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  • Writer's pictureCraig Birchfield

Violin and Orchestra Quotes, Jokes and Quips

(I’ve gathered these from around the net.)

A violist and a friend were sitting in a coffee shop drinking coffee and watching the news on the TV on the wall. As they watched, the news anchor came on and said, “15 Brazilian soldiers were killed today…” The violist looks wide-eyed in horror at his friend and says, “Oh, that’s horrible! How many is a brazillian?”

Q: What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin? No-one minds if you spill beer on a fiddle.

How’s a violin like a vampire?

1) They sleep in cases 2) They leave marks on your neck 3) They melt in direct sunlight.

What do you call one pretty good violinist, one better-than-average violinist, one failed violinist, and someone who hates violinists who are all together in the same room? A string quartet.

I’ve heard that Violinist Mischa Elman was obsessive/compulsive about the adjustment of his violin. He’d often go into Wurlitzer’s (the biggest NY shop of that time) and complain that his soundpost was slightly out of place. Rather than argue with him, the wise shop foreman, Sacconi, would say “Yes Mr. Elman, you’re right!” He’d take it back to the shop, maybe loosen the tension of the strings a bit, have a cup of coffee, re-tune it, and bring it out. “What do you think now, Mr. Elman?” “Oh yes”, said Elman, “much better!”

“When Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1917, Mischa Elman, a leading violinist of the older generation, attended the concert in the company of the pianist Leopold Godowsky. At one point, Elman asked if it was getting uncomfortably hot in the hall, to which Godowsky quickly replied, “Not for pianists.”

Jascha Heifetz, who often played with pianist Arthur Rubinstein and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, often complained that Rubinstein always got top billing. “If the Almighty himself played the violin,” he once remarked, “the credits would still read ‘Rubinstein, God, and Piatigorsky – in that order.

The valet of Jascha Heifetz was talking to one of Heifetz’s friends and telling him how wonderful it was to be the violinist’s man; getting to hear all this great music from the great musician. When asked if he ever told Heifetz how he felt, the valet said no. The friend said, “You should tell him; he’d appreciate it.” So finally, after a concert, the valet said to his boss, “Maestro, that Brahms was just beautiful.” To which Heifetz replied, “You mean I finally played something you like?”

One Russian is an anarchist, two Russians are a chess game, three Russians are a revolution, and four Russians are the Budapest String Quartet. Jascha Heifetz

Szymon Goldberg was playing a recital, and backstage in the bathroom there was a toilet running audibly (to the people on stage and in the audience). Goldberg finally stopped the recital, went backstage, fixed the thing so it would not run, and then continued.

David Soyer gave a recital at a school. One of the pieces he played was a Prokofiev Sonata for Cello & Piano, which obviously the audience was not familiar with. At the conclusion of the last movement, no one applauded, since they didn’t know it was over. Mr. Soyer looked at the audience and said (in a voice both loud and with a distinct New York accent), “Dat’s da end uh-da piece.” The audience then applauded.

Jokes about poor maligned Viola and those who attempt to play it:

How many violists does it take to change a light bulb? None. They can’t get up that high!

Q: What is the difference between a violist and a terrorist? A: Terrorists have sympathizers.

Q: Which is smaller, a violin or a viola? A: They are actually the same size, but a violinist’s head is so much bigger.

A cop was walking down the street, and in front of a theater he came across a strange scene. A tuxedo-clad man was repeatedly kicking another man who was down on the sidewalk. “‘Ere ‘ere, wot’s all this?” the cop said, or words to that effect. Tux: Well, see, officer, I’m a violist.

Cop: So?

Tux: It’s like this– during a break, he came down from the audience and detuned one of my strings!

Cop: That’s all very well, but I don’t see why that entitles you to be kicking this poor gentleman.

Tux, Well, you see officer, he won’t tell me which string!

More to come!

Keep Practicing,


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