A snapped string is a not unheard-of occurrence during a violin performance. A broken bow, though, is something a little more out of the ordinary.


That was the situation, however, that faced the American violinist Stefan Jackiw, during his performance with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on 10 May.

Jackiw was around a third of the way through a UK premiere performance of the Violin Concerto by Ukrainian composer Reinhold Glière – when his bow suddenly snapped.

The violinist had been using the bow, made in Paris in the 19th century, for some 20 years – during which time it had seen him through thousands of concerts.

On this particular night, though, the bow gave into the tension. Undaunted, Jackiw showed great composure, making a rapid bow swap with BSO violinist and orchestra leader Amyn Merchant and carrying on in less than five seconds.

Jackiw later revealed that he would remember the performance, which took place at the Lighthouse in Poole, 'for the rest of his life'.

The bow, valued at £24,000, is now being mended and will be returned to Jackiw soon.


Picture: Stefan Jackiw rehearsing with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kirill Karabits. Pic: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.