Need some inspiration to keep playing? Here’s a 96-year-old violinist playing Massenet’s Méditation from Thaïs

This is what it sounds like when you’ve been playing an instrument for almost a century. Mr Barren, you are an inspiration.

Charles Barren violin at Dartington

If you ever needed a little reminder of the power of music to stay with you throughout life, this is it. For violinist Charles Barren, it’s spanned the decades, and indeed almost a century. The 96-year-old from Lincolnshire was back making music at the Dartington Summer School, and we couldn’t resist asking him for a tune.  

Barren has been playing violin for around 90 years. “I’ve been playing off and on all my life – some things get in the way, like the war.” He now plays every day.

He has been attending Dartington Summer School for over 30 years to practice chamber music. He says he likes playing sonatas, trios and quartets at the schools,  particularly Schubert’s String Quintet in C. Participants at the school range from teenagers to senior players like Charles – and they all play and study together.

Dartington Summer School takes place in a historic estate, nestled in the Devon countryside. The school offers masterclasses and performance workshops for players of all ages and stages throughout the summer, followed by performances every night, many featuring classical music’s biggest names. For more information, visit their website here.  

Here’s Charles, treating us to a solo version of Massenet’s Thaïs: Méditation. Bravo, Charles. Keep playing.

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Charles Barren

The 96-year-old violinist plays at Dartington Summer School, Devon.

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