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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Nov 20, 2020

I’m very excited to have world-renowned violinist Leila Josefowicz on the show for you today!

As you’ll hear in our discussion, Leila is a profoundly passionate and dedicated musician who approaches her craft with great depth and she shares incredible wisdom with us.

Among many things, Leila elaborates on:

  • The power of memorization
  • What the “practice of violin playing” means to her
  • How exploring new repertoire helped her transition out of her “child prodigy” years
  • Her advice to all musicians suffering from lack of motivation
  • The importance of desire and dedication in the cultivation of talent
  • How our need to feel comfortable while performing is counterproductive
  • Vivid mindful practice

This is a particularly powerful conversation, and I know you’ll find inspiration and incredible value in this episode.



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Find all the details for Leila’s World Premiere performance of ‘la linea evocativa. un disegno per violino solo’ by Matthias Pintscher HERE.

On the occasion of ‘George Condo. Internal Riot’ we are honored to host classical violinist Leila Josefowicz in the gallery to perform a new piece of original music in response to ‘George Condo. Internal Riot,’ an exhibition of the artist’s new paintings and works on paper that runs through 23 January 2021 at Hauser & Wirth New York.

‘Music is such a huge part of my life, without it I don’t know if I’d ever have painted anything. There are so many great pieces of music that have inspired me to paint…My favorite thing is to put on a record in the studio and to still be painting without noticing the fact that the music has stopped playing for hours and is just running through my head.’–George Condo

The performance comes at an incredibly challenging time for professional musicians. Condo is deeply aware of the adversity they face, and this specially organized event signifies his support for live music and for new ways in which it can reach people.

Join us on Friday 20 November 2020 11 am PST / 2 pm EST / 7 pm GMT. 

Click here to register.

The performance will be streaming live from New York City on



Leila’s last Pre-Covid performance in Prague, Performing the Alban Berg Violin Concerto with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra:



Leila Josefowicz’s passionate advocacy of contemporary music for the violin is reflected in her diverse programmes and enthusiasm for performing new works. In recognition of her outstanding achievement and excellence in music, she won the 2018 Avery Fisher Prize and was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, joining prominent scientists, writers and musicians who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.

Highlights of Josefowicz’s 2019/20 season include opening the London Symphony Orchestra’s season with Sir Simon Rattle and returning to San Francisco Symphony with the incoming Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen to perform his Violin Concerto. Further engagements include concerts with Los Angeles Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, where she will be working with conductors at the highest level, including Susanna Mälkki, Matthias Pintscher and John Adams.


A favourite of living composers, Josefowicz has premiered many concertos, including those by Colin Matthews, Steven Mackey and Esa-Pekka Salonen, all written specially for her. This season, she will perform the UK premiere of Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Dalia Stasevska. Other recent premieres include John Adams’Scheherazade.2 (Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra) in 2015 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, and Luca Francesconi’s Duende – The Dark Notes in 2014 with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki. Josefowicz enjoyed a close working relationship with the late Oliver Knussen, performing various concerti, including his violin concerto, together over 30 times.

Alongside pianist John Novacek, with whom she has enjoyed a close collaboration since 1985, Josefowicz has performed recitals at world-renowned venues such as New York’s Zankel Hall, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and London’s Wigmore Hall, as well as in Reykjavik, Chicago, San Francisco and Santa Barbara. This season, they appear together at Washington DC’s Library of Congress, New York’s Park Avenue Armory and Amherst College. She will also join Thomas Adès in recital to perform the world premiere of his new violin and piano work at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the Japanese premiere at the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation.

Recent highlights include engagements with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Boston and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras. In summer 2019, Josefowicz took part in a special collaboration between Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Ballet, and Company Wayne McGregor featuring the music of composer-conductor Thomas Adès.

Josefowicz has released several recordings, notably for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips/Universal and Warner Classics and was featured on Touch Press’s acclaimed iPadapp, The Orchestra. Her latest recording, released in 2019, features Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted byHannu Lintu. She has previously received nominations for Grammy Awards for her recordings of Scheherazade.2 with the St Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.



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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.

Thank you to Susan Blackwell for the introduction!  You can find out more about Susan, her fantastic podcast The Spark File, and her work helping creatives of all backgrounds expand their impact by visiting

Also a HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly!