April 8, 2007 at 5:40 PM
4/8/07 – The Washington Post featured an intriguing gimmick as the cover story of the Sunday Magazine: Put a top-drawer violinist busking at a Metro subway station, and see how people react and how much dough he rakes in. When the Washington Post asked National Symphony Music Director Leonard Slatkin how much he thought such an experiment would yield the virtuoso, he predicted $150. Well, the actual take was $32 and the violinist was none other than Joshua Bell. An entertaining video clip accompanies the story.
Don’t miss the New York Times’ timely analysis of classical music’s role in China—and vice versa.
4/3/07 - First, China has become a considerable force in Western classical music. Conservatories are bulging. Provincial cities demand orchestras and concert halls. Pianos and violins made in China fill shipping containers leaving its ports. The Chinese enthusiasm suggests the potential for a growing market for recorded music and live performances just as an aging fan base and declining record sales worry many professionals in Europe and the United States."
4/4/07 - Second, "With stunning swiftness China's surging ranks of classical musicians have found a home in Western concert halls, conservatories and opera houses, jolting a musical tradition born in the courts and churches of Europe... The phenomenon, which has been building for at least a decade, has gathered steam in the last few years, injecting new vitality into the American classical music scene."
Eric Silberger, an 18-year-old violinist, has been selected as one of two violinists representing the United States at the 2007 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in June 2007. Most recently, Silberger has won a Toyota Scholarship Award for the invitees of the Tchaikovsky Competition in New York. He is currently a scholarship student and studies violin with the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Glenn Dicterow, at the Juilliard Pre-College. Silberger serves as concertmaster of the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra and is a 12 th-grader at Tenafly High School in New Jersey. He will perform a solo recital at the Louvre in Paris, France, in October 2007, which will be broadcast live on Radio France.
4/6/07 – The St. Petersburg Times profiled violinist Jeff Multer, concertmaster of the Florida Orchestra.
4/5/07 – Minnesota Public Radio ran a feature (including audio clips, of course) of violinist Maxim Vengerov’s new recording of the Mozart Violin Concertos Nos. 2 and 4, in which he appears as both soloist and conductor.
4/4/07 - The Denver Post reported that Colorado Symphony Music Director Jeffrey Kahane has cancelled his April appearances due to severe hypertension. "Severe or malignant hypertension provokes symptoms beyond those associated with typical high blood pressure. These can include confusion, headaches and vision irregularities. And if left untreated, it can lead to heart failure, kidney failure or stroke." The ailment also forced him to cancel his March appearances. The additional cancellations stem from “Kahane’s doctor wanting him to have additional recuperation time and does not mean his condition has worsened ... the orchestra is ‘beyond reasonably confident’ that Kahane will be back in action for his May concerts and the symphony’s June finale, a week-long Beethoven festival that includes Kahane performing all the composer’s piano concertos.”
4/4/07 – The always-entertaining Norman LeBrecht paid tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich in Bloomberg’s on the occasion of the cellist’s 80th birthday: "No soloist in modern times has inspired more new works; no cellist in history did more to expand the instrument's repertoire. Slava has given about 240 premieres, including concertos by the three Russian masters, the Frenchman Henri Dutilleux, the Estonian Arvo Paert and the Poles Lutoslawski, Panufnik and Penderecki."
4/3/07 – The Intelligencer (PA) ran a profile of violinist Caryn Lin: “When [she] was in elementary school, a music teacher discouraged her from following her heart and taking instrumental lessons….These days, the professional electric violinist is busy taking her musical talents on the road -- but not those late-night gigs at smoky bars. Now, her main audience consists mostly of those more familiar with juice boxes than frozen margaritas.”
4/3/07 – The Independent (UK) reported on the 2007 Classical Brit nominations. “The winner of the album of the year is chosen by Classic FM listeners and Classic FM magazine readers ... The frontrunner is [violinist] Nicola Benedetti, the 19-year-old former BBC Young Musician of the Year, who received three nominations ... Benedetti's rivals for instrumentalist of the year include the British trumpeter Alison Balsom and the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.”
The documentary film featuring the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra, “Music from the Inside Out,” has been released commercially in a special edition DVD. The DVD includes material not seen or heard in the film’s theatrical release, such as extended musical performances and deleted scenes with appearances by guest artists including violinist Sarah Chang. Other extras are commentary from director Daniel Anker, interviews with Anker and the musicians in the film, and a special conductor segment.
4/30/07 - The Juilliard Orchestra will perform at Alice Tully Hall in a gala concert and benefit, the venue’s final event before it closes for an 18-month renovation as part of Lincoln Center’s West 65th Street Redevelopment. “Good Night Alice,” emceed by Tom Brokaw, will feature performances by Wynton Marsalis, Audra McDonald, Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass, among others. A television broadcast of the concert, “Lincoln Center Special: A Gala Night at Alice Tully Hall,” will air on PBS stations nationwide on May 3 as part of its “Live from Lincoln Center” series. The hall is scheduled to re-open in winter 2008 in anticipation of Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2009-10.
4/4/07 – The Virginian-Pilot reports that the Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra has changed its name to Symphonicity. “The orchestra announced its new name at a concert Sunday at Tallwood High School before an audience of about 600. Conductor David Kunkel said the 26-year-old orchestra made the bold move for a couple of reasons. First, people often confused the Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra with ... the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Second, the Virginia Beach orchestra is about to move into new digs at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts at Town Center ... And while an audience of 600 looks cozy at Tallwood, it would leave the Sandler Center half empty. The orchestra needs a bigger audience, which requires more marketing, Kunkel said. So the orchestra hired a consultant -- HCD Advertising & Public Relations -- then brainstormed a list of hundreds of possible names.” Dan Downing, executive vice president at HCD, comments: ‘It's a $50 word, that's for sure. But it's something that you see it, you don't forget it’.”
Other Music News
In the April issue of Chamber Music, Celeste Headlee, granddaughter of composer William Grant Still, writes: “My grandfather was known as the dean of African-American composers, a title that he alternately treasured and hated. Throughout his life, he protested the label. He believed he should be known simply as a composer, or as an American composer, more specifically. If Copland is never introduced as a Jewish composer, why should William Grant Still always be black?” Headlee adds: “He was the first African-American to do so many things: the first to conduct a major orchestra, the first to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra and the first to have an opera produced by a large company ... My grandfather blazed trails and others have continued with that arduous track. But I also believe that the journey is barely half over. I rarely hear my grandfather’s music performed except during February -- Black History Month.”
4/5/07 – PlaybillArts.com posted an overview of the new television version of From the Top. Several young violinists will appear in various of the thirteen episodes. Joshua Bell will make a guest appearance on the sixth episode.
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