Exuberant conductor knocks rare violin out of soloist’s hand in concerto nightmare

28 May 2024, 17:25

Violinist and conductor clash on stage

By Kyle Macdonald

A flourish of the baton from this conductor was meant to cue an oboe – but something far more dramatic happened, resulting in a ‘heart attack’ moment for a soloist on stage.

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One of the world’s leading violin virtuosos had a heart-in-mouth moment as his beloved violin was accidentally bumped out of his hands during a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Star Czech violinist Pavel Šporcl was playing at a 60th-anniversary concert for the Mlada Boleslav Chamber Orchestra, when conductor Marko Ivanovic extended his baton to his left to cue the end of the first movement.

To the horror of everyone present, Marko’s baton can be seen clipping the violin, sending it tumbling out of the soloist’s hands and hurtling towards the floor. Watch the drama in the video above.

Read more: Scientists X-rayed Paganini’s favourite violin, to reveal the deep secret of its sound

The soloist, with his wits about him, managed to stick out his foot to cushion his instrument’s fall. Remarkably, the violin remained intact and a quick strum of the strings confirmed it was still in tune and the concerto could continue as intended.

Pavel Šporcl and his blue violin with the Prague Symphonic Orchestra
Pavel Šporcl and his blue violin with the Prague Symphonic Orchestra. Picture: Alamy

“Only sheer luck and my lightning-quick reactions prevented a situation which could have resulted in a huge tragedy,” the violinist said afterwards.

“Fortunately, in this case, nothing major happened... except for the heart attack I almost got from it.”

Šporcl’s violin is made by contemporary Czech violin maker Jan Spidlen and has been gaining international renown due is its unique shape and striking blue colour. Sporcl visited Classic FM in 2022, to show off the beauty of the instrument, in both look and tone.

Pavel Šporcl and his violin will be starring at London’s Queen Elisabeth Hall this November. He’ll be performing Dvořák’s Violin Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra under new principal guest conductor Roberto Fores Veses.

Let’s hope there are no unexpected baton collisions between conductor and soloist in that concert.