Best Student Violin Concertos of All Time

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The best violin concertos of all time including all different types of violin music and famous violin concertos songs that everyone knows and loves.

The violin is one of the most popular instruments in classical music. Plenty of composers have written concertos for it, and you’ll find a lot of them in this canon. Listening to music is something a lot of people do and I hope this guide helps make things clearer.

As a professional violinist, violist and teacher, my experience means that I’ve had both the opportunity to perform and listen to some great music, and taught hundreds of violin concertos. There’s no denying that each one of us has their own favorite composers. I think it’s important to point out, though, that any list claiming to have the “greatest concertos of all time” is going to be subjective.

Here you’ll find my favourite violin concertos or ones I think are the most important in the history of classical music. One last thing you should know is that I’ve included some of my favorite versions of these songs. Give them a listen and we’ll get your toes tapping!

Violin concertos are as diverse as classical music itself, and there are many different aspects that can make a piece great. The violin’s wide range, emotional power and its ability to cut through an orchestra all make it the perfect instrument for a concerto. Best Concerts are ones that draw you in and tell a story.

Time Periods of Violin Concertos

Composers have been writing violin concertos for all of modern classical music history, so there are examples from every significant era of classical music.

Here are the five main time periods:

Baroque Period

The Baroque period covers from around 1600 to 1750 and has a significant effect on how classical music is written. Prominent composers from this time include Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Telemann, Tartini and Monteverdi.

Classical Period

The Classical era happened after the Baroque era and marked a huge change in instrumental music. It’s still used as a foundation for music compositions today. The classical music era spans from about 1730 to 1820, and popular composers include Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Muzio Clementi, and Leopold Mozart.

Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert are considered to be transitional figures between the Classical period (1790 – 1830) and the Romantic period (1830 – 1880).

Romantic Era

Romanticism was a popular movement in art and literature in the 1800s, and that inspirational spirit also extends to composers and their music. Romantic era classical music generally features an open-ended, expressive sound, as opposed to rigid compositions with strict boundaries.

The period spans from roughly 1800 to 1910. It includes prominent composers like Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Frederic Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann and so on.

20th Century

Experimental and unheard-of genres were introduced in the 20th century and composers started to experiment with different types of techniques. By doing this, they broke free from traditional norms for classical music.

Many acclaimed composers such as Richard Strauss, Edward Elgar, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schoenberg and Tolkien can be credited with pioneering the music of their respective eras. More recently Philip Glass and Phillip Maher have both contributed to new forms of composition.

21st Century

Given how it’s less popular than before, composers have come up with many different solutions to make their music more accessible. They’re also using genres that people like as well as technological improvements. Some of the most famous composers are Kaija Saariaho, Jennifer Higdon, Eric Whitacre and Nico Muhly.

Top Student Violin Concertos

We have selected the best violin concertos based on their significance for the classical canon, their compositional quality and the most important concerts for students.

Playing in a band helps beginners to turn into mid-level players and expose their instrument to new techniques, sounds and emotions. Some concerts are definitely better suited for beginners than others. Regardless of whether you are an adult or a child, performing these for beginners will make you fall in love with the violin. However, I must warn you that these amazing violin concertos for beginners have a habit of leading novice violinists into the realm of average musical skill!

* We know that in the name of some of them there is a “concertino”, not a “concert”, but by definition a concertino is a short or simple concert.

1. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Musical era: Classical/Romantic periods
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Year: 1806
  • Favorite recording:Itzhak Perlman with Daniel Barenboim and Berliner Philharmoniker, 1992

Beethoven’s violin concerto received little attention at the time it was composed, unlike many of his other works. This all changed in 1844 when Joseph Joachim, a 12-year-old violinist, performed a revival performance with Felix Mendelssohn’s London Philharmonic Society orchestra.

Beethoven’s concerto is now one of the most well-known violin concertos in classical music history. It bridges the gap between Romantic and Classical periods, and is heavily influenced from the French style composition of the period. It is notoriously difficult and requires great skill and mastery.

2. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77, Johannes Brahms

  • Musical era: Romantic period
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Year: 1878
  • Favorite recording: Janine Jansen with Chamber Orchestra of Europe conducted by Bernard Haitink, 2013

Brahms continued to follow the Beethoven’s German Violin Concerto tradition, writing another piece in the same key and dedicating it to Joseph Joachim, who performed the revival of Beethoven’s concerto. Joachim insistent on starting with Beethoven’s concerto at the premiere of Brahms’ concerto and ending it with the new work.

The concerto is revered in the violin repertoire and is loved by many. It is expressive, virtuosic and breathtakingly beautiful. It is the epitome of this genre. The concerto is not only a staple of classical music but it also features in the 2007 movie There Will Be Blood. It’s also featured in the 2004 Alicia Keys hit “Karma”.

3. Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219

  • Musical era: Classical period
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Year: 1775
  • Favorite recording: Isabelle Faust and the musicians of Il Giardino Armonico conducted by Giovanni Antonini, 2016

Mozart’s violin concertos are a quintessential example of Classical era concertos and follow a relatively uniform fast-slow-fast, three-movement structure. These concerto have been popular with music students and professionals for a while. They require you to have absolute control of the instrument.

Here’s an interesting and catchy tune that you could tell other people about

4. Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Musical era: Baroque period
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year: 1730
  • Favorite recording: Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman with Zubin Mehta, 1980

Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, also known as ‘The Bach Double’, is one of his most famous works. It’s performed by violin students all the time. While Debussy’s work is technically easier than that of Beethoven or Brahms, it is still complex in its own right.

As a long-time favorite for concerts, this piece is worth practicing as it’s ideal for competitions.

5. Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  • Musical era: Romantic period
  • Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Year: 1878
  • Favorite recording: Julia Fischer with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with conductor Vasily Petrenko, 2013

Russian composer Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto is one of the most popular violin concertos of all time. Although the work was written in the same year as Brahms’s concerto and is in the same key, it differs greatly.

In contrast to the other violin concerto he wrote, this one was different. It’s from his Romantic period and it’s a favorite in school and for professionals alike.

6. Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117, Bela Bartok

  • Musical era: 20th century
  • Composer: Bela Bartok
  • Year: 1937-38
  • Favorite recording: Augustin Hadelich, with conductor Vasily Petrenko and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, 2017

Bela Bartok wrote two violin concertos over the course of his career, but only his second gained any recognition. The second concerto was written around 1937-1938 when Bartok had to worry about the rise of fascism in Europe.

A concerto is a 20th century music masterpiece. They often use newer techniques, including 12-tone scoring, which breaks away from the traditional tonal structure of the Classical and Romantic periods. The formal boundaries are also less rigid in concerto form than they are in other forms like sonata form or rondo.

7. Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, Jean Sibelius

  • Musical era: Romantic period/20th century
  • Composer: Jean Sibelius
  • Year: 1904
  • Favoriterecording: Sarah Chang with conductor Jaap van Zweden and the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, 2011

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was a violin concerto writer before his most well known piece. What many people don’t know is that when he died, Sibelius left behind a whopping 2,141 works in total. A lot of these compositions were composed for different orchestra ensembles and often featured Finnish nationalism. He also created lots of music for both symphonic music and chamber music. His violin concerto, meanwhile, fuses many musical styles including.

The violin concerto is an incredible piece of music that has both sweep and an emotional touch. This piece is so much loved as to be a must-know for violins and there are many professional soloists and students who love playing it.

8. Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, Felix Mendelssohn

  • Musical era: Romantic period
  • Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
  • Year: 1844
  • Favorite recording: Janine Jansen with conductor Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, 2011

Mendelssohn’s violin concerto is one of the most popular pieces of concert music ever written. Mendelssohn’s concerto is the 3rd most important on the German list, following Beethoven and Brahms. It has a touch of magic, lyrics, and is just all-around enjoyable to listen to.

There are a handful of pieces written for the violin that are great for students. This one is popular because it can be challenging without being too hard, so if a student is just starting to get into playing then this piece will work well. It’s performed by professional violinists often as well.

9. Violin Concerto in D, Wynton Marsalis

  • Musical era: 21st century
  • Composer: Wynton Marsalis
  • Year: 2019
  • Favorite recording: Nicola Benedetti with conductor Cristian Macelaru and the Philadelphia Orchestra, 2019

The iconic trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is best known for his impact on jazz, but has been starting to explore the world of composing classical music. For his friend and world-famous violinist Nicola Benedetti, the violin concerto was a masterfully written work.

This piece is based on organic connections between classical symphonic writing and jazz, African American musicians, Scottish poets and the collaboration with Benedetti.

10. Violin Concerto, Jennifer Higdon

  • Musical era: 21st century
  • Composer: Jennifer Higdon
  • Year: 2008
  • Favorite recording: Hilary Hahn and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 2010

Jennifer Higdon is one of the most eminent composers alive- and her violin concerto is often considered the best (or one of the best) in her time. The concerto was written for Hilary Hahn and premiered by Hahn and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra with the conductor Mario Venzano on February 6th, 2009.

Higdon’s concerto is divided into three movements. Each of the movements uses different elements of what the violin can do to display its abilities. It got a pretty good reception and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010.

11. Violin Indian Concertino by George Perlman

If you’re not sure which violin concerto to start out with, might as well try out the Indian Concerto. It is one of the very best violin concertos for beginners. This is a really cool and easy-to-follow song. The beat is pretty simple and you’ll notice some recurring patterns which make it nice to listen to! The rhythm is mostly made up of quarter notes and eighth notes; but you do also have dotted quarter and half notes.

You can have fun with triplets and sixteenth notes, but they aren’t worth worrying about. They stay on the same note as you bow the rhythm. There are three movements. The first movement, as is the norm with concertos, is medium-speed and difficult. The second movement is slower, more beautiful and slightly easier. The final movement is more exciting and slightly faster.

Although not difficult, the piano accompaniment adds a lot to the piece and plays many of the ‘background Indian drums. This is a piece I loved as a child. My daughter now plays from the old copy. She said that it was her old copy when I explained to her. This song, while not old, is definitely an “oldie but goodie”.

12. Violin Concerto Op. 35 B Minor by Oskar Rieding

In preparation for soloing in the local orchestra, my daughters are currently learning the first movement. If you have an orchestra score, this concerto is great fun.

This one is in minor key and produces a beautiful sound. There are some accidentals (1st, 3rd fingers), but that is nothing my daughter, who has just learned Indian Concertino, couldn’t handle.

Both the first and second movements are beautiful and easy. The difficulty level of the third movement is higher. The third movement ends with fast sixteenth notes

Itzhak Perlman recorded a 1999 recording titled “Concertos from My Childhood”. One of these is the Rieding Op. 35. It’s brilliant! Itzhak stated that he knew this song before he was 8.

13. Violin Concerto in G. Op. 11 by Ferdinand Kuchler

This is the concerto that my son loves most. This concerto is a great choice if you want a professional-sounding, but very easy concerto. The rhythm is mainly 8th, quarter and half notes (until 3rd movement). Some accidentals and runs can be difficult to master, but they are also extremely rewarding. The 2nd movement is my favorite. It reminds me of Ave Maria, and it has a beautiful melody.

Kuchler’s work is a favorite of mine. Kuchler was a great violinist who spent a lot of his time teaching and pedagogy. He understands the needs of beginner violinists and wrote this piece with them in mind. Check out the Op. 12 and Op. 12 and Op. Another fantastic Kuchler item.

14. Violin Concerto Op. 13 Leo Portnoff

Are you ready to take it up a notch? This concerto is not for beginners as it contains a lot of flat accidentals, meter variations, and chords. It is worth learning!

The first and third movements feel like mini concertos within concertos to me. The first movement is particularly melodic and slows down in middle. It then ends with a fun and showy conclusion.

Portnoff was the first time I fell in love with him. The Russian Fantasia is an amazing composition! That was the piece that inspired me to write this concerto. Portnoff was born in Ukraine in 1875. I believe he is an undervalued and underplayed composer, especially for intermediate to advanced violinists. Portnoff awareness is my goal! Let’s make more Portnoff!

15. Student Concertino No. 4 Op. 8 by Adolf Huber

Last, but not least, is an ‘ancient concertino’ that I played in my youth. This mini concerto was written in the romantic period, three cheers for romantic style. It consists of one movement and 3 sections.

The first section has a good-sized section with 16th notes running up and down. It is located in a simple key, with accidental c sharps coming to your rescue.

Because of the flats in key signature, the middle section can be difficult. Huber is truly testing beginning violinists using his sharp accidentals. Huber’s left hand is often stretched one step and a quarter between a flat first finger, and a sharp second finger.

The last page was the first time I can remember feeling the “violinist high”. Double stops are mostly open string so they’re not too difficult to play, but will impress any audience. Huber’s 16th note interludes are a highlight of the double stops. Huber has created an effect that makes it seem like the violinist is shifting to third position, even though the instrument remains in the first position.

Best Violin Concertos Composers

Many composers have tried their hand at the violin concerto. I’m not sure about the results, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them! As a musician and teacher, I think there are three compossers who have been the best in this genre.

Johannes Brahms

Brahms’ violin concerto is a masterpiece and unique in its scope and art. I remember the first time I heard this song. It was such an emotional moment for me, and I don’t think anything can compare to its depth of character or expression.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s violin concerto is the earliest evidence of the genre and got people to realize how important it is. The violin became one of the most prevalent instruments in classical pieces ever since. Beethoven’s life spanned two periods of classical music: the Classical, and Romantic. His violin concerto is widely considered to be one of the most significant pieces of music in history.

Jean Sibelius

The Sibelius violin concerto ranks third in the violin repertoire. It is a masterpiece of art. Although Sibelius may not be as well-known as other classical composers his violin concerto is still a great piece of art. Every violinist should learn and study this concerto.

Conclusion

Since ancient times, the Violin Concerto has been a foundation of classical music. Nearly every great composer of classical music has attempted to write it. The violin’s expressive and acoustic capabilities make it a perfect instrument for concert music. It is also a unique instrument that allows the composer to harness all of its strengths to create works that are truly extraordinary.

Although most violin concertos are three-part, many composers have extended the structure to create their own compositional styles and features. This is a guideline to the genre. These lists may be a good starting point for you to listen.

FAQ for Top Student Violin Concertos

What is a student violin concerto?

A student violin concerto is a form of classical music that has been around for centuries. They are often composed as a solo piece, but they can also be written for an orchestra.

You can also call it an arrangement. It is usually composed in the style of the concerto form, which is one of the most common forms in classical music.

The most popular violin concerto is the “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Are there any differences between violin and viola concertos?

Violin and viola concertos are similar in many ways but have some differences. The most significant difference is that the viola concerto has a greater number of movements.

The most popular violin concertos are those that have been performed more often than others. This is because they are typically composed in the classical era of music and were designed to be performed by professional musicians.

What makes a good violin concerto?

It is difficult to answer this question because it is subjective. There are many factors that contribute to the success of a violin concerto, such as the composition and the instrumentation.

How long do student violin concerto last?

The duration of a violin concerto can vary from about five to twenty minutes. It is usually performed by a soloist and an orchestra or band.

How did student violin concerto become so popular?

The violin concerto that was composed by a young Hungarian composer, Franz Joseph Haydn, is one of the most popular classical pieces of all time. It has been performed and recorded by many artists and has been adapted in various genres such as opera and film.

It is not known how this piece became so popular but it is believed that the popularity of this piece came from its ability to capture different emotions.

Is there a difference between classical and popular violin concertos?

The difference between the two types of violin concertos lies in the tempo and sound. Classical violin concertos are slower, have a more mellow sound, and are often played on period instruments. Popular violin concertos have a faster tempo and are played on modern violins with a more vibrant sound.

In general, classical pieces are characterized by their slower tempos, which create a more relaxed atmosphere for listeners. Popular pieces can be faster-paced and may require more energy from the performer to keep up with the music being performed.

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