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Who are the most popular string players in the US?

Hilary Hahn Credit Michael Patrick O'Leary

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has handily published this wonderfully detailed data about the concerts played in the 2014–2015 season by the top 21 US orchestras. The reason, they say, is that ‘numbers can occasionally provide context for ongoing conversations in classical music or highlight trends’. As they point out, there are obvious trends about the lack of female composers, which must be addressed. But for our string-nerd purposes, I’ve looked at the soloist column of the sheet, to see how string players are faring this season.

In the violin camp, we see that there’s a fairly healthy spread of names, pleasingly split exactly 50/50 male to female. Hilary Hahn tops the list with seven appearances, although she has had to pull out of concerts recently, which leaves Augustin Hadelich and Gil Shaham the busiest players, with six appearances each. The usual suspects are mainly there, although one might expect to see more activity from some of the bigger European names, who only appear once. There’s a good range of ages up to the 40ish mark, but as ever, performers seem to drop off a ledge at that age, with only Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman representing the grey of hair. The cello situation seems less healthy, with a smaller pool of players, and three players dominating at the top with five concerts each – Yo-Yo Ma, Alisa Weilerstein and Gautier Capuçon. And sadly I couldn't find a single viola or double bass solo appearance with orchestra.

Anyway, here is a list of names, with the number of concerts they have played or will play with the 21 orchestras researched. If you find anything I've missed, please let me know:


Hilary Hahn 7

Augustin Hadelich 6

Gil Shaham 6

Christian Tetzlaff 5

Leila Josefowicz 5

Lisa Batiashvili 5

Alina Ibragimova 3

Anne-Sophie Mutter 3

Baiba Skride 3

Itzhak Perlman 3

Jame Ehnes 3

Jennifer Koh 3

Joshua Bell 3

Leonidas Kavakos 3

Midori 3

Sarah Chang 3

Alexander Barantschik 2

Frank Peter Zimmerman 2

Julian Rachlin 2

Karen Gomyo 2

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg 2

Nicola Benedetti 2

Pinchas Zukerman 2

Valeriy Sokolov 2

Violinists who are playing one concert each:

Alexander Kerr

Alina Pogostkina

Arabella Steinbacher

Benjamin Beilman

Carolin Widmann

Daniel Hope

Elena Urioste

Erin Schreiber

Eva Kozma

Frank Almond

Frank Huang

Fumiaki Miura

Ilana Setapen

Isabelle Faust

Janine Jansen

Julia Fischer

Martin Chalifour

Nikolaj Znaider

Noah Bendix-Balgley

Pekka Kuusisto

Philippe Quint

Rainer Honeck

Ray Chen

Silvian Iticovici

Simone Lamsma

Vadim Gluzman

Vadim Repin

Veronika Eberle

Vilde Frang

William Preucil


Alisa Weilerstein 5

Gautier Capuçon 5

Yo-Yo Ma 5

Claudio Bohórquez 2

Lynn Harrell 2

Cellists who are appearing once in the season:

Alban Gerhardt

Amanda Forsythe

Anthony Ross

Brinton Averil Smith

James Czyzewski

Johannes Moser

Joshua Roman

Narek Hakhnazaryan

Sol Gabetta

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