Tim Fain. (Briana Blasko )
Violinist Tim Fain, 34, grew up in Santa Monica at a time, he said, when "the cultural scene [in L.A.] was nothing like it is today." The violinist now lives in New York with his wife but he's back in town this month for a series of recitals. Fain — who has a cameo role in "Black Swan" as the violin soloist opposite Natalie Portman — took time off from practicing to discuss musicians who have influenced him over the years.
Philip Glass, composer: "He's a curious mix of a child and a sage. On the one hand, he writes music that has a pounding fury and a sadness. But hanging out with him, he's intense but also lighthearted. He can be insecure but in an endearing way.... So many of his pieces have inspired me, like his Leonard Cohen song cycle, and a new solo violin piece that he wrote and that I will perform in September in New York."
Nathan Milstein, violinist: "One of my musical idols — he made everything sound so easy. He had this gift to make music, like anyone could do it. Whenever I listen to him, I feel like I can play better."
Ludwig van Beethoven, composer: "I have to be honest. The Fifth Symphony has attained ringtone status, but it's one of those rare pieces that lives up to the hype."
Björk, pop singer: "I've always been really moved by her music. Ever since her first disc, I've been into her songwriting and her style and energy.... What really excites me is finding really great music — it doesn't matter if it's 250 years old or 2 months old. "
Tim Fain performs 2 p.m. Saturday at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan Beach; 2 p.m. Sunday at the City Hall Municipal Gallery in Beverly Hills; 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.