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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Apr 23, 2021

I’m very exciting to have international violin soloist Leila Josefowicz on the show for the second time.

Leila shares incredible wisdom in our conversation, including:

  • Her outlook for how things are going to be like in the coming months
  • How her recent incredible project at The Metropolitan Museum of Art unfolded, from where it originated to the vision coming to reality
  • The significance of her performing Bach, and how she sees Bach as the music of infinite possibilities
  • What she calls the performance headspace
  • Thoughts about performance preparation and performance anxiety
  • What having fun in performance means to her
  • And many other wonderful musings !


This discussion is a window on the way artists like Leila approach a project - the power of the intention and the thoughtfulness they put behind each decision. How each aspect is carefully evaluated, weighed, and curated, and very angle crafted with care and love.




for Leila Josefowicz


Unseen in the field

a sapling trembled

naked. You touched


its slim trunk with

flayed fingertips,

tenderly and hard,


and it gave forth a cry,

oh. Sun ran like

water on line upon


line of buds. Bare,

you stood, electric,

head in this world,


feet planted. We

heard what we never

knew before.


Natania Rosenfeld


Independent Scholar

Professor Emerita of English, Knox College



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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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A HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly, who works really hard to make this podcast as pleasant to listen to as possible for you!

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