Violinist goes viral after bow shatters mid-performance

An esteemed violinist who traveled from New York to the United Kingdom to perform went viral last week when he managed to continue his performance after his nearly two-century-old bow fell apart in his hands. 

Stefan Jackiw was performing with the prestigious Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which was premiering the long-awaited U.K. premiere of a forgotten masterpiece by renowned Ukrainian composer Reinhold Gliere on May 10. 

But, roughly a quarter of the way into the piece, Jackiw's bow simply broke, essentially falling apart in his hand.

"Out of the blue, it just snapped," Jackiw said. "I've played well over, you know, over a thousand concerts on this bow."

But what impressed music fans worldwide was how Jackiw immediately swapped out the broken bow for a new one, before carrying on with the concert as if nothing had happened. 

According to Jackiw, most violinists go their whole lives without such an incident.

"At first, like, I didn't exactly know what happened because it's just such a foreign thing," Jackiw said. "I knew that the bow basically disintegrated in my hands, but it took a couple seconds to realize what was going on."

As soon as the piece was over, Jackiw got off-stage and texted Yung Chin—a New York-based bowmaker who specializes in restoring old bows.

"We always say that it's very easy to find a violin," Chin said. "It is maybe ten times as hard to find the bow for that violin and for you."

And that is why, once a musician finds that special bow, it’s not uncommon for them to keep it their entire career. 

"He said, ‘Can it be fixed?’ I go, ‘Sure, yea,’" Chin said. 

In fact, Jackiw plans to use his bow at a weekend concert in Manhattan.