Left-Handers Day 2019: celebrating the most successful left-handed classical musicians
Left-handed composers and musicians are few and far between, but we've found the most notable ones - you'll be surprised at how many classical legends are Southpaws! #LeftHandersDay
1. Sergei Rachmaninov
Not only was the Russian piano great famous for his massive hands, he was also famous for being a total Southpaw. You'd think that'd make his right-hand parts easier to play, wouldn't you?
2. Carl Philippe Emmanuel Bach
Carl Philippe Emmanuel Bach is thought to have been a lefty due to something his father, JS Bach, wrote in a letter that his son needed to work on building up his right hand to match his left.
3. Ludwig Van Beethoven
This one is officially unconfirmed, but Beethoven's sometime biographer Schindler thought he was left-handed after seeing him hold his quill in his left hand when composing. However, he's most-often painted with the quill in his right.
4. Glenn Gould
The legendary pianist's hands were beset by physical problems throughout his career, and he kept in constant contact with doctors - but that doesn't diminish the fact that his left hand was a mighty, mighty instrument in itself.
5. Paul Wittgenstein
He might not be the most famous name on this list of musical left-handers, but Paul Wittgenstein is one of the most important. When he lost his right hand during the First World War, he came back more determined than ever to play the piano successfully, and commissioned several important works for the left hand alone. Among these were Ravel's incredible Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and another concerto by Prokofiev that was never performed.
6. Wolfgang Mozart
There are varying schools of thought on Mozart's dominant handedness - some think he was truly left-handed, but others believe he may in fact have been ambidextrous. Certainly education at the time tended to favour the right-handers, but that doesn't mean Mozart wasn't' equally as adept with his left…
7. Niccolo Paganini
There don't appear to be any definitive sources on this one, but the majority seem to think that Paganini's devilish left hand was indeed the dominant. Combine this with another theory that suggests he had Marfan Syndrome (resulting in an elongation of tendons and joints - also suffered by Rachmaninov), and you've got some serious pizzicato going on.
8. Daniel Barenboim
The Argentinean piano legend is yet another big-hitting left-hander, but he still holds his conducting baton in his right hand.
9. Nicola Benedetti
The Scottish violinist claims she doesn't have any memories of before she played the violin, but she shared this early one in a 2010 interview: "I couldn't stop crying because, being a shy, small girl and left-handed, I kept holding the instrument the wrong way and felt terribly self-conscious." Picture: Gobinder Jhitta