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Violinist News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 52

August 9, 2006 at 10:51 PM

The American Federation of Musicians has signed an agreement with 48 classical-music institutions pertaining to the recording of live music. According to the 8/8/06 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "The pact allows orchestras like the [Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra] to reduce upfront payments to its musicians for any live recordings sold as CDs or digital downloads, but will increase revenue sharing of those products." PSO President Larry Tamburri comments: "It has been too long in coming ... It means that the cost in recording the orchestra has gone down." The paper notes: "Under the new deal, 'people are not going to be earning a significant amount from recordings,' said Bill Foster, a violist in the National Symphony Orchestra, 'but it might be a steady amount, and it could be more if there is a very highly successful recording.' " Zarin Mehta, president of the New York Philharmonic, remarks: "It represents another step toward bringing orchestras into the digital age, which is essential for increasing accessibility to classical music and reaching a broader audience."


The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is preparing to move into its new, $80 million facility in the San Francisco Civic Center next week. “The region's musical life is getting a major lift,” opines San Francisco Classical Voice. “As long as the school remained "hidden" in the Sunset District for most of its 89-year existence, the hundreds of concerts produced there received scant publicity.” The new facility at 50 Oak Street offers vital improvements in classroom, studio, and rehearsal spaces, plus a trio of new performance venues: the 120-seat Osher Salon, the 140-seat Recital Hall, and the 450-seat Concert Hall. The building will be officially unveiled on September 7.

Musician News

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative has announced that Pinchas Zukerman will serve as mentor in the music discipline during the program's 2006-07 cycle. He will be the first instrumentalist to serve as a mentor in the biennial program, which was launched in 2002.

Patrick Miles has renewed his contract as music director of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra (Stevens Point, Wis.) through the 2008-09 season.

Bernard Rubenstein has renewed his contract as music director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra through the 2008-09 season.

Violist Naimah Bilal has joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as artistic coordinator. She holds a bachelor's degree in viola performance from Indiana University and a master's from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and had previously worked with the Cleveland International Piano Competition.

Violinist Care Napolitano has been named executive director of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra. She holds a bachelor's degree in violin performance from the Catholic University of America's Rome School of Music, where she formerly worked as orchestra manager and production coordinator. Napolitano is also a teacher, a freelance musician, and a director for the Kerr Center for Performing Arts.

Daniel Rubenstein, violin, and Muhiddin Dürrüoglu-Demiriz, piano, released Suites & Partitas of Modern Times in June. The recording, released on Talent Records, includes works by Stravinsky, Dallapiccola, Schnittke, and Lutoslawski. It closes with Don Freund's "Sonapartita, Noch Nach Bach," a work commissioned by the duo.

8/8/06 – Violinist Hilary Hahn made her Hollywood Bowl debut playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. According to the LA Daily News, “Her next recording, featuring concertos by Paganini and Spohr, is both wish fulfillment and a trip backward for her. Full of virtuosic flights but lacking weighty emotional moments, these concertos have long been associated with younger performers. The violinist says she would have preferred to record them earlier but was overruled by the label she was then signed to, Sony Classical. Deutsche Grammophon presumably has no such misgiving. Regardless, the record will be in stores Oct. 10.”

8/7/06 – According to the Salt Lake Tribune, 13-year-old violinist William Hagen performed the Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra at the Deer Valley Music Festival. “The Salt Lake City native tackled French composer/violin virtuoso Henry in D minor. The charming prodigy played with the heart of a poet, creating elegant, lyrical phrases and spine-tingling tones. Wearing a white dinner jacket that matched symphony members', Hagen played the work's opening phrases cleanly and in tune, with enough passion to keep an appreciative audience riveted. Quick snatches of notes and rich double-stop passages were easily executed in the work's Scherzo movement, and the fiery last movement further highlighted an interpretative gift limited only by his inexperience and still-developing technique.”

8/6/06 –Jose Valencia, an Indianapolis-based violinist and conductor, will be the music director of the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra next concert season, reports the Indianapolis Star. He served as concertmaster of the Kokomo Symphony last season, and is throwing his hat into the ring for consideration as the orchestra’s permanent music director. He is the founding director of the 3-year-old Orkestra Projekt, music director of the Athenaeum Orchestra and frequently plays in the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra violin section, according to the paper.

8/4/06 – Yo-Yo Ma performed the world premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's new work for cello and orchestra, Azul, at Tanglewood.

8/1/06 – The Noblesville (Ind.) Ledger had a cute, violin-related human interest story. After one family bought a house from another, the buyers decided to invite the sellers over for dinner. It turns out that one of the seller’s children, Justin Olson, 19, plays the violin. The buyer had her grandmother’s 200-year-old violin and brought it out for her guest to play some after-dinner music. She was so impressed that she has loaned it to him indefinitely. “Justin Olson will study political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., this fall and had been wavering on whether he would join the orchestra. Playing Quatman's violin, his mother said, inspired him to continue performing. The violin has a much richer tone and is easier to play than his other violin, she said.”

7/1-12/06 – Turkey has a new summer music festival, reports the Turkish Daily News. Cellist Şölen Dikener of Marshall University in West Virginia founded the Academy Datça-First International Summer Music Academy. “The violin class was conducted by emerging Turkish violinist Özcan Ulucan -- assistant to Maxim Vengerov currently studying in Germany -- together with famous violinist Ellen Jewettof Canada's McGill University.”

Orchestra News

8/7/06 - The Sacramento Philharmonic will release its first-ever CD next year, reports the Sacramento Bee. The recording will feature "the live recording of three world premieres, with one of them the long-awaited premiere 'Night Thoughts' by composer Andre Previn ... The commissioned works, which will define the Philharmonic's 2006-07 10th anniversary season, include Gang Situ's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra and Jon Jang's Chinese American Symphony, along with Previn's [work]. The Situ and Jang commissions are part of the Philharmonic's 'Gold Mountain' project, designed as a tribute to the contributions of Chinese Americans in California."

8/6/06 - The Boston Symphony plans to replace the stage floor in Symphony Hall, reports the Boston Globe: "After more than two years of planning by Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director James Levine, management, staff, and musicians, the floorboards came up in July and new planks will be put down this week. The rebuilt floor will be ready for the opening of the next season on Sept. 29 ... BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe says the decision to replace the floor was driven by 'safety considerations.' " The paper notes, "The floor was uneven and pockmarked by a century's worth of stabbing cello and string bass end-pins, rolling pianos, risers coming onstage and off," adding: "Specialists in several fields have been called in for studies and advice, including the acoustical firm Acentech Inc. and Wood Advisory Services Inc. of Millbrook, N.Y." The orchestra has saved the floorboards and plans to polish them, and sell small pieces as mementos and souvenirs.

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