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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 22

March 18, 2007 at 2:36 PM


3/15/07 – The critic at Newsday recently complained publicly about the Vienna Philharmonic’s glacial pace toward including women among its ranks and announced a personal boycott until women players (besides harpists) are accepted. Now, he’s written a follow-up piece:

“A couple of generations ago, symphony orchestras were all-male, lily-white clubs. Today, women make up 46 percent of orchestra musicians and nonwhites 14 percent, according to a survey by the American Symphony Orchestra League. But women do far better getting positions in smaller, part-time ensembles, where they outnumber men (they constitute 67 percent of the Long Island Philharmonic, for instance) than they do in the most prestigious orchestras, where they constitute just over a third of the players."

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3/17/07 – The Terre Haute Tribune-Star ran a fun historical piece noting the 135th anniversary of a local concert given by famed Norwegian violinist Ole Bull. “Charismatic, Bull was Norway’s first international star. Henrik Wergeland, a contemporary Norwegian poet, wrote, ‘The greatest marvel is that Bull has brought Norway home to Norsemen. Most people knew the country folk songs but were ashamed to admire them’.”

A Norwegian patriot, he founded a short-lived colony in Pennsylvania to help his impoverished countrymen and later married a young American woman, dividing his time between Wisconsin and Norway. “Largely influenced as a youth by German composer-violinist Louis Spohr and Niccolo Paganini, Bull became obsessed with mimicking the Italian violinist’s mannerisms. Bull numbered among his many friends Otto von Bismarck, Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Von Moltke, Hungarian freedom fighter Louis Kossuth, dramatist Henrik Ibsen, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hungarian pianist-composer Franz Liszt, Polish pianist-composer Frederic Chopin and German composer Felix Mendelssohn.”

Who knew?


Musician News

National Symphony Orchestra Principal Second Violin Marissa Regni will be a judge on “America’s Hot Musician,” an “American Idol”-style show for instrumental musicians. The show, set to run for twelve weeks on the Oxygen Network, will begin taping in May and is now accepting applications. The winner will receive a one-year recording contract. For more information, visit www.americashotmusician.org.

3/17/07 – This weekend, Midori is playing recitals in Winter Park and Gainesville, Fla. Then, next Thursday and Saturday, she will perform the Adams Violin Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony.

3/17/07 – Violinist Elissa Cassini performed a recital at the Juilliard School.

3/17/07 - Violinist Laurie Smukler gave a recital at Bard College. In addition to being a Conservatory faculty member at Bard, she is also professor of violin and head of the string area at the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase.

3/14/07 – According to wire service reports, the man arrested in Paris on suspicion of stealing two violins valued at $300,000 was charged in U.S. District Court Tuesday with interstate transportation of stolen property. “Anthony Eugene Notarstefano, 42, of Long Beach was charged with transporting the violins from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, and then to Paris, where he was arrested while attempting to sell them, authorities said. The violins were stolen Dec. 23 from the home of Mark Kashper, a violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”


Orchestra News

3/17/07 - The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra presented “Play,” a conference for composers, young musicians, and video game players. The conference included a reading session, a composer’s workshop, a career session with information on how to break into video game industry, and a session on the composer’s vision with Mike Salvatori, who created music for the video game “Halo.” A concert on Sunday, March 18 will feature 165 string players from Elgin’s Prelude Orchestra, Philharmonia, and Youth Symphony, performing the theme from “Halo.”

3/15/07 - The New York Philharmonic has announced its European tour schedule. The orchestra and music director Lorin Maazel will tour Europe from May 3-18, performing in Warsaw, Budapest, Vienna, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Cologne, Paris and Luxembourg. Throughout the tour, the Philharmonic will perform highlights from “Brahms the Romantic: A Philharmonic Festival,” its ongoing event. A work by Brahms will be performed at each of the 14 concerts on the tour. Violinist Julia Fischer will perform the Brahms Violin Concerto, while concertmaster Glenn Dicterow and principal cello Carter Brey will perform the Brahms Double Concerto.

3/10/07 - The Fargo-Moorhead (ND) Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 75th anniversary with a gala concert. The program was designed to give today’s audience a sense of the most popular composers at the time of the orchestra’s first concert. It included Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del Destino, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, and Wagner’s “Good Friday Spell” from Parsifal. The concert also included the world premiere of “Prairie Skies” by Peter Schickele, which was commissioned for the anniversary celebration.

3/12/07 – The Dallas Morning News weighed in on the Fort Worth Symphony’s plan to make some of its 2007-08 concerts more accessible (and shorter) by shaving movements out of larger symphonies. “Then the complaints started rolling in, and the orchestra had to make a quick course correction. But the effort to create a less formal and rigid concert experience without offending longtime fans is one faced by orchestras across the country.”


From Patrick Hu
Posted on March 18, 2007 at 6:51 PM
If anyone in Europe attends the NY Phil Tour, please tell us about it! I wish I could see Ms. Fisher live!
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on March 18, 2007 at 7:54 PM
The N.Y. Phil is calling the tour "Taking It Back Home, 2007"
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 19, 2007 at 2:26 AM
Van Karajan battled a lot of his own symphony members when he hired the first woman among them. The concertmistress of the National Symphony Orchestra, Wash. DC, today is a woman.
From Mischa S.
Posted on March 19, 2007 at 7:14 AM
Great! Terrific program in the concert of Köln as well - I'll be there. I heard Julia Fischer twice, and both performances were tremendous.

@Pauline: currently there're (just) 12 to 15% female player in the Berlin Philharmonics, quite a way to go, but the mentality drastically changed, there's simply a new generation coming. In 20 years, gender discrimination won't be an issue there as it isn't in the most orchestras here. I hope.
This little essay about Gender Bias in International Orchestras might be interesting for you.

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