool. We are juts trying to satisfy the composition. When I take my violin and I look into a score, I say, my god, I missed this yesterday. I didn’t see yesterday what it really means. It’s a never-ending source of education.
"I approach a piece of music like a newborn. As if I had never played it before. It’s the road of discovery…every single time. Yesterday I discovered new things in the score. This is why I’m constantly asking: who were these geniuses we are constantly learning from? This is the excitement about it. The actual rediscovery of everything that you had done before and the never-ending supply of information and inspiration. And that’s what’s so fascinating tome: The composer and the composition. That never ends."
"You have to have the gift to realise when you have to treat music like a monument, or physics, or a building, and when to put your soul into it. The notes are giving you all the information, you are either moved, and then you try to express by what you are moved, or you are not moved. If you don’t have the spirit and the soul to be moved by music, forget it! Then rather become a dressmaker, or a shoemaker!"
"I’ve never played with Ida with an orchestra where the orchestra is not completely, especially the string section, in admiration of this playing."
"The art of Ida Haendel to me represents tradition multiplied by her personality and charisma. Ida is a woman of vivacious temperament almost impossible to compare to anybody else. Maybe her temperament can be best described as a kind of natural force of exceptional strength. She has very a special place in the history of the violin and in my heart. Am proud to be her friend and a faithful fan."
"There are two things that are important when rendering a piece of music: to be able to hear yourself so objectively as if you were listening to somebody who was in the distance and a total stranger. How to use your hearing aid…I’m going to call it that…and to be able to analyse what yourself are doing on that instrument. That’s what some are not capable of achieving. It’s not only to be critical of someone else, be critical just in the same way of yourself, and capable of such observation. But it’s terribly important because don’t mislead yourself, you think maybe you are doing everything so wonderfully well, but maybe it’s not so! So the question is: when you play something, do an experiment, take a recording or a tape, and listen to yourself. Do you trust that tape 100%, that that’s really what you’ve done? That’s the question!"
"I first met Ida Haendel when I was Concert Manager at the Canberra School of Music and it was the mid ‘80’s when she was on an Australian Tour with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir John Pritchard. She was magnetic; a larger-than-life persona matched by the sheer artistry of her performance. I will never forget the concert. But now I am at the LPO and I have reviewed Ida’s work with this great London orchestra going back to its founder, Sir Thomas Beecham in 1939 and extending through 43 concerts to Leonard Slatkin in 1990. In between conductors included Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Henry Wood, Rudolph Dunbar, Charles Hambourg, Basil Cameron, Sir Malcolm Sargent, George Weldon, Carl Schuricht, Herbert Menges, Sir John Pritchard, Yevgeni Svetlanov, Bernard Haitink, Constantin Silvestri, Sir Charles Groves, Janos Furst, Serge Baudo and Franz Welser-Most. The repertoire is as broad in its range. What an achievement for an incomparable artist."
"I first met Ida around 1982 at Harold Holt’s offices. I still remember her grand entrance – she had of course no idea who I was.
I think it’s important for all of us to have a link with our tradition, our history – we need to know our heroes. It’s a great gift to have a representative of the golden era of violin playing still among us. I mean those days where you could recognise a violinist by their own, personal sound – their tonal fingerprint so to speak. It is a grace and a curse at the same time, that recordings of these heroes of the past have helped us to constantly increase the level of violin playing to the level where it is generally today. But with that we’ve lost this very quality of a truly personal playing – in exchange for ever so polished performances. Ida is a constant reminder to us, what it really means to be a live performing artist: She never lost the desire to get up and go through all the difficulties of performing to keep an appointment with her beloved public. She is a true communicator. That is probably her greatest quality, this never-ending desire to give: she still wants to tell us musical stories."
"I choose my collaborators very carefully – and I don’t want to appear condescending, but if I don’t respect them to the highest degree, I wouldn’t perform with them. That’s the first issue for me, to find a collaborator that I trust, I respect, and I listen to what they are doing. And I’m capable (I’m paying this compliment to myself) if I see that the interpretation of my collaborator is saying something completely different, and it’s more profound than I saw it, I’m fully prepared to change my concept. Very quickly. But I have to be convinced that it is so. Very often I am very lucky, because I do choose the most talented people to perform with, so that’s the answer."
"When I went to Flesch, as far as the actual playing goes, I played everything. I played Kreutzer Sonata when I was about 7. He only corrected some of my interpretation. But the actual position and the playing, he did not correct. He left me completely alone. Probably he felt that what I was doing was the correct way of playing the violin."
"If I wasn’t secure when I picked up the violin, that I know I can play the violin quite well, and I know what I am about to do on that violin, consulting the composer and the score in front of me, I wouldn’t do it. Yes, I am secure; otherwise I wouldn’t lure myself by playing and not being secure. I don’t believe in it. It’s really true, I’ve heard some musicians, specifically violinists, when it really sounded very insecure – and I am not comfortable with that. If you don’t know the piece, if you aren’t master of your instrument, don’t do it."
"Once, after a concert in Poznan, I went to have dinner with friends. It was already 1 AM and everybody was tired, when Ida suddenly said: “Maxim, I’d like to play Bach’s Chaconne for you.” I said:, “But Ida, it’s already late. It’s 1AM.” She replied: “I know, but I really want to play it for you. We’ll go up to your room. I want to hear your opinion.” We went to my room, she just took the violin, and without event warming up she just ran through the piece without a single wrong note. It was a magnificent interpretation… Not to mention the fact that she played like a 20-year old girl. It’s amazing how she is able to transform herself… She looks young anyway. But as soon as she starts playing she becomes a different person."
"Music is part of everything – music is life itself. I don’t understand how people can exist without music. I see no existence without music because it was part of me almost since I was born."