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Martin Chalifour – Rhythm is the International Metric System for Music

Violinist Martin Chalifour shares insights on the importance of rhythm and practicing with the metronome.

Inspiration by Metronome Online with

ARTIST FEATURE: We are joined this week by none other than the concertmaster of the LA Phil! Martin Chalifour is now in his 25th season with the orchestra and continues to enjoy a rich presence as a soloist and chamber musician. We couldn’t be more happy that he agreed to answer a few questions for us:

1) Why is rhythm important?

We say Music is the only International language… well, RHYTHM is the international METRIC SYSTEM for MUSIC, and without it, we could not converse with each through music like we do. It’s really the basis of everything, the building blocks.

2) How often do you practice with a metronome?

30 to 40 percent of my practice time.

"No matter how strong your sense of rhythm is, the mechanical guide will always have surprises for you!"

3) Why is it important to practice with a metronome?

Because no matter how strong your sense of rhythm is, the mechanical guide will always have surprises for you. We all tend to rush through long notes, slow down in hard passages, etc.

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on

Always available on every device I own. And I like the old-fashioned classic metronome look, with only the broader numbers to select from. Plus, it’s LOUD enough.

VIDEO: Martin prepared this beautiful recital when LA Phil went into hiatus because of the Covid pandemic. Check it out:

Martin Chalifour – Rhythm is the International Metric System for Music

Martin Chalifour

Martin Chalifour will begin his 25th season as Principal Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic this fall. He graduated with honors from the Montreal Conservatory at the age of 18 and then moved to the United States to continue studies at the famed Curtis Institute of Music.

Chalifour received a Certificate of Honor at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and is also a laureate of the prestigious Montreal International Competition. Apart from his LA Phil duties, he maintains an active solo career, playing a diverse repertoire of more than 60 concertos. Chalifour has appeared as soloist with conductors Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Neville Marriner, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Outside the U.S., he has played solos with the Auckland Philharmonia, the Montreal Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Taiwan, and the Malaysian Philharmonic, among others.

Chalifour began his orchestral career with the late Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony, playing as Associate Concertmaster for six years. Subsequently, for five years he occupied the same position in the Cleveland Orchestra, where he also served as Acting Concertmaster under Christoph von Dohnányi. While in Cleveland, Chalifour taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was a founding member of the Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio.

Chalifour is a frequent guest at several summer music festivals, including the Sarasota Festival, the Mainly Mozart Festival, and the Reno Chamber Music Festival, where he served as Music Director last year.

Maintaining close ties with his native country, he has returned there often to teach and perform as soloist with various Canadian orchestras, most recently in Vancouver with Bramwell Tovey and in Hamilton with Gemma New.

Martin Chalifour has recorded solo and chamber music for the Telarc, Northstar, and Yarlung labels. He teaches at Caltech and at the USC Thornton School of Music.

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