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LA Phil’s Nathan Cole Hosts 2020 “Violympics”

May 19, 2020

The coronavirus shutdown has had at least one unexpected effect — it’s brought out the shared situation for sports and music. As of now, there’s no standard reopening plan for games or concerts. And without audiences and performances, athletes and musicians are likely to get out of practice.

Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Nathan Cole is pointing up the comparison with a new online project. The Violympics, a 12-week virtual training program beginning June 1, invites violinists and violists from around the world to stay in performance shape, even while concerts and lessons are canceled.

The paid program expands on Cole’s online teaching presence. The LA Phil’s first associate concertmaster, he’s been sharing online practice resources, from videos to blog posts to podcast episodes, for more than a decade. The Violympics builds on that experience and, in a year without camps or festivals, might be the next best thing to a summer intensive.

And prospective students got a peek of what to expect earlier this month. The Violympic Trials, a one-week introductory program, attracted more than 3,000 string players at every age and level, a sure sign that many more hours of practice are ahead.

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].