Vanessa-Mae, a British violinist with album sales reaching several million, has said, “Violin playing is a physical art with great traditions behind it.” The violin, that small string instrument sometimes informally called a fiddle, regardless of the type of music played on it, is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the violin family in regular use. It typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings.
Author Jim Fiebig has said, “No one should be allowed to play the violin until he has mastered it.” There is no doubt that Rob Landes, an award-winning violinist from Orem, Utah has definitely mastered the skill of playing the violin as evidenced in his music videos and live performances. This week’s “Video Find of the Week” features Landes on a crowded market street in downtown Bangkok, Thailand performing an impressive cover of Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive.”
Joshua David Bell, an American violinist and conductor, has said, “The violin sings. . .. When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.” Landes definitely has a way of telling a story as he performs, leaving his audience awestruck. In his brief Facebook bio, he comments, “Give me a violin, an amp, and a pedal and I’ll give you a killer video.”
Landes was born to a large musical family and started playing the violin at the age of 3 in Orem, Utah. He gave his first solo recital at 10 years old, performed in the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on the Disney Channel with the Disney Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, and founded a piano trio that performed actively throughout his teenage years. He also played at the summer festivals in Colorado and toured in Europe with the Brigham Young University Chamber Orchestra. He admits that he did not enjoy practicing the violin growing up, but if it were not for the fact that he is a musician, he would have missed out on a lot of great opportunities to visit many parts of the world.
He has had the honor of being the first prize winner at numerous music competitions, and he has performed solo with the Utah Symphony, Utah Valley Symphony, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, BYU Philharmonic, and BYU Chamber Orchestra. As a first violinist of the BYU Chamber Orchestra, he performed in more than twenty cities throughout central and southern Europe. As concertmaster of the orchestra, he gave a concert to a sold-out audience in New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Rob is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and performs with the Orchestra at Temple Square. He recently won the award for “Best Instrumental” at the Utah Music Awards for his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” About playing music, Rob comments, “I love music. It’s a gift I can give to people. Music is really something everyone can learn if you really work at it. I want people to know that through hard work great things are possible.”