10. Northwestern University Bienen School of Music – Evanston, IL
Notable Faculty: Gerardo Ribeiro, Frank Almond, Almita Vamos, Robert Hanford, Blair Milton
Northwestern’s violin faculty is among the most outstanding of all colleges in the midwest. Two concertmasters of world-renowned orchestras, the Chicago Lyrics Opera and the Milwaukee Symphony, Robert Hanford and Frank Almond respectively, are on the faculty of Northwestern University. Other teachers include Almita Vamos and Gerardo Ribeiro, both of which have won Presidential Excellence In Teaching Awards bestowed by the American String Teachers Association. Northwestern University has many unique opportunities available to violinists, including fellowship opportunities, at the graduate level, for both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Academically, Northwestern is among the top universities in the entire world, making this school a good option not only for violinists who wish to pursue a serious degree in music, but also for musicians who wish to pursue a double degree.
9. USC Thornton School of Music – Los Angeles, CA
Notable Faculty: Midori Goto, Glenn Dicterow, Suli Xue
One of the most famous living violinists of the 20th century, Midori Goto rose to prominence after a famous 1986 performance at Tanglewood under the baton of Leonard Bernstein when she was 15 years old. She broke the E string on her own violin, then borrowed the concertmaster Malcolm Lowe’s (who is on the NEC violin faculty) violin and broke the E string on his instrument, then borrowed a violin from another member of the orchestra all the while on stage. Bernstein knelt before her in awe by the end of it all.
Since then, she has gone on to a major international performance career and has also been named “Distinguished Professor” of Violin at USC Thornton, where advanced-level international talent throughout the globe auditions for limited spots in her studio. Other teachers include Glenn Dicterow, who is also on the faculties of Juilliard and MSM, as well as Suli Xue, a leading Chinese-American violinist and member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Listen to the Faculty: Check out Midori shredding on this CD of violin concerti of Mendelssohn and Bruch.
8. New England Conservatory – Boston, MA
Notable Faculty: Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Malcolm Lowe, Donald Weilerstein
One of the strongest string departments, the New England Conservatory hosts an impressive faculty of successful violinists and teachers, including Donald Weilerstein, one of the most significant chamber music violinists of our time who has toured and concertized extensively with the Weilerstein Trio, the college’s ensemble-in-residence. Malcolm Lowe, the principal violinist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has graduated very prominent students who have started a number of significant chamber ensembles, including the Tesla, Presidio, and Naples String Quartets. Paul Biss, one of classical academia’s most beloved teachers, has graduated students who entered the ranks of top symphonic orchestras, including the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Biss’ students also win many of the most coveted prizes in the world, with past students winning first prizes in the international Sibelius and Stulberg competitions.
7. Rice University Shepherd School of Music – Houston, TX
Notable Faculty: Paul Kantor, Cho-Liang Lin
Continuing in the pedagogical tradition of Juilliard’s great artist-faculty Dorothy DeLay, Paul Kantor has served on the faculties of Juilliard, the New England Conservatory, the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute, and Yale University, among other regarded institutions. His students are regular winners of the most coveted prizes in the highest classical music competitions, including those of Klein and Fischoff. He is one of the most highly sought-after professors of violin who has taught at the Aspen Music Festival for more than thirty years.
Cho-Liang Lin was “Instrumentalist of the Year” in 2000, according to the widely circulated publication Musical America. Additionally, he founded the Taipei International Music Festival 17 years ago, the very first major classical music festival in Taiwan. His students are among the most talented young and emerging performers today.
Listen to the Faculty: Cho-Liang Lin Performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto