Seminars and Projects
|Stephane Grappelli - Jazz Artist & Entertainer
"I'm very happy to celebrate with you the
50th anniversary of my friend Vassar Clements
in the music. I had the opportunity to collaborate
with him for an album that we recorded together
a few years ago. He is not only a very talented
musician, but as well a very nice man with a good
heart and he is my friend. So all the best to Vassar
and Happy Golden anniversary to him!"
|Steve Martin - Comedian - Actor - Musician
Vassar is one of the influential fiddle players ever! He plays MUSIC not notes.
|Mark O'Conner - Artist - Entertainer
In 1972 Mike Aldredge recorded "House of the Rising Sun.
This version took on a whole new meaning. It was when
Vassar was left playing solo at the end of the song that I Felt
the depth of emotion in a violin for the first time. I was
eleven years old and it altogether captivated me. I had no
idea a violin could have such a voice.
The violin in Vassar Clements' hand is truly a trusted friend.
The ability of "sixth sense" or instinctive creativity with
which he operates is mind boggling. He relies on the
inspiration of the moment more than anyone I have ever
known. This means he is constantly taking chances, and
when it comes out on top there is a direct line tapping his
I hear a lonesome sense of haunting pain, and then a
peaceful beauty in his bluesy fiddling. There is no one
else like him.
|Dave Holland - Artist -Entertainer|
Jazz Bassist & Ex Miles Davis Band Member
Dave Holland, jazzman extols Clements' virtues as a bona
fide jazz player. "Vassar's got a good feeling for jazz music.
He plays with feeling more than technique or a large
vocabulary. It feels good playing with Vassar".
|Robert K Ormann - Staff Writer|
Entertainment - Nashville Tennessee
In many ways Vassar Clements is the complete antithesis of
the classically trained Stephane Grappelli, el al. He calls
himself a fiddler, not a violinist. He's a country boy, not a
city slicker. He is self taught, not conservatory educated. He
is American, not European.
But Clements, in his own way, is every bit as much a virtuoso
as the World's greatest and acknowledged maestros of the
fiddle/violin. Vassar Clements is to music what Bo Jackson
is to sports, A performer possessed of natural talents so
prodigious that he excels whereever he decides to go.
|Marty Stuart - Artist - Entertainer|
Marty talks about Vassar and says:
Everybody loves Vassar Clements. The first time I ever heard
Vassar play fiddle was on some old bluegrass albums.
This man played fiddle like I never heard before.
It was the most lonesome, scary sound coming out of a fiddle
I'd ever heard, I played the mandolin, and once I heard this
music, I ditched everything I ever knew and went back and
tried to play mandolin like Vassar played fiddle. Years later,
I played the Opry and I saw this man playing fiddle. He
stood straight, with his eyes closed and he was playing the
prettiest music you could ever imagine. It froze me on the
spot. This man is probably my favorite fiddle player on earth.
|Matt Glaser - Director & Teacher|
Berkley College of Music - Boston, Ma.
Matt says of Vassar Clements - "Bluegrass and Beyond"
I was FLABBERGASTED the first time I heard Vassar
Clements play the fiddle. I was a sophomore in high school
and rushed out to get a copy of the album "Will The Circle
Be Unbroken" after reading a review of it. As soon as I
heard the first notes I was hooked. Never before had I heard
fiddle playing of such incredible,expressive power, dark,
brooding, bluesy, and wonderfully inventive.
|LIFE COLLECTOR'S EDITION August 1994|
Paul Davis - Artist & writer for the above special edition
When the great fiddler Vassar Clements drags his bow,
slowly, slowly across the strings - as though each moment
brings pain - his listener dies with him, an agonizing
gloriously romantic death. Later, when his bow begins to
whip and saw - no sorrow in the world can keep folks from
kicking up their heels. It is this magical gift to drive
audiences from tears to two-stepping that distinguishes
"LIFE'S BOND OF DREAMS".
|Bela Fleck - Artist Entertainer
The Miles Davis of bluegrass fiddle. An
amazing free associative player totally
spontaneous. Very pure musical force.
Somebody I feel lucky to have played with.
|Jim Horner - Director - Jazz Ensemble|
Cameron University - Lawton, Ok.
Vassar Clements can play any type of music for any
audience, My first introduction to him was through his
excellent bluegrass work. After his continuing appearances
on rock, country, swing and jazz recordings with other great
artists, I soon realized there were many dimensions to this
Vassar has played with our twenty-six piece Cameron
University Jazz Ensemble and he stole the show. His musical
knowledge immensely benefitted the students and thrilled the
Vassar would fit very well with symphonies or philharmonic
orchestras. He is a real gentleman and is extremely easy to
work with on any production.
|Dale Benz - Sheldon Arts Theatre|
Technical & Assistant Program Director
Vassar has been on my Top Ten musicians list since the
early seventies. I have spent ten years here in St. Louis at the
Sheldon Theatre as technical & assistant program director. I
have seen and heard many of the great violin/fiddle players
and I can say without a doubt that Vassar Clements is one of
the best musicians anywhere.
Vassar has remarkable control of his instrument, not only his
technical ability, but his ability to play with precision that
keeps the human element in the music. Itzak Perlman also
has that quality.
|Lucie Ann Lakes - Fiddler - Teacher|
To watch Vassar perform is by far one of the greatest joys of
fiddling I have ever experienced. Why would this particular
fiddler leave such an impression on me? It's really quite
simple. I have seen some of the best fiddlers perform for
specific crowds, usually dyed-in-the-wool fanatics.
But Vassar and his band played to a diverse crowd, with every
generation represented. The very first tune he and the band
played instantly energized the whole crowd. Vassar doesn 't
need to jump around, or smash an instrument to get the
audience's attention. All he has to do is play.
His unique style bridges the invisible lines of music, from
blues, to jazz, to swing and all-around fiddling into one
magical touch, that I have never seen any other fiddler
The band accompanied Vassar with perfection, while making
the fiddle sound superb.