Watch the Oscar-nominated documentary, Joe's Violin border=0 align=

Watch the Oscar-nominated documentary, Joe's Violin

February 17, 2017, 1:47 PM · With the Academy Awards just a little more than a week away, here is one nominee that will likely interest string players and teachers: Joe's Violin, which is up for Best Documentary, Short Subject. The film, directed by Kahane Cooperman, traces the story of 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold, who donates his violin through the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to a school in a low-income Bronx neighborhood. Feingold had bought the violin after he was finally released from a Siberian work camp, as a way of reconnecting with the past he had lost. Realizing he can no longer play, he decides to donate the violin after hearing on the radio about an instrument donation program. Brianna Perez, 12, receives the instrument with great appreciation, and prepares something special to play for him. Very moving, keep the tissues close!

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Study with Simon Fischer in Michigan, July 31–Aug 4

Study with Simon Fischer in Michigan, July 31-Aug 4: Come to PhoenixPhest Grande and take daily lessons with Simon Fischer for a week, or attend his masterclasses. We offer world-class faculty in a nurturing, noncompetitive program that includes chamber music, electives, a Suzuki institute, and jazz camp. Students of all ages & levels accepted, no audition necessary. (Ad) weekend vote: Does your violin, viola or cello label tell you the real maker? border=0 align= weekend vote: Does your violin, viola or cello label tell you the real maker?

February 16, 2017, 11:33 PM · The label that you see when you look into the left f-hole of a violin (or other stringed instrument) can tell you a number of things -- sometimes it even tells you who made the fiddle!

Of course, it's supposed to tell you who made the violin, but labels don't always tell the truth. Take, for example, my "Stradivarius" violin -- a turn-of-the-20th-century Germany factory fiddle that, rather obviously, was not made by the great Italian master. Of course, when I was nine, I entertained dreams that it was the real deal; after all, the label in that violin did not mention it was a copy.

Other labels are a little more forthright; they might list a great maker like Stradivarius, but then upon closer inspection, they include telling words like "copy of" and/or "made in Czechoslovakia."

It is nice, of course, when the label simply lists the real maker. For a while I owned a modern American violin, and I enjoyed knowing that the maker had actually signed the label that lay inside.

When it comes to older violins, it is not unusual for a violin to simply carry a "fake label" that some violin shop put inside of it, long ago, to pass it off as something it was not. Sometimes the violin dealer can tell, just based on the features of the violin, who really made it, even if the label is wrong. Certainly, this complicates its value, but it is not a complete deal-breaker for a nice violin.

For many student instruments, the label tells the model of the violin, or the company that made it.

How about your instrument? What does the label tell you -- or not tell you? Does it list a maker, a model or a company? Does it reflect who actually made the fiddle, or does it only give a few clues? Please choose from the options below to tell us about the label in your main instrument, and tell us any interesting details in the comments.

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    For the Record, Op. 15: Attacca Quartet Plays Michael Ippolito border=0 align=

    For the Record, Op. 15: Attacca Quartet Plays Michael Ippolito

    February 15, 2017, 11:31 AM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

    Attacca Quartet
    Michael Ippolito, composer
    Completely grounded in the 21st century, this recording features the music of Michael Ippolito, composed between 2009 and 2015. "I find the quartet to be an endlessly faschinating medium," Ippolito said. "It has such a rich repertoire and legacy...and yet, the quartet isn't limited by that tradition. It is a chameleon ensemble that lends itself to being reimagined." Formed at Juilliard in 2003, the Attacca Quartet has won numerous awards and is currently the Quartet in Residence at Texas State University School of Music. Here is the Attacca Quartet at a NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert, performing music by John Adams, Haydn and Michael Ippolito:

    If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes. Keep reading...

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