Happy Violin Day—It’s Your Day to Play!

Performances and Artists

It’s time to limber up those fingers and rosin up that bow, because this Sunday, Dec. 13, is National Violin Day. Not a violinist or fiddler, you say? No matter—you can still be a part of this annual celebration by sending a nod out to all your friends and family members who are, and by enjoying some great music featuring violins throughout the day.

Because, did you know that, due to the extremely versatile nature of the violin, it’s the perfect accompaniment to almost any music style? So, whatever your favorite genre—rock ’n’ roll, pop, rap, hip hop, jazz, R&B, swing, blues, folk, country, bluegrass, ragtime, polka, mariachi, easy listening or classical—or your mood, you’ll have a diverse selection of music styles from which to choose.

Like National Violin Day, the exact origin of the violin is debatable. Many versions of stringed instruments—ranging from the Greek kithara of the 7th century B.C. to 15th-century Italy’s viola di braccio—seem to have contributed to its development. It is generally agreed upon, however, that the instrument we know today as the violin originated in Northern Italy during the first half of the 16th century and received further modification in the 18th and 19th centuries.

As for this “unofficial” national holiday honoring violins and those who play them, some believe it may have come about as a result of the numerous holiday concert performances featuring the bowed string instrument that are so prevalent this time of year.

At The Smith Center, we’ll be celebrating belatedly when 21-time Grammy Award-nominated violinist (and violist!) Pinchas Zukerman leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in our Reynolds Hall on Sunday, Jan. 17.

If you’re wondering how the string virtuoso landed a stint as guest conductor for one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, Mr. Zukerman explained to Spotlight, “In terms of conducting, it all begins with the strings, which are roughly two-thirds of the orchestra. They are a major factor to an orchestra having the right ‘sound.’”

Quite fittingly, the “sounds” for his program at The Smith Center will include Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5. Sounds right to us!

Pinchas Zukerman was a part of the 2015-2016 season.