From the show's earlier episodes, it's easily evident that Kaori was a great violinist. Even one of the judges was shocked and wondered like "where had she been all this time and why isn't she famous?"

Why wasn't Kaori famous or known as a notable violinist? Even a popular violinist like Toshiya Miike knew about Kaori, as it's shown in the anime that he dislikes Kaori's playing style and disrespects her in front on Arima.

  • Perhaps she never performed well in competitions prior to the story. Afterall she puts a lot of burden to the accompanying pianist. – 絢瀬絵里 May 3 '17 at 14:21
  • Yeah you are right probably, the anime has this flaw only that it didn't show anything about Kaori throughout the whole anime. Only in the last episode, they show everything about her including the lie and her childhood. I really wish the anime would have focused on her personal life too. @AyaseEri – Jarvis May 3 '17 at 17:10

We do not know Kaori's progress in her violin studies, and as I am not a violinist, I cannot comment on the difficulty of her repertoire (and thus, of the competitions in which she plays). However, there are two out-of-universe reasons for Kaori's lack of fame that come to mind.

Firstly, even classical music listeners might not follow competitions closely enough to recognise those who performed well in them. I mostly listen to classical music and I know the names of a number of big competitions, but I barely know the names of those who did well. Moreover, with the exception of certain "niche" interests — period instruments, transcriptions, some types of vocal performance — I am likely to end up listening to recordings and performances by better known, more "established" musicians whom I already know.

Note also that there are any number of decent musicians who play difficult repertoire but are not well-known outside of their local circles.

Secondly, it is made clear by episode 2 that Kaori does a poor job at following the score, which might prevent her from getting a following in the right circles.1 I might avoid someone whom I knew to consistently and flagrantly push an interpretation that clearly was not the composer's intention, and I am not the only one. My teachers would also be unhappy with me if I played like that, which in turn would inhibit my development and recognition.

  1. When I speak of "following the score," I do not mean robotically playing it without thought. Rather, I mean that the production is intelligent and approximates what the composer might have expected. It is important that I "stick to the score" in my piano playing, but when I do so, I still have to make decisions and play thoughtfully.
  • But Toshiya Miike knew Kaori somehow, since he is kinda pissed about Kaori's playing style, and even disrespects her in front of Kousei. How come did he know about Kaori then? – Jarvis May 4 '17 at 7:29
  • @Jarvis: I'd make a distinction between being well-connected in the circles of your teacher or where you live (which IIRC should roughly describe how Miike relates to Kaori) and being famous in the sense of being recognised beyond that (or in the sense of having an excessively famous teacher and playing with big orchestras, etc.). – Maroon May 4 '17 at 7:33
  • But still, I think the Anime (and Manga too hopefully, though I didn't read it) perform a poor job of portraying Kaori's personal life. All the 'things' about her were unraveled only in the last episode/chapter, which doesn't give satisfaction to the core. – Jarvis May 4 '17 at 7:36
  • @Jarvis: I'd agree; I would have liked to hear about how she interacted with her violin teacher(s), what with her playing style. (I wouldn't be surprised if her teacher overlooked the whole thing, but I'd have thought that someone would have confronted her about it sooner.) Well, in any case, I'm not quite sure if I'm happy with my answer, but at least I put down what occurred (and made sense) to me. – Maroon May 4 '17 at 7:56
  • I agree with your answer for most of the part (that's why I accepted it). But I would love to see any OVA regarding this. Any ideas about any upcoming extra chapters/OVAs for Your Lie in April? – Jarvis May 4 '17 at 8:10

She says in the letter in the final episode that it was only when she learned of her illness that she started doing things so she would have no regrets. One of these things that are mentioned is that she started playing the violin how SHE wanted to so that people would remember her.

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