Bringing the "Milstein" Stradivarius to California has changed Jerry Kohl's life.
That is what Kohl told 300 people gathered to celebrate the 300th birthday of the Golden-Period violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1716 in Cremona, Italy. The celebration concert, featuring Los Angeles Philharmonic Concertmaster Martin Chalifour, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and LACO conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, took place at the Huntington Library and Gardens' new Rothenberg Hall. Other fine instruments in attendance included the 1711 "Kreisler" Strad that Chalifour regularly plays, and the 1650 Nicolo Amati composite, with a table by Stradivari, played by Batjer.
"It's changed my life, because they're magical," said Kohl, who is owner and president of accessories retailer Brighton. Watching his Strad on stage is a little bit like watching one's kid in a school play, "My child's on stage!"
Kohl is rooting for the fiddle to keep going another 300 years; "The people who own them care for them -- I'm just the custodian for the next 300 years," he said. And thinking about 300 years, "California isn't 300 years old -- there's not a building in Los Angeles that's 300 years old."
Most of the time, the instrument sits protected in a safe, in a nice, air-conditioned room. It takes a fine artist to bring forth its finest quality: that storied Strad sound. "When I have the violin at home, it doesn't sound like this!" he said.
To that end, Batjer, Chalifour and Kahane put together a concert that featured the Strad in music of many periods, styles and sentiments. Keep reading...Tweet
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Does playing the music of J.S. Bach make you a better musician? Does it improve your chops as a violinist or violist? Does Bach heal your soul?
That's what I wondered, when I heard the name of this lecture by violist David Rose at the American Viola Society Festival in Oberlin last month: "Bach Makes You Better."
"For me this has been a literal truth," Rose explained. "I believe Bach does make you better, at least in your heart and spirit."
For those who'd like to make their Bach better, Rose had some great ideas, culled from his years of playing and studying Early Music, as well as teaching a course on solo Bach at State University of New York in Fredonia, where he is Associate Professor of Viola. Take, for example, this unique way that he makes a point about "syllables" in Bach:
In other words, the natural adjustments we make to sing well can guide us in creating good bowings for Bach. If it's easiest to sing short syllables in a passage with large intervals, then it might be easiest to use short bows in a similar passage on viola or violin. Keep reading...Comments (2)
With the new school year just weeks away, violin students around the country will be heading back to class. For many, that's the time that they go looking for new instruments, or even just a tune-up or rehair for their current setup.
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