January 8, 2007 at 12:49 AM1/4/07 – Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber published an interesting opinion piece in The Telegraph (UK) about the rigors of the soloist’s life. In it, he refers to a “wide-ranging” interview with Jeremy Menuhin, son of the legendary violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin, that concluded: ‘Perhaps it would have been better if my father never had children’. “And that damning verdict on Menuhin's shortcomings as a parent brings home the near impossibility of trying to juggle a career as an international musician with the everyday demands of family life.
Many people have stressful jobs, so I am wary of too much special pleading on behalf of musicians. But I do know what a nightmarishly lonely place the concert platform can be when you are playing by memory and things are not working out right. Unlike an actor, the soloist has no prompt. The spotlight is on you, and if things go wrong it is your fault.
Bad news travels fast in the world of classical music. A few years ago, I lost count of the number of times inside a week that I heard about the violinist who suffered a serious memory lapse while performing the Mendelssohn concerto in Liverpool. This unfortunate soloist has hardly worked since, and a similar fate befell the pianist who forgot the opening of Grieg's concerto at a televised Prom.”
The piece concludes with reference to a forum called "State of Play.”
“To be held in two weeks' time at London's Roundhouse, this event, I now discover, is about to determine the future of music education in this country and will be attended by 900 delegates, including the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson. Suddenly, it seems crucially important for this motion to succeed.”
1/9/07 – Violinist Janine Jansen will release her new recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on the Decca label.
1/7/07 – According to the Cleveland Jewish News, violinist Daniel Broniatowski returned to his ancestral town of Czestochowa, Poland to perform with the local orchestra at the Third Congress of the World Society of Czestochowa Jews and Their Descendants. The 26-year-old is a doctoral student in violin at Boston University.
1/6/07 – The Los Angeles Times ran a brief obituary for Janos Furst, 71, a Hungarian violinist and conductor who worked with orchestras around the world. He died Wednesday of cancer in a Paris hospital, said Sandor Gyudi, director of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra. “Furst had been artistic director of the orchestra, based in the southern Hungarian city of Szeged, since 2002. Born in Budapest in 1935, Furst studied violin in the Hungarian capital's Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music and left Hungary in November 1956, after that year's short-lived anti-Soviet uprising. After winning the Premier Prix at the Brussels Conservatory, he worked as a concertmaster and later turned to conducting. Besides his work with orchestras in Paris, Madrid, Prague, London and Helsinki, among others, Furst was music director of the Marseilles Opera for nine years and taught conducting at the National Conservatory of Music in Paris. From 1990 to 1994, he was principal conductor of the Musikkollegium Winterthur Orchestra in Switzerland.”
1/6/07 - Violinist Caroline Goulding will be featured on The Martha Stewart Show on Monday, Jan. 9. The 14-year-old will play a short excerpt from composer William Kroll's piece, Banjo and Fiddle. She performed the same piece in the fall at Carnegie Hall with banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck. That concert was taped for an episode of the PBS television series From the Top. It is scheduled to air sometime in April, reports the Port Huron (Mich.) Times-Herald.
1/5/07 – Violinist Jassen Todorov, an assistant professor of music at San Francisco State University, has won a Crystal Lyre Award, the highest honor for achievement in music and dance in his native Bulgaria. According to a university press release, “The award honors achievement in 15 categories, including music and dance folklore, pop and rock music and orchestral art. Todorov was one of seven nominees in the young performers and artists category….Winners receive a Crystal Lyre statuette, diploma and cash prize of 300 Euros…. Todorov's father, Nedjalcho Todorov, a noted violinist and 2003 Crystal Lyre winner, accepted the award on his son’s behalf. The San Francisco resident is looking forward to performing with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria on Jan. 12. Not only will it be his first solo recital in his home country in 10 years, but also his first time performing with his father in public.”
1/5/07 - The Albany Times-Union reports that "Julius Hegyi, the flashy, severe conductor who over two decades guided the Albany Symphony Orchestra from a community ensemble to a professional philharmonic that championed American music, died New Year's Day at his home in Phoenix. He was 83 and had long suffered from Alzheimer's disease." Hegyi, who served as the Albany Symphony's music director from 1966 to 1987 and subsequently as conductor emeritus, was the son of Hungarian immigrants and a violin prodigy who "graduated with high honors from The Juilliard School." For 20 years beginning in the mid-1940s Hegyi "performed and conducted in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and other states."
1/4/07 - The Chicago Tribune ran a profile of Quartet Parapluie, pegged to its "pop-meets-classical" performance that evening at The Hideout in Chicago. The paper describes the all-female ensemble as "a string quartet with an indie-rock heart [that] has been balancing a classical group's conventional slate of wedding gigs and cocktail receptions with occasional, less orthodox forays into pop: Its members have recently played with Rilo Kiley, Sufjan Stevens, Pinetop Seven and Kanye West." Thursday's program includes "songs from artists including Edward Burch and the 1900s, of which Parapluie violinist Andra Kulans is a member ... the original vocalists will provide accompaniment. The Quartet hopes to make it a regular event."
The New York Youth Symphony has received a $125,000 grant for its Growing Music Initiative from the New York State Music Fund, reports the American Symphony Orchestra League. The program will expand the Making Score seminar series for composers under age 23; increase the First Music commissioning program for the jazz band, chamber music program, and chorus; and allow for archiving of the organization's music library, which includes dozens of recordings of world premieres, making these works available for educational purposes.
1/24/07 - The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will release a recording with Music Director Paavo Järvi on the Telarc label. The all-Rachmaninoff disc includes Symphony No. 2 in E Minor; Dances from the opera "Aleko"; and a scherzo dating from the composer's early years at the Moscow Conservatory.
1/22/07 – The Requiem for Darfur event will bring together artists from the New York, Brooklyn, and Berlin philharmonics, the orchestras of Philadelphia, Minnesota, San Diego, New Jersey, Albany, and Saint Louis, along with the National Youth Orchestra of South Africa, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. They will join forces at Carnegie Hall for a concert featuring the Verdi Requiem to raise funds and awareness for the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. For more information, visit http://www.requiemfordarfur.org
1/3/07 – Leave it to the alternative press to gleefully point out shortcomings of the major daily newspapers in town, as shown by Seattle Weekly: “The Seattle Symphony has had a turbulent year filled with musician unhappiness over the orchestra's musical leadership. The orchestra's talented executive director got out when things started to get really bad, and the orchestra posted a big deficit. But the city's two newspapers have done a lazy job of covering the problems, and a messy situation has become even worse.”
12/27/06 – PlaybillArts.com reports that Canada's National Arts Centre and National Capital Commission have announced a three-year partnership to present a summer festival of outdoor orchestral concerts in the NCC's new festival park at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa. “The festival will offer free evening concerts by the National Arts Centre Orchestra in the new park, which covers a 3.6-hectare area in the heart of the city. Four concerts will take place July 19-22 as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Ottawa's designation as Canada's capital.”
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