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Maud Powell (1867 - 1920)

Maud Powell was possibly the first American woman to gain an international reputation as a violinist. As was so often the case at the time, this was brought about by her extensive European training encompassing both the Franco-Belgian and German schools of playing. This said, her warm but restrained tone and serious, sensitive musicianship based on a thorough understanding of the music she played owed much, both technically and spiritually, to her connections with the classical German tradition and her study in two of its most important centres: Leipzig and Berlin. As a young student, Powell was notoriously disciplined, beginning her day at 6.30am with an hour’s practice before breakfast and developing her ‘Ten Practice Rules: Concentrate; Play in tune; Practise scales religiously; Practise slowly; Practise long bows slowly, slowly, slowly; Memorise everything; Keep in mind the structure of the composition; Play before people; Hear other violinists; Love your instrument as yourself’.

Her recordings, made from 1904 for the Victor Talking Machine Company, show eclectic tastes; she soon developed a versatility of technique and style commensurate with some of the newer compositions, including Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, with which she became associated.




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