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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 6

January 21, 2007 at 7:45 PM

1/18/07 - In Thursday's Christian Science Monitor, Amelia Thomas reports on the Belgian charity Music Fund, which was formed by President Lukas Pairon in 2005 "to provide practical support to young musicians and music schools in conflict zones and developing countries. It was born of a collaboration between Ictus, a Belgian contemporary-music ensemble, and the nongovernmental organization Oxfam Solidarity.


1/12/07 – For a look at how musicians are able to acquire stringed instruments in the big-boy leagues, read the Times of London’s look at instrument syndicates. “Jamie Walton is in love. And the problem with the object of his affection is not so much that she’s out of his league as that she’s out of his price range. The 32-year-old cellist has fallen for a Guarneri, one of only a few remaining cellos made by the legendary Italian firm in the 18th century. And the particular model that he’s set his heart on will set him back a painful £890,000, or $1.7 million.”


Be sure to take a peek at the current issue of Strings magazine (where I used to be a frequent contributor) for an in-depth look at being a concertmaster in a leading American orchestra.

Musician News

1/20/07 – Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, fresh from a rave review in the New York Times, created more pyrotechnics, this time in Indianapolis. The Indy Times opined, “Soaring melodies, an unusual first-movement cadenza, an uncanny balance that ISO Music Director Mario Venzago repeatedly struck with Tetzlaff, hushed solo playing, attention-grabbing attacks and careful high-register work all added up to a breathtaking concerto.” As if all this weren’t enough Tetzlaff kept his cool when his pegs popped during the cadenza in the Beethoven Violin Concerto: “Prospects were good that the cadenza would be interesting anyway, because, according to the ISO, Tetzlaff has been using a version that Beethoven reportedly wrote for a piano version of the concerto. But then, the soloist's instrument suddenly went out of tune, and he quickly switched instruments with guest concertmaster Jonathan Carney. While Tetzlaff continued his solo, Carney retuned the soloist's fiddle before handing it back.”

1/20/07 – Violinist Doosook Kim, concertmaster of the Sioux Falls, SD, Symphony, soloed in the Berg Violin Concerto. She is one of nine full-time professional musicians in the orchestra.

1/19/07 – The Yale Daily News ran an entertaining account of how Yale Symphony concertmaster, Mari-E Takahashi has spiced up the orchestra’s annual Halloween concerts for the last two years. “Usually, she explained, the concertmaster or mistress plays a solo on the electric violin, jazzing up the usual classical fare of the orchestra. When it was her turn to carry on this tradition, she decided it would be fun to put on a leather bra and a short ‘skanky’ pink skirt. Her friends’ shock before the concert convinced her to add a shirt to the mix, but onstage, she stripped down. It is hard to imagine why Takahashi would be reticent to discuss how undeniably sexy she is onstage, scantily clad — be it in the now infamous leather bra outfit, or the slinky negligee she wore in 2006. Perhaps it is because she is first and foremost the talented leader of Yale’s most prestigious orchestra, a person for whom playing the electric violin in lingerie is simply an amusing diversion.” Sorry, fellas, no photos.

1/19/07 – Read icWales for a look at how violinist and conductor John Stein built the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra: “I was leading the Royal Ballet when I was asked. I said ‘Yes. How many players will I have?’ I was told ‘Five.’”

1/12/07 – The Orange County Register recently profiled jazz violinist Regina Carter. In the article, she describes playing the “Cannon” Guarneri, once owned by Paganini: “She is the first jazz musician and the first black American to play the 260-year-old Guarneri violin (nicknamed ‘the Cannon’) once owned by legendary composer and violinist Niccolò Paganini. She played the treasured instrument in its home – Genoa, Italy – and also in New York, both onstage and in the recording studio. ‘It was an incredible experience’, she said. ‘The violin itself has such an incredible sound. Usually, only classical players are allowed to play it. I was the first nonclassical player that they allowed to play it. It was heavily guarded, and I couldn't make a move with it, without them being right there’.”

1/11/07 – The Anchorage Daily News ran an obituary of violinist Ruth Jefford, concertmaster of the Anchorage Symphony for nearly 30 years. Additionally, Jefford, who was 92, was the first woman commercial air taxi pilot in the state, flying planes in Alaska for 60 years.

1/10/07 - Piotr Filochowski, 15, is originally from Poland, but now lives in New Jersey and studies violin with Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School in New York City. He was recently featured on From the Top and is the recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. Piotr will receive an award of $10,000 to help him continue his music studies and assist him with music-related needs. NPR has posted an audio clip of him playing.

Orchestra News

1/22/07 - The Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra will receive $10,000 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. as a winner of the 2006 Coming Up Taller award. The orchestra is one of seventeen youth arts and humanities organizations selected for the national honor. Coming Up Taller is an initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The awards recognize and support outstanding community programs in the arts that celebrate and cultivate the creativity of America's youth.

1/18/07 - The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra departed for its first European tour since 1998. Led by Artistic Partner Roberto Abbado, the orchestra will visit Budapest, Vienna, Zagreb, Maribor, Warsaw and Berlin. Orchestra students from Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools competed to win a chance to join the orchestra overseas. Those selected by a panel of musicians and community leaders will observe and interact with the orchestra during its time in Vienna and Budapest.

From Preston Hawes
Posted on January 24, 2007 at 6:24 AM

Mari-e and her antics. Good player though, she's the only undergrad in the Kavafian studio.

The Yale Symphony Orchestra, however is not the most prestigious orchestra at Yale...the Philharmonia (Graduate orchestra) is much more accomplished. the YSO is populated by a large number of Philharmonia members to fill in the holes.

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