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Confidence, Humor and Joy Through Music 

Raphael Nussbaumer is a 14-year-old junior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021.
Raphael Nussbaumer is a 14-year-old junior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021. Raphael, who lives in Altendorff, Switzerland, started playing when he was four years old and was given his first violin at his baptism by his godfather, a luthier. Photo courtesy of Donat Nussbaumer. 

My first contact with classical music probably was in the womb of my mother. And from the first day when I was born, there was classical music around me.

Raphael Nussbaumer is a 14-year-old violinist from Altendorff, Switzerland who comes from a family with a deep musical history. His grandfather, a primary school teacher who played violin as a hobby, gave Raphael his first lessons. His father is a professional musician and his sister also plays the violin. 

When he was just five-and-a-half, Raphael started studying with Philip Draganov, a world-renowned teacher, conductor, chamber musician and artistic director of Youth Classics International Masterclasses. 

“He stays very calm when I make a mistake,” said Nussbaumer. “It's not only the technical skills he's training but also the emotional parts of playing the violin.” 

Raphael Nussbaumer, shown here with his mother and father and sound engineer/interpreter Philip Erdin at VPM’s recording session at Sonar Sound Studios in Zurich, Switzerland.
Raphael Nussbaumer, shown here with his mother and father and sound engineer/interpreter  Philipp Erdin at VPM’s recording session at Sonar Sound Studios in Zurich, Switzerland. Violin is a family tradition for the Nussbaumers. Raphael’s grandfather, father and sister all play the instrument. Photo courtesy of  Philipp Erdin.

Raphael has won prizes at the Louis Spohr Competition, the Andrea Postacchini Competition and the Zurich Music Competition. He likes to joke around but he is serious when it comes to music. He describes the feeling he gets when he plays on stage as “joy.” 

“It's really the confidence through joy of just playing,” said Nussbaumer. “And when I am on stage I just want to feel this pure joy.”

Raphael Nussbaumer will be a junior competitor in Menuhin Competition Richmond 2021.


Credits: Philip Erdin at Sonar Sound Studios in Zurich, Switzerland recorded Raphel’s interview and performance and provided interpretation. Yvonne Howell translated the interview. The episode was produced by Mike Goldberg and Managing Producer Peter Solomon and edited by Executive Producer Catherine Komp. If you liked what you heard, please rate and review Making Menuhin in your favorite podcast player.