Mechthild Karkow


Mechthild Karkow has been a professor of Baroque violin since 2013. She initially taught at the University of Music and Theatre 'Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy' Leipzig, then in 2020 she was appointed Professor of Baroque violin and viola at the University of the Arts Bremen, where she has played a key role in shaping the renowned Early Music department ever since.

For more information on the university, the Early Music department and the course, please visit and

From 2015-2022, Mechthild Karkow also taught Baroque violin and viola on the ‘Historically-informed Performance' (HIP) programme at Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts.

Her former students include prizewinners of international competitions, members of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and musicians performing in various ensembles on the international stage.


Mechthild Karkow is a sought-after teacher of Baroque violin, Baroque viola, viola d'amore, chamber music, historically-informed performance and historical improvisation.

In recent years Mechthild Karkow has given masterclasses at - amongst others - the Michaelstein Monastery Summer Academy, the Vielklangsommer Tübingen Festival, the Leipzig Improvisation Festival, Weikersheim Castle, the Gaming Charterhouse in Austria and in Tonnerre, France, as well as the annual Early Music Winter Academy held in February at the University of the Arts Bremen.


For Mechthild Karkow, the study of historical performance practice consists of analysis of sources combined with her own research.

In addition to the practical implementation of various playing techniques and positions of the Baroque violin and bow, her research to date has mainly focused on the use of violin scordatura in the 17th century (with particular emphasis on the Rosary Sonatas by H.I.F. Biber), the art of diminution and ornamentation in various styles, historical improvisation practice on the violin, and the various types of viola d'amore and their use.

She has given lectures at study weeks and conferences at the Leipzig, Bremen, Lyon, Graz and Weimar conservatoires, and at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Topics have included: the execution and improvisation of double cadenzas in the 18th century trio sonata; improvisation on Baroque voice-leading models and partimenti; 'Cadence improvisation as a combination of music theory and performance practice’; practical playing tips from the treatises of Francesco Rognoni, Georg Muffat, Francesco Geminiani and Johann Joachim Quantz; the viola d’amore, and much more.


As if music was not enough, from 2011 to 2015 Mechthild Karkow undertook studies in the Feldenkrais method with Beatriz Walterspiel, sparked off by personal curiosity and intensified by a thirst for new discoveries.

This has brought about valuable experiences for her own violin playing, and also brings new insights to her teaching, thanks to an understanding of functional movement correlations and an intensive exploration of organic learning and neuroplasticity.