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Ray Chen Breaks a String and Keeps His Cool

Violinist Ray Chen on stage with the Seattle Symphony
Screenshot from "Ray Chen Breaks a String – Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto" on YouTube
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Seattle Symphony
Violinist Ray Chen onstage with the Seattle Symphony, moments after breaking a string

It's every musician's worst nightmare, but violinist Ray Chen had it handled. Also in this roundup, a reversed piano, a sugarplum fairy, and a tiny, tiny violin.

1. These days, thanks to the internet, it's so easy to listen to music on demand whenever you want it (we have plenty for your perusal!). But 70 years ago, it was a lot more complicated.

2. Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" delights us every year. Here's a new animated video set to the "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy":

3. And speaking of Tchaikovsky, keen-eared listeners found a stunning homage to the music of "Swan Lake"... in the last track on ABBA's new album!

4. Luthier Maria Sandner became an internet sensation for making tiny, perfectly-to-scale violins. Now, thanks to her appearance on "Spain's Got Talent," we know her violins are playable, too:

5. What does a piano sound like if you reverse the order of its keys? Pianist Oliver Street tried it:

6. Venezuelan musicians recently set out to break the record for the world's largest orchestra (currently set at 8,097 people playing simultaneously). The rules: no sharing instruments, and they must be directed by a professional. Read about their attempt and see photos in the Washington Post.

7. What do you do when you're a star violinist, and your instrument's strings break — onstage?! Well, you keep your cool, and you act fast, like Ray Chen and the Seattle Symphony did earlier this month. Watch what happens around the 19-second mark: