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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 86

December 10, 2006 at 11:49 PM

Grammy Time again…

The Grammy nominations have been announced, though the winners aren’t selected until February.

It’s a lighter-than-usual year for individual string nominations, though violinist Gidon Kremer is up for a solo album, as is violist Roberto Diaz, new president of the Curtis Institute of Music. The Berlin Philharmonic’s cello section got a nod for a recording in the “small ensembles” category.

See the complete list of nominees here:

Musician News

12/9/06 – It turns out the Cleveland Institute of Music violin teacher Paul Kantor has a son who plays violin, too. Tim Kantor is a senior at Bowdoin College in Maine, where he played a solo recital this weekend. After graduation, he plans to study at CIM—with his father, no less. Read about it here:

12/8/06 – Jazz violinist John Blake conducted a masterclass and performed this weekend in Philadelphia to mark the Settlement Music School’s 100th anniversary. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s profile of him here:

12/6/06 – High school violinist Miran Kim has received the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist’s Award, which is $10,000 to help defray her musical education. Hear a clip of her playing de Falla’s Danse Espagnole on the NPR website:

12/5/06 – The musical group Unexpect has posted on it My Space blog that it is seeking a new violinist to replace a departing member. Opportunity may be knocking at your door; read their notice here:

12/2/06 – Violinist Sarah Chang played the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic at Notre Dame University. The South Bend Tribune lauded Chang for her “exhilarating performance” and “exquisite tone.”

Orchestra News

Finally, after a 5-year hiatus, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be back on the national radio airwaves, thanks to a $3.4 million gift from BP. The three-year gift will provide funding necessary for the CSO to return to weekly local and national radio broadcasts, beginning in 2007. The BP Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series on the WFMT Radio Network will be heard in more than 160 U.S markets. The gift will also support two European tours and will underwrite the opening night gala programs for 2007 and 2008.

The Florida Orchestra has received more than $1 million from Tampa business leaders and philanthropists John and Susan Sykes. The bulk of the gift, $1 million, is for immediate use in the orchestra's general operating budget, and a smaller portion, $163,000 will be safeguarded in the endowment fund.

12/24/06 - Musicians from the South Dakota Symphony will be featured in the nationally broadcast "Christmas at the Cathedral" on CBS at 10:35 p.m. (ET). The South Dakota Symphony has participated in concerts at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Sioux Falls for the past 10 years.

12/20/06 - A one-hour special of the Nashville Symphony's inaugural concert at Schermerhorn Symphony Center will air Wednesday, December 20 on PBS stations nationwide. Shot in high definition, the special is culled from a two-hour live broadcast originally aired on Nashville Public Television. Check local listings for stations and times.

12/8/06 – The Boston Globe reports that "Struggling to fill seats for some Holiday Pops concerts, the Boston Pops have cut the size of the orchestra in half for five of the performances, including the Pops' pricey New Year's Eve show. The move to a 40-person ensemble has angered Boston Symphony Orchestra players, who sent a petition to BSO management raising concerns about whether ticket buyers for the concerts, which take place Dec. 28 through Dec. 31, will feel misled when they show up at Symphony Hall." The article notes: "The BSO has occasionally organized smaller groups of Pops players in recent years, but for private parties and corporate fund-raisers. Typically, that group performs under the moniker 'Keith Lockhart and Friends.' The post-Christmas concerts represent the first time a Symphony Hall Pops performance offered to the public will feature a smaller lineup."

12/7/06 - Ontario's Orchestra London is on the verge of a possible musicians' strike over low pay and lack of benefits. The London Free Press reports, "Most of the 29 full-time musicians (there are also 17 part-time musicians) are paid $23,223 for working a 36-week season... They receive no dental, drug, disability or health benefits. But the musicians are even more incensed by the fact that at a time when the symphony's operating revenue is at an all-time high, tickets sales are healthy and wages in other sectors of the organization have increased... base pay for musicians has inched up only 1.5 per cent per year since 2000." Read the article here:

12/6/06 – This was "Orchestra of St. Luke's Day" in New York City, recognizing the 30th anniversary of the orchestra's arts education program. A proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg was read before a program at the Apollo Theater that was the culmination of five days of concerts for New York City schoolchildren.

Other Music News

12/8/06 – The Washington Post reports: "Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has reached a preliminary agreement to buy classical music station WGMS-FM in a deal that would expand his budding sports-talk radio empire and likely be the swan song for the area's only classical outlet. Snyder and the owner of WGMS, Bonneville International Corp., have established a price for the sale but had not formalized the deal as of yesterday, people close to the negotiations said. They said, however, that an agreement could be wrapped up within days ... Neither side would disclose the proposed sale price or discuss potential programming changes."

12/8/06 - An Associated Press story filed Friday reports that hurricane-force winds that ripped through Lenox last week caused as much as a $250,000 worth of damage to the Tanglewood grounds. “Dave Sturma, director of Tanglewood facilities for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, estimated that it will take weeks or even months for the grounds to be cleared of storm debris. He says there were 300 trees down on the grounds, but the cleanup will be complete by the time Tanglewood opens in late June. There was also minor damage to the mansion's roof and more significant damage to the carriage house."

From Gabriel Kastelle
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 3:46 AM
Let me give my Philly 2 cent worth. :-) John Blake is a really sweet guy!-- I've met him and talked a few times, and he worked with a couple of my students. Regina Carter, recent MacArthur Foundation winner studied with John Blake-- I don't know if she still comes back regularly to Philly (I've moved away), but while I was there, she came annually for the PECO Jazz Fest playing club gigs and JAMMIN' climactic broadcast shows from Camden across the river. Interesting factoid about Settlement Music School and another Philly music school mentioned in current gossip: eighty or so years ago, the pre-professional program of Settlement was so popular and successful that it received financial backing from a local publishing family and blessing to strike off on its own as an independent institution, and thus was born:... Curtis.... !! Quite an offspring for a community music school! Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang grew up a few blocks away the main branch location of Settlement. Philly never ends.
From Elizabeth Smith
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 11:09 PM
That's true about Curtis. It's an offshoot of Settlement Music School. The main branch of Settlement, at 5th and Queen Streets in the Bella Vista neighborhood of South Philadelphia, is the Mary Louis Curtis Branch.

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