The day before her debut Stella x Schubert performance at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Stella Chen came to the Strings studio (1700 ex-Petri Stradivari in tow) to record this Strings Session.

You’ll notice there is no Schubert in this solo violin Session. Chen performs Paganini’s Caprice No. 9 and Vieuxtemp’s Capriccio (Homage a Paganini). “Schubert is my favorite composer and he suffered a lot in his life because of Paganini,” says Chen. “Paganini was taking Vienna by storm and everyone was so thrilled and captivated by Paganini’s virtuosity.”


“I was always afraid of Paganini. I didn’t feel the sort of bravado I thought one needed, but it’s required for all competitions. And after I won Queen Elizabeth [International Violin Competition, in 2019], I thought ‘This is fantastic, I’ll never have to play Paganini again!’ Of course, then, every opportunity that came my way I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll play Paganini!'”

For more on the Stella x Schubert project, look out for an interview with Chen in the upcoming May/June 2023 issue of Strings magazine.