The Canon of Violin Literature:

A Performer's Resource

  • In the immense literature of the violin, no book quite like this has existed- until now. Jo Nardolillo has producted a work that will serve as a bible to violinists at all levels: student, teacher and professional soloist.David Daniels

As part of Scarecrow Press's Music Finders series, this go-to reference source provides pertinent information about the standard repertoire of works heard today in the great concert halls and recorded by the most prominent professionals. Drawing on extensive research of musical programs performed on the world's stages, Nardolillo selects only those works performed and recorded by great performers and regularly studied in conservatories by students of leading pedagogues.

Organized alphabetically by composer, each entry in The Canon of Violin Literature includes the title, date of composition, date and performer of premiere, key, duration, instrumentation, and movements of the work. In addition, entries include brief notes offering historical, technical, and performance information crucial to study of the work. Finally, each entry offers information on the publishers, editions, and editors of the sheet music, concluding with a list of several recordings by famous artists and recommended books for further information about the piece. Appendixes include a chronological listing of the works, a grouping by genre, an index of piece titles, an index of performers, and a bibliography of other reference books for violinists. In addition to hard-to-find information on premieres, commissions, and editions, The Canon of Violin Literature supplies performers and teachers with the name of the violinist who provided fingerings and bowings for each edition, as well as accurate dates for when the work was edited.

The Canon of Violin Literature is for performers of violin repertoire; private teachers and college professors in need of a guide to help them assign appropriate works for students' recitals, juries, and competitions; and chamber series directors, musicologists, and editors planning concert seasons, creating programs, and writing liner notes for recordings.


  • Nardolillo has delivered a well-researched and comprehensive resource for the performer, teacher, and advanced student-violinist… Conductors and critics may also find it an admirable resource.American Music Teacher
  • The Canon of Violin Literature: A Performer's Resource by Jo Nardolillo and published by The Scarecrow Press, Inc. provides information on nearly 200 works from the standard violin repertoire. Each entry includes the title, composer (with date of birth and death), type of music, musical period, date composed, key duration and instrumentation. Also included with each entry are notes, publisher(s) with the year of editing, recordings with the year of the session and suggestions for further reading. This resource can serve as a quick and easy reference bringing together the various details about works which comprise a good portion of the standard violin repertoire.American Federation of Musicians
  • Written with performing violinist, violin instructors, and college music professors in mind, this volume lists works that are regularly performed and recorded in concert halls and studied by students in conservatories. The work is organized alphabetically by composer and includes the work's title, date of composition, the date and performer of its premier, key, duration, instrumentation, and movements of the work. There are notes included for each piece that address historical, technical, and performance information that will be helpful to performers. Each listing concludes with bibliographic information on publishers, editions, the editors of the sheet music, and a list of recordings and books for further study. Overall, the information is comprehensive for each listing and will provide those interested in further study a jumping off point for further research. The work concludes with a chronological list of works, a list of works by genre, indexes by piece title and performers, and a bibliography. This work will be useful in music collections in music libraries as well as in the hands of violin instructors and music directors.American Reference Books Annual
  • The Canon of Violin Literature, A Performer's Resource by Jo Nardolillo, a virtuoso violinist with degrees from Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music and Rice University, is an extensive anthology of some of the most popular concertized violin repertoire spanning almost three centuries. Nardolillo has delivered a well-researched and comprehensive resource for the performer, teacher and advanced student- violinist. The book contains a list of violin repertoire by the most well- known composers, including Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, as well as lesser-known composers, including Dinicu, Kroll and Ponce. The Resource includes a concise and useful chronology of the pieces, detailed titles (including movements) spelled in accordance with New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, historical notes, a list of publishers, recordings and suggested supplemental reading materials. The page formatting is straightforward, clean and easily accessible with composers and repertoire listed in alphabetical order. Nardolillo provides excellent cross-referencing through the inclusion of the works by genre, a violinist index and a title index.

    In sharing the Resource with several of my students, they were in agreement that Nardolillo provides a noteworthy comprehensive list of popular works some of which were unfamiliar to my high school and college students and to me, mainly a violist and chamber musician by trade. The student reviewers appreciated the chronology page and interesting notes about each piece. Several noted that while the labeling system of each piece (type, time period, year composed, key, duration, birth and death dates, and instrumentation) was succinct, additional explanation of the labeling system would be useful for the less- experienced reader. The "Notes" listed with each piece were found to be interesting and inspiring. One reviewer remarked that the insight into the history of the works encouraged her desire to delve more deeply into the pieces. Several reviewers commented a desire for more details into the emotional history of some of the pieces. It was noted that a level of technical difficulty listed for each piece would be appreciated and inclusion of photos of the composers and/or performers would be a welcomed addition as well. Some reviewers observed that while the Resource is a useful and well-researched book it seems to be geared mainly toward the higher-education performers, teachers and students. Violinists with less experience may find it more difficult to use initially. In conclusion, Nardolillo has provided the violin performer and studio teacher a valuable and broad resource of the violin literature. Conductors and critics may also find it an admirable resource.

    Deborah Barrett Price, Columbus, Ohio, for ASTA’s American String Teacher
  • This edition, the first of its kind, offers teachers, soloists, students, and program annotators detailed information for close to 200 standard violin works. Though not exhaustive, the pieces covered include all the great Baroque through mid-20th century concertos, sonatas, solo repertoire, and encore pieces that are heard and recorded regularly today. If you are looking for concise historical background for a specific piece, needing to flesh out a recital program, or wanting to know your choices about publishers and editors before making a new sheet-music purchase, this resource puts all this and more at your fingertips.

    Author Jo Nardolillo, an educator and violin soloist, provides historical facts for each violin work, grouped alphabetically by composer. These exhaustive notes include the composition date, the date of the premiere when available, and the name of the performer, the current sheet-music editions with editor information, and the available recordings by popular artists.

    She also lists the musical key, the number and names of the movements where applicable, and provides stylistic notes worthy of concert programs. The "further reading" list she provides for each work as well as information regarding piece duration and instrumentation will be especially helpful for recitalists, program directors, and conductors.

    Included in the guide are a number of appendices useful for cross referencing. Of note is the "Works by Genre" section and a chronological list of the major violin works included, from Corelli to Shostakovich.

    If you deal regularly and intimately with classical violin repertoire, you’ll appreciate the meticulous research and care presented in this resource.

    Laurel Thomsen for Strings Magazine