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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 36

June 15, 2006 at 10:47 PM

A couple days ago, Laurie and I received an e-mail from reader Morton Raff, pointing out that I hadn’t reported on the October 2005 death of violinist, teacher and conductor Robert Gerle. Here’s what he had to say: “[Gerle] owned and used the ex-Hubay Strad for some thirty years, and he made a number of highly esteemed recordings. I played in his Friday Morning Music Club (of Washington, DC) Orchestra for a number of years. His recently published autobiography, Playing It By Heart, is an absolute gem.”

It’s true that I hadn’t included mention of Gerle’s death at the time. It simply hadn’t crossed my radar. And that’s where the readers of come in, of course.

Please feel free to send any string-related news to me at It’s great to get tips in a timely fashion, but even after the fact is fine, too.

Now that I’ve just passed my first anniversary of newsgathering for, it seems a great time to check in with you all. I typically cover new recordings, auditions, personnel changes, labor issues, tours, honors, auctions, competitions and anything of interest to a passionately string-oriented readership. Noteworthy orchestra and conductor happenings make the grade, too.

If there’s something you’d like to see more (or less) of, just drop me a note. And keep the news coming!


Last Sunday's (6/11) New York Times contained an article musing on music in the operating room, a widespread phenomenon little known among the nonmedical population. "Like most of modern life, surgery has acquired a soundtrack, whether it be Sinatra or Vivaldi, Mozart or Bob Marley, La Bohème or the Beatles. Surgeons say it relaxes them, focuses their attention and helps pass the time." The paper adds: "Music can become a subtle bone of contention among the members of the surgical team or a practical aid. Loud rock 'n' roll is good for routine operations, they say, Mozart for trickier ones. There is even a genre called 'closing music': raucous sounds to suture by."

"Generally, the attending surgeon, the honcho in the hierarchical operating room, decides the playlist ... Any member of the team has veto power if the music becomes distracting or interferes with dialogue. Music that requires concentration, like Mahler, is rare." The reporter interviews several doctors on their music choices and notes: "Dr. Nas Eftekhar, a retired pioneer of hip and knee replacements, used Mozart's 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' to mark the exact moments to apply cement to the femur and insert the artificial joint."

Are there any surgeons on who care to share their own take on this trend?

Musician News

The Phoenix Symphony has announced four one-year string appointments for 2006-07. Jing Zeng has been named to a one-year section violin position; she is currently a member of the Virginia Symphony and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Danielle Guideri, principal cello of the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, has received a one-year appointment in Phoenix as section cellist. Sarah Koo, a member of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma, Italy, has also been named to a one-year section cello position. Finally, Jan Simiz, currently assistant principal cello, will assume the associate principal post for the 2006-07 season.

6/15/06 – Joshua Bell is in Baltimore this weekend, recording Corigliano’s The Red Violin with the Baltimore Symphony. Incoming music director Marin Alsop will conduct. Having performed the work in the score of the movie of the same name, Bell is widely associated with it, but his partners are old pros, too. According to the Baltimore Sun, “Corigiliano's large-scale concerto, developed out of his 1999 Academy Award-winning film score for The Red Violin, was commissioned by the BSO. The premiere in September 2003, with Bell and Alsop, had to be delayed a day because of Tropical Storm Isabel, but then caused a storm of its own - the public loved the work. Bell will perform Corigliano's Violin Sonata to fill out the CD.” Sony Classical is the label. The Baltimore Symphony’s most recent recording was made in 1998, with Hilary Hahn as soloist.

6/13/06 – The Boston Globe reported that Daniel Steiner, the president of New England Conservatory for the past seven years, has died. Steiner had previously announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2005-06 school year. He died of complications from chronic lung disease at 72, according to the paper. "During his tenure, the conservatory hired key faculty members, increased student applications, created a joint degree program with Harvard University, and launched a $100 million capital campaign that has raised about $72 million to date." Steiner's "lengthy legal career had included 22 years as Harvard's first general counsel….Mr. Steiner was acting president [of NEC] for a year and then was offered the presidency in part because faculty members were so impressed by his leadership and genial manner."

3/4/06 - Violinist Alexander Sprung won first place in the 10th Annual Hellam Young Artists’ Competition on March 4 in Springfield, MO. Sprung, a German, has just completed his second year in the undergraduate program at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Miriam Fried. He played the Sibelius Violin Concerto at the Hellam finals, where he was awarded $5,000. As reported here earlier this year, he had also won a prize in the Jacobs School’s 2006 Travel Grant Competition.

Conductor Appointments

Guy Victor Bordo has renewed his contract as music director with the Richmond (Ind.) Symphony Orchestra through 2011. For the past year, Bordo also serves as director of orchestras at the University of Akron School of Music.

Fyodor Cherniavsky has been named music director and conductor of Georgia's DeKalb Symphony Orchestra. The British-born conductor had been serving in that post on an interim basis since last November. Cherniavsky is currently on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta. In addition to his work as a conductor Cherniavsky is a producer for ACA Digital, Albany Records, National Public Radio, Telarc International, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He trained in bassoon, viola, and piano at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and subsequently pursued conducting studies.

Stefan Sanderling, music director of the Florida Orchestra, has signed a five-year contract that will keep him in the post through 2010-11.

Scott O'Neil will be joining the Colorado Symphony Orchestra as associate conductor, effective September 1. Since 2000 O'Neil has been with the Utah Symphony, most recently as associate conductor. He studied piano performance at Oberlin College Conservatory and earned a master's degree in orchestral conducting at Rice University, where he directed the Campanile Orchestra.

Miriam Burns has been named music director of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. She is currently music director/conductor of the Kenosha (Wis.) Symphony and of New York City's Orchestra of the Redeemer; a cover conductor on the staff of the New York Philharmonic; and conductor of the C.W. Post Summer Music Festival, where she also teaches conducting. Most recently, she served as music director of the Lawton (Okla.) Philharmonic, and was associate music director of the Bronx Opera for nine seasons.

From Danielle Goatley
Posted on June 16, 2006 at 1:39 AM
Stefan Sanderling is the principal conducter of the Toledo (Ohio) Orchestra too.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 17, 2006 at 12:57 AM
For hip surgery do they play hip hop? City of Angels starts with a cute female surgeon operating to Red House. Very hot.

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