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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Oct 25, 2019

Today, I’m very excited to have the brilliant violinist, violist, and conductor Julian Rachlin on the show!

At the end of this very busy week, playing with and conducting the Chicago Symphony, Julian graciously took the time to sit with me and discuss meticulous practicing, mindful music-making, and his deep love of the art form!

He covers many topics, including studying with Boris Kuschnir and Mr. Kuschnir’s thorough approach to mastering the instrument, his views on the lifelong path that is growing as an artist, his daily practice regimen, and how playing the viola and conducting have allowed him to explore music from different angles.

Julian elaborates on:

  • How he believes we are never done learning
  • How the fact that his parents never made him practiced helped foster his deep love of music
  • His daily practice regimen
  • Why the responsibility to grow as an artist lies with the student
  • How musicians are a community
  • How playing the viola and conducting allow him to explore music from different angles
  • Why we should brush our taste as often as we brush our teeth
  • Finding the right balance between being completely open-minded and fully convinced (and when to be which)




YouTube channel:



Elisabeth Gilels: Daily Exercises for the Violinist

Boris Kuschnir:


Violinist, violist and conductor Julian Rachlin is one of the most exciting and respected musicians of our time. In the first thirty years of his career, he has performed as soloist with the world's leading conductors and orchestras. Mr. Rachlin is Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. He also leads the "Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival" in Palma de Mallorca.

Highlights of Mr. Rachlin's 2018/19 season include performances with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Mariss Jansons, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Juanjo Mena, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck, as well as the KBS Symphony Orchestra and Myung-Whun Chung. Alongside soloist Sarah McElravy and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, he will perform the UK premiere of Penderecki's Double Concerto for Violin and Viola, which is dedicated to him. Additionally, Mr. Rachlin will conduct among others the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Essen Philharmonic, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.

Julian Rachlin's recent highlights include a residency at the Prague Spring Festival and his own cycle at the Vienna Musikverein. He also performed with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Yuri Temirkanov, Filarmonica della Scala and Riccardo Chailly, Munich Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Philharmonia Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale and Vladimir Ashkenazy, as well as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Lahav Shani. As conductor, he toured Europe with the English Chamber Orchestra, and led the Royal Northern Sinfonia across South America and Japan. Additionally, he conducted the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia, Hungarian National Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, and made his USA conducting debut at the Grand Teton Music Festival.

In recital and chamber music, Mr. Rachlin performs regularly with Itamar Golan, Denis Kozhukhin, Denis Matsuev, Mischa Maisky, Sarah McElravy, Vilde Frang and Janine Jansen.

Born in Lithuania, Mr. Rachlin immigrated to Vienna in 1978. He studied violin with Boris Kuschnir at the Vienna Conservatory and with Pinchas Zukerman. After winning the "Young Musician of the Year" Award at the Eurovision Competition in 1988, he became the youngest soloist ever to play with the Vienna Philharmonic, debuting under Riccardo Muti. At the recommendation of Mariss Jansons, Mr. Rachlin studied conducting with Sophie Rachlin. Since September 1999, he is on the violin faculty at the Music and Arts University of Vienna. His recordings for Sony Classical, Warner Classics and Deutsche Grammophon have been met with great acclaim. Mr. Rachlin, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is committed to educational outreach and charity work.

Julian Rachlin plays the 1704 "ex Liebig" Stradivari and a 1785 Lorenzo Storioni viola, on loan to him courtesy of the Dkfm. Angelika Prokopp Privatstiftung. His strings are kindly sponsored by Thomastik-Infeld.


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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 fantastic producer, Bella Kelly!