Terrifying new study suggests '1 in 10 violin prodigies attempt suicide'

22 October 2015, 17:35 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 14:45

The harsh truth of being a virtuoso musician at a young age is spelled out in a new book - and violinists don’t come out of it well.

In her new book, Izabela Wagner spoke to nearly 100 child prodigies and was told by one former soloist that the odds were not good:

“For every ten students, one will attempt suicide, one will become mentally ill, two will become alcoholics, two will slam doors and jettison the violin out the window, three will work as violinists, and perhaps one will become a soloist.”

Wagner herself is mother to an elite young violinist, and says in her book that she developed mixed emotions as a result of writing about it.

“I tried to retreat and find ways for my son to leave this milieu and find another field of study and work. But I failed, for the bonds between him and the soloist elite were too tightly wound for his escape.”

These assertions are perhaps unsurprising given the staunch international competition for orchestral and soloist work, but to have them displayed so bluntly in Wagner’s book is quite shocking.

Find out more about Wagner’s book here, and an in-depth article on it here.