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Darwin Shen: News

Rediscovered Bernstein - February 17, 2019

My old teacher once joked that I liked the play the unplayable.  Some others took that to meant that I had a penchant for difficult pieces by Ernst, Paganini or Wieniawski.  While that might have been true when I was in my 20's, I find that reconstructing or resurrecting lost violin pieces is much more my thing.

In this case, I was happy to be involved in the rediscovery of an arrangement made by Leonard Bernstein of "Somehwere" from West Side Story.  The complete story can be found at:

Top of the Morning to you! - March 14, 2017


Happy St Patrick's Day  Here are some videos as well as a link to an article I wrote about the project 
And yes, I put the SHEN in Shenanigans


Happy Holidays! - December 23, 2016


Happy Holidays to all and take a gander at this holiday favorite performed and notated by a certain Darwin Shen


Rhapsodic - November 30, 2016

My buddies and I put this together for the American Guild of Organists.

you might recognize the violinist


Congratulations Alex Beyer - May 29, 2016

Last summer Alex Beyer asked me to play a recital with him.  I did so without hesitation.  It is great pleasure that i can post here a little excerpt and congratulate him on winning Third Prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium.  

Some great players have been laureates and I'm sure this is just the start of a brilliant career for him!


Darwin Shen violin sulu-ist... - October 20, 2015

every year we try to do something interesting for halloween.  This year we were going to do something by Ennio Morricone but certain logistics made that impossible.  So with only days to spare I leapt into action and came up with the following.  

My inspiration was watching one of those awards shows where William Shatner came out and said his trademark lines and a soprano sang it live 

a new page.... - February 14, 2015

yes, I admit that I have been rather lax in my up keep of my webpage.  Frankly, I wonder about people who keep their website up to date.  Could it be that they have OCD?  Could it be that they have so much time that they can spend their time putting up little bits of information that they hope will make people more interested in them?

I will be honest, I have been busy working.  I am indeed fortunate and lucky to be a musician who is in demand. 

2015 however is a new year and I have decided that I am not satisfied with just being the violinist I was.  I am taking on more challenges and new risks.  

So come back soon and read about my adventures!

September 11th - September 2, 2011

I will be playing on September 11th and remembering the day 10 years ago when everything changed. 

The weekend after the horrible events I was scheduled to play a church service at Southport Congregational Church.  The pieces I had previously selected were quiet and soulful.  It was just what happened to be on the docket and now ten years later the church has asked me to perform those same pieces again on the 10th anniversary.

I have played them countless times since then and never attached the events to those pieces.

I will also be playing as the names of victims are read out on the green in Fairfield. 

On the first anniversary of the event I refused to play on the local TV station because the lady who contacted me said that it would be "good publicity" for me.  How could anyone say that or think that?  I told them to find a cellist.  I am sure they used the same line. 

Sometimes we should do things because it is the right thing to do, not for reward or benefit.  This is one of those times. 

the perils of performing - August 15, 2011

For those of you interested:

The Violin Audition Prep Program invites you to a lecture and performance given by Andrew Armstrong and Darwin Shen On August 24th at 12 pm.

Andrew, besides being a very dear friend, is a pianist of some renown.



The lecture will focus on his experiences on the international competition circuit as well as ways to try to get back on track when a performance has come off of the it were.

Andrew and I will end the session with a short performance together.

PREPARING - August 11, 2011

I started teaching the violin in college.  I don't know if I was a very good teacher back then.  I think my students now would be shocked at how much MORE mean I was back then.  Now I am just much more demanding and sarcastic. 

It is not unusual for me to tell a student that if they really want to kill me, a knife or a gun would be faster than the out of tune playing that they are trying to inflict upon me.  Is that nice?  No not really, but I have a different view of what is needed.  Most of the students who stay with me end up realizing that I really do care about how they do and how they learn.  I would rather that they go out and play well and be happy than just be happy in the lesson.  If life is a performance, it is what happens on stage that is what counts, not what happens in the lesson or practice room. 

I have had a lot of time to reflect on my musical education and I have been indeed lucky.  I count on my hands the teachers I have had and none of have been a negative influence. 

A number of years ago I started prepping kids specifically for auditions.  It was something that I had done for students for years and as a student myself done countless times. I realized that what I was teaching the students was not violin playing, but the skills for auditioning. The audition process is scary and the people who do the worst are not always the worst players, and conversely the people who do the best aren't necessarily the best players.

At times I played perfectly well as a student and didn't get in, on others I did not  do so well and won.  Days where I had memory slips and gotten an award and other days when I played perfectly and only got an honorable mention.  As a student it was incredibly frustrating.  What did one have to do? 

I performed the Paganini Violin Concerto a lot as a student, and I don't think I ever won a competition with it.  I know nobody else was playing anything that hard....but did the judges care?

With age and foresight, i can now tell you that, what I thought they were looking for, is not what they were looking for.  When I give my students pieces to audition with, they usually tell me that the other kids are playing this or that.  I tell them don't worry and invariably it works out. 

Starting August 22nd I'm running the Violin Audition Prep Program again.  I will be lecturing and having friends come to speak and perform.  I will post times for those lectures and please come and visit. 

in the recording studio - April 10, 2011



From time to time the opportunity arises that I am asked to go into the recording studio.  I usually don't go in because I like to work fast and sometimes the studio environment does not lead to that.  However I went into the studio at Millrose Music in New York ( and recorded a couple of songs with the soprano Lia Carter and pianist Barbara Mayer and we did it in a fast, efficient and fun manner.

You can find a link to the cd on, and I will soon be posting some samples on my audio page!

HAPPY NEW YEAR - January 3, 2011

I am trying to keep things up to date and have more info on here.  We'll see how long THAT new year's resolution lasts.

But please feel free to read my more frequent blog posts and browse my repertoire list. Admittedly my repertoire list is completely inaccurate.  I rarely play most of the pieces on the list.  My repertoire is heavily entrenched in short pieces and trying to remember which ones I play and type them down takes more time than some of the lengths of the pieces.

AUDIO CLIPS - November 18, 2010

If you go to my "MUSIC" section of the website, you will notice that I have redesigned this area to include nummerous clips from different types of works.  I have a section of unaccompanied music, sonatas, short pieces and even popular melodies. 

Some of these are available on my CD "In Performance" and others will be available on my upcoming release "In Concert" due out in the new year.

UPDATE: To confirm with practices of the 21st century, I have now provided VIDEO clips.  

Welcome to - November 12, 2010

Admittedly, I have never been much for self promotion, but it turns out that the web page is about as important these days as my trusted violin. So here we are. Do not judge too quickly this humble little abode in cyberspace. As time goes by, (paging Dooley Wilson) updates will be made to this page with better and brighter pages with bigger and better information! Thank you for dropping by!

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