The world's fastest fiddler Oliver Lewis returns to Australia in 2020 with Spirit of the Dance for the group's 21st anniversary tour. Supplied by Sue Mac Media.
The world's fastest fiddler Oliver Lewis returns to Australia in 2020 with Spirit of the Dance for the group's 21st anniversary tour. Supplied by Sue Mac Media.

Speedy violinist lets ‘Bumblebee’ fly at show

JUST because Oliver Lewis can play the violin at lightning speed doesn't mean he always wants to.

Known as one of the world's fastest fiddlers, Lewis returns to Australia next year with Spirit of the Dance.

The classically trained violinist and fiddler has been performing with the renowned dance troupe since 2001, after answering a newspaper ad that said "funky fiddler wanted", and has notched up more than 2000 performances with the company worldwide.

"I'm looking forward to our tour very much," he says.

"I came over when they first toured Australia way back in 2002.

"I had not been to Australia before that and I was blown away by how friendly everybody was. People come up to chat to you - it's the Aussies default, which is a lovely thing. In Britain, we're more reserved, to start with anyway."

In 2010 Lewis broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest performance of the Flight of the Bumblebee, playing the orchestral interlude in 63.35 seconds.

"Musicians use it to test speed on the violin, piano, guitar, whatever," Lewis says.

"The thing with speed is it's a technical facility. It's great to have the ability to play something very quickly because then you can play it at a slower tempo. Speed is just one of the ingredients; it's not the be all and end all."

Australian audiences will get to see Lewis's speedy Bumblebee as part of Spirit of the Dance's 21st anniversary tour. Even though he has played the piece thousands of times, he says he's yet to get sick of it.

"It's one of the pieces I always play in the show and I will be performing it when we come to Australia," he says.

"When you perform on stage it's never the same twice.

"Even a thousand times playing the same piece of music you always feel slightly different, you never quite do it the same and of course it's never the same audience. It's always a challenge, thank goodness, and the thing about live performance is it keeps things fresh."

Lewis famously has his fingers insured for $1 million USD.

"I do a lot of press ups to keep the arms strong, which helps me keep up my speed," he says. "Other than that, I practice every day and I try to avoid using machetes if possible (laughs)."

Spirit of the Dance comes to The Events Centre, Caloundra, on April 29, at 7.30pm. Call 5491 4240 or visit www.theeventscentre.com.au