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“That man Holder...If he was playing electric guitar behind a screen you’d swear it was Jimi Hendrix come back to life. So fast. So melodic.”

- Jonathan Craymer, Grapevine Live

Ben Holder [33] is the most acclaimed and exciting jazz violinist in the UK. His classical studies began at the age of six and were complemented by training at the Birmingham Conservatoire. An introduction to jazz came in his early teens – classic masters such as Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson and Stephane Grappelli – and lead Ben to truly find his place as a musician.

Ben possesses an innate sense of swing rhythm (something which often eludes classical players), breathtaking technical ability and true showmanship on stage. He offers flawless musicianship, heaps of energy and personality and a visible passion for his craft.

Ben's various awards bear testimony to these abilities. Often playing across the UK, Europe and further afield, he is a first-call jazz violinist for many of the country's top venues, line-ups and studios.

See Ben live as part of his duo, trio, quartet or quintet, or as a featured guest with some excellent line-ups – just head to the calendar for more details.


Q ] How old were you when you started playing the violin?

I started playing classically at the age of six. I finished my grades by about age 12 and then was lucky enough to find jazz and hear Stephane Grappelli! I've been 'gigging' since about age 14 and playing professionally since age 17.

Q ] Where are you from / Where are you based?

I was born in Solihull and raised in Burton On Trent. I've lived in Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, Cheltenham - all over, really! Now I live with my wife in a little Leicestershire village.

Q ] Your bow looks different - is it a Baroque bow?

My bow is actually an Incredibow - they kindly gift me bows & they're amazing, handmade items from America. They're made of Carbon Fiber and polymer filament 'hairs', which is perfect for me and my playing - I was constantly getting bows re-haired before Incredibow got in touch!

Q ] Why is the tension on your bow so tight?

I get this question a lot! The tension on an Incredibow can't be adjusted. Once you get used to this it's no problem at all and I personally find that it suits my playing style very well.

Q ] What strings do you use?

I'm endorsed by D'Addario, so use their strings and I love them. I generally use either the Pro Arté, Helicore or Kaplan.


Q ] Are you always so energetic, even off-stage?

I'm always upbeat and excitable, but I do try and save my energy for on stage - I'm literally giving you everything I've got. So, no, at home I'm more chilled out I suppose. I'm sure Sophie would tell you how good I am at being un-energetic!

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