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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Oct 12, 2018

International viola soloist Matthew Lipman can be heard on the best stages around the world!  In this episode he discusses his road to success, how to practice and get ready for a competition, and the importance of mental preparation before a performance.

He elaborates on:

  • The importance of music education in the schools and the important of funding for music an arts programs in our public schools
  • Studying with Roland Vamos and how he directed his attention got directed in the right way early on in his training
  • Studying with Heidi Castelman and how she got him to focus on tone production
  • Studying with Tabea Zimmermann and how she got him to listen ever more to himself
  • How learning to listen to ourselves is so important and why feeling like we sound bad can be good: “when you are experiencing growth, you think that you sound horrible, and it helps you reach a new level”
  • How being consistent is key in progressing
  • How listening to the sound and tone can completely lead the way to huge progress
  • How you have to take a step back and understand how our body works and how the instrument responds instead of trying to push the sound
  • How preparing for competition can be hard, but focusing on the process and adopting the right mindset can really lead you to new heights
  • The process of preparing for an international competition

o   Choosing repertoire that “lets you shine”

o   Practice performing your repertoire a lot before the competition

o   Be organized – using chart and planning properly

o   Have clear and specific goals

  • How to efficiently work with metronome: how you can reach freedom through working with one
  • How preparing mentally for a performance is a long but important process
  • How you have to be able to zoom in on the details, and also zoom out and see the big picture




Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center:



His recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Rachel Barton Pine and the Academy of St-Martin in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner

Carl Fischer Foundation Studies for the Viola - Book 2 (from Opp. 45 and 74) performed by Matthew

Playing the Viola: Conversations with William Primrose, by David Dalton

Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra - featuring Erin Keefe and Matthew Lipman with the Minnesota Orchestra.


The recipient of a prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, 25-year-old American violist Matthew Lipman has been hailed by the New York Times for his "rich tone and elegant phrasing" and by the Chicago Tribune for his "splendid technique and musical sensitivity.” In demand as a soloist, he has recently performed concertos with the Minnesota, Illinois Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Wisconsin Chamber, Juilliard, Ars Viva Symphony, Montgomery Symphony, Innsbrook and Eggenfelden Festival orchestras and recitals at the WQXR Greene Space in New York City and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Highlights this season include a debut solo album on Cedille Records, which will include his own transcription of Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy and a world premiere by Brazilian composer Clarice Assad, and several performances of the Telemann Viola Concerto in Alice Tully Hall. The Telegraph praised Mr. Lipman as “gifted with poise and a warmth of timbre” on his Avie recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and the Academy of St Martin in the

Fields with Sir Neville Marriner, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard classical charts. He was the only violist featured on WFMT Chicago’s list of "30 Under 30" top classical musicians and has been profiled by The Strad and BBC Music magazines. Mr. Lipman performs internationally as a chamber musician with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as a member of CMS Two, at the Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Bad Kissingen, Malaga, and Ravinia Festivals, and regularly with distinguished artists like Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, and Pinchas Zukerman.

A top prizewinner of the Primrose, Tertis, Washington, Johansen, and Stulberg International Viola Competitions, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees as an inaugural Kovner fellow from The Juilliard School, where he continues to serve as teaching assistant to Heidi Castleman, and is currently mentored by Tabea Zimmermann in Kronberg, Germany. A native of Chicago, Mr. Lipman performs on a fine 1700 Matteo Goffriller viola loaned through the generous efforts of the RBP Foundation and an 1845 Dominque Peccatte viola bow.


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Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme!  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Also a huge thank you to my producer, Bella Kelly!




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