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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 24

May 4, 2006 at 10:23 PM

The Chicago Tribune ran an interesting follow-up story to Joshua Bell’s recent mid-performance bridge mishap. You may recall that, after knocking it out of position with his frog, Bell ran into the wings and pushed his bridge back into place on the spot. He commented to the paper: "It's very painful to do that on an instrument quickly like that. I didn't know if the violin would even make a sound."

The paper adds: "String-playing superstars such as Pinchas Zukerman and Yo-Yo Ma take their bruised instruments to such respected, established craftsmen as Bein & Fushi in Chicago and Rene Morel in New York. They think nothing of hopping on the next plane to do so when emergency repairs are required." Furthermore, "repairing a badly damaged Stradivarius or Guarnerius violin in the $3 million to $5 million range might require from 1,200 to 1,500 hours of labor and cost up to $100,000."

Coming Sunday: Be sure to read my exclusive Q&A with Gennady Filimonov, first violinist of the Odeonquartet. Find out who made his violin, his preferred choice of strings and rosin, and what pieces he’s practicing this week.

Musician News

4/27/06 - Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, reports the San Jose Mercury News. “The academy chose 175 Fellows and 20 Foreign Honorary Members for its 2006 class, including former Presidents Clinton and Bush, director Martin Scorsese, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and Rockefeller University President Sir Paul Nurse and New York Stock Exchange Chairman Marshall Carter, among others."

4/23/06 – Violinist Jill Levy, concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, led the orchestra in the premiere of Dorothy Chang’s Flight: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Levy played an extended Celtic fiddle solo in the third movement, according to the Schenectady Daily Gazette, which described her playing as “appropriately manic.”

4/21/06 – Violinist Alan Traverse, former co-concertmaster of the Houston Symphony, died in Houston from heart disease and Parkinson's disease, reports the Houston Chronicle. He was 68. The London-born Traverse "played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was concertmaster before moving to Houston. Traverse joined the orchestra here in 1978 ... He relinquished his co-concertmaster position in 1995 but continued as a member of the first violin section until he resigned in 1997 because of Parkinson's disease." Ward quotes the Houston Symphony's acting concertmaster Eric Halen, who was Traverse’s stand partner for several years: "I will always remember his kind patience and sincere good will in helping me and my brother, David [Halen, concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra] to become good orchestral musicians." Ward adds that Traverse enjoyed international travel and, during a sabbatical in 1991-92, was concertmaster of an international orchestra organized for the World Exposition in Seville, Spain.

Orchestra News

Music From the Inside Out, Daniel Anker's film about the power of music featuring musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra, will air on the PBS program Independent Lens in May. The film, which had its theatrical debut last year, also continues to play at theaters across the country.

The Grand Rapids Symphony’s recording of Adolphus Hailstork's Symphony Nos. 2 and 3 will be released on the Naxos label. The recording, which is expected to be available in early 2007, is the orchestra's first release on a national label in nine years. The recordings were made in 2002 and 2003.

4/30/06 - The Akron Beacon Journal is reporting that the American Federation of Musicians and a group of 50 orchestra managers are discussing a national self-produced recording agreement: "The number of symphony orchestras offering music to download could go from a trickle to a downpour if a pending agreement for self-produced recordings were approved." The paper adds, "If this new self-recording agreement were reached, orchestras who made their own recordings would actually retain the copyright. That's crucial, since as the copyright owners, they would have the legal right to sell the music for downloading. Nationally, several models are being tested for making orchestras part of the iPod nation," citing the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics' new agreements to release live concert recordings to the iTunes Music Store.

4/28/06 - Bernard Haitink has been appointed principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Pierre Boulez, the CSO's principal guest conductor since 1995, will become conductor emeritus. "Between them, they will lead six to eight weeks of CSO subscription concerts, and both will conduct the orchestra on upcoming annual performances in Carnegie Hall," the Chicago Sun-Times notes. "Haitink's position is a four-year appointment, and Boulez's position is open-ended, according to William Strong, chairman of the Chicago Symphony Orchestral Association board ... The CSO decided to formalize its relationship with Haitink immediately after his concerts in Chicago last month." CSO President Deborah R. Card remarks: "When I saw how the orchestra was working with Maestro Haitink this season ... and how the audience responded, something clicked in my brain." The orchestra is currently searching for a replacement for Music Director Daniel Barenboim, who steps down at the end of the current season.

4/26/06 - The chief executive of the Roanoke Symphony in Virginia has resigned after running $480,000 in deficits and clashing with the orchestra's musicians over cuts in the concert schedule, reports the Roanoke Times. “Paul Chambers had also faced criticism for contracting the orchestra's marketing work out to his wife. The musicians are openly celebrating Chambers' resignation, saying that ‘There wasn't any aspect of Paul's tenure that [we] felt really good about.’ Chambers had come to the Roanoke Symphony after running the Savannah Symphony in Georgia, which went bankrupt on his watch.”

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on May 4, 2006 at 10:44 PM
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on May 5, 2006 at 3:41 AM
Unfortunately, Music from the Inside Out aired on PBS before you column was posted. Does anyone know when it will be rebroadcast?
From Patrick Wong
Posted on May 5, 2006 at 4:47 AM
As if we haven't already heard a thousand times what GF plays on ;)
From Darcy Lewis
Posted on May 5, 2006 at 12:52 PM
Much of PBS programming varies by locale. As of now, the documentary has not aired in most markets. Go to to get the answer to your question.


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