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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 5

January 18, 2007 at 3:56 PM

1/14/07 – If you’ve been curious about the Symphonica Toscanini, a new, privately funded Italian orchestra that carries on the legacy of the great conductor Arturo Toscanini, read this profile in the Los Angeles Times. The orchestra’s first U.S. tour after earning raves at home is currently underway.

From the files: Wayne Schafer recently sent me a December 7 article from the Baltimore Sun profiling the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra that featured the group’s executive director and member Peter Schafer.

“Schafer …ha[s] made it a priority to take advantage of the youth orchestra's unique combination of quality musicianship and low ticket prices to bring classical music to a larger audience, particularly to those who otherwise would not have access to it. ‘The orchestra has always done community outreach work, traditionally in nursing homes and malls’, Schafer says. ‘This February we're going to be playing at Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins Hospital - but the one thing that's really new is our efforts to reach out to city audiences. We're trying to reach out to traditionally underserved audiences and to develop and nurture talent in city schools’."

What a worthy effort—keep us posted, Peter!

Musician News

1/21/07 – Violinist Zvi Zeitlin is playing a recital on the Faculty Artist Series at the Eastman School of Music.

1/16/07 - The Guardian (UK) ran an interesting profile of Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto. “In 1995, aged 19, Kuusisto became the first Finn to win the country's prestigious Sibelius Prize for young violinists, beating into second and third places, respectively, Nikolai Znaider and Elisabeth Batiashvili. It was a vintage year. Yet their careers haven't followed quite the same path since, and while all three can dazzle as a concerto soloist or hold a chamber music audience rapt, the odds are long on finding Znaider touring with an electronica band, or Batiashvili jamming along with a pair described as a Norwegian noise duo.”

1/16/07 – The New York Times ran a review of a concert Christian Tetzlaff gave with the Met Orchestra last weekend. The occasion was “the orchestra’s 50th program at Carnegie Hall since James Levine and his players emerged from the pit at the Metropolitan Opera to present a full-fledged symphonic concert in the hall in 1991. …But the concert is likely to be remembered most for the exhilarating performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, with Tetzlaff as soloist. This serious-minded 40-year-old German musician seemed somewhat dazed by the rock star ovation that erupted after his stunning performance.”

1/15/07Asian Journal ran a curious article about how 22-year-old violinist Stephen Shey recently performed the Philippine Kundiman as part of his repertoire for a benefit concert on January 12 at the Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, along South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. “No, Stephen is not Filipino American. Rather, the violinist, labeled as an unusual ambassador of Filipino music because of his special interest in the Kundiman, a sentimental Tagalog song characterized by soulfulness, is Chinese American by ethnicity but maybe Filipino by heart.”

1/15/07 – When Hilary Hahn dropped by Seattle to perform her first recital there in two years, the Seattle Times made sure to catch up with her.

1/15/07 – Now that 18-year-old McGill student and Celtic fiddler Sarah Burney won the Canadian Folk Music Award for “Young Performer of the Year” last month, the McGill Daily decided to get up close and personal.

1/14/07 – Newsday ran a brief profile of violin “prodigy Jourdan Urbach, 15, founder of Children Helping Children, [who] recently headlined benefit performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Since founding the organization eight years ago, Urbach has raised about $1.3 million for medical organizations nationwide. He began studying the violin before turning 3 and made his Lincoln Center debut as a soloist with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in 2003 and his Carnegie Hall debut two years later. Newsday. In addition, Urbach has authored two published novels, Leaving Jeremiah and Inside the Music. …Last year, he was one of five winners in the Dupont National Science Essay Competition; his paper was published by the Concord Review. He presented his ongoing research into myelin repair, conducted at Stony Brook University, at the National MS conference in Atlanta in 2005 and more recently to doctors in Houston and New York.”

1/14/07 – For a glimpse at what Urbach’s future might be like, read the Cincinnati Enquirer profile of Dr. Christopher Karp, director of the division of Molecular Immunology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and former concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. “Karp, 49, of Hyde Park, spends the first 90 minutes of each day practicing his ‘Robert Koff’ Vuillaume violin, that once belonged to his teacher, a founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet.”

1/14/07 – The Toledo Blade ran an obituary of Helena Ryan, 87, a violinist who “played with two symphony orchestras for decades and a competitive equestrian as a young woman who rode into her 60s. …She played second violin with the Jewish Community Center and Perrysburg Symphony orchestras until recent years. But she still listened to classical music and still played violin. ‘We still would get together and play duets because we enjoyed playing together’, said Dortha Stewart, also a violinist. ‘She was my stand partner for all those years when we played with the orchestras. She enjoyed making music, and she enjoyed reading music’.

Orchestra News

According to San Francisco Classical Voice, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation has awarded Tom Busse's City Concert Opera Orchestra a $3,000 gift to help with the organization's recording project for a PBS special next Christmas.

1/17/07 – According to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic has announced that its music director, Edvard Tchivzhel will step down when his contract expires in June 2008. J.L. Nave, executive director of the Philharmonic since April 2006, said the resignation was the result of differences of opinion between Tchivzhel on one side and Nave and the Philharmonic board on the other about the future of the orchestra. “Nave comments: ‘Edvard has a vision that involves increasing concerts and increasing numbers of full-time musicians. That vision is contrary to the vision of many in the organization who feel that we need to take a closer look at what the Philharmonic and Fort Wayne can support and are willing to support’. Nave adds: ‘We've had five years of operational deficit ... More concerts and more full-time musicians probably is not in the cards for us. That doesn't necessarily mean fewer musicians and fewer concerts. It just means we need to find ways to preserve what we have’."

From Linda Lerskier
Posted on January 18, 2007 at 10:04 PM
I can't believe I missed Christian Tetzlaff's Beethoven! Ugh!
From Andrew Sords
Posted on January 19, 2007 at 5:25 AM
Lisa Batiashvili got 2nd in the Sibelius Comp...the "Guardian" misprinted that.
From Frank Self
Posted on January 19, 2007 at 5:21 PM
The entire MET Orchestra concert last Sunday was spectacular, but Christian Tetzlaff's Beethoven grabbed me from first note and continues to do so now. Youth, passion, the long line, subtlety, imagination—I'll never forget this performance.
From Jennifer Greenlee
Posted on January 19, 2007 at 9:38 PM
Christian Tetzlaff is also performing with the Indianapolis Symphony tonight and tomorrow bere in Indy! I'd say it's worth the trip!

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