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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 43

June 1, 2007 at 3:05 AM

5/29/07PlaybillArts.com reports that a 1680 Stradivarius violin worth about €2.5 million was stolen over the weekend from an apartment in central Vienna. “Also missing were a Vuillaume violin valued at about €120,000, three bows worth €12,000 in total, and some jewelry and electronics, according to reports from Agence France-Presse and RIA-Novosti. The thief or thieves evidently knew what they were after and what was necessary to get it: he or they brought a blowtorch and used it to break into the wall safe where the instruments were kept.

“The victim, a 49-year-old Austrian violinist who was not further identified, discovered the theft upon returning home on Sunday night (May 27) from a chamber music performance in Germany, according to the Associated Press.”

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5/30/07 – The Boston Globe reported on the Conservatory Lab Charter School: “Literally and figuratively, music is in the air at the Conservatory Lab Charter School -- and in the curriculum, too.

“Plenty of elementary schools teach music, but how many require students to attend a 45-minute music class every day, and to take half-hour violin lessons twice a week, and to practice every night? How many issue a violin to each student in first grade, which he or she gets to keep until graduating fifth grade? How many organize the entire educational experience around music?”

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5/30/07 – The International Herald-Tribune has a thought-provoking article on pernambucco, which is danger of extinction: “If you think the problem of endangered species is all about tigers, elephants and orangutans, ask a violinist where he gets his bow. The best violin bows are made from pau brasil, a tree from the Brazilian rain forest that has been exploited for 500 years, and was once so economically vital for the red dye it produced that it gave its name to the only country where it grows. Pau brasil is among dozens of plants and animals threatened with extinction that are on the agenda of the 171-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, which opens its meeting Sunday. About 7,000 animals and 32,000 plant families now are regulated, including more than 800 species which are banned completely from commerce.”

And how many of us really understand the technicalities of harvesting the rare wood: “It takes a lot of wood to make a violin bow — of every 3,300 pounds (1,497 kilograms), only 220 to 440 pounds (100 to 200 kilograms) are usable, experts say, and 80 percent of that is wasted in carving the bow. The tree has a trunk only about 15 feet (4.5 meters) long, meaning a tree can produce only a few bows.”


Musician News

From the Top recently announced the newly established Jack Kent Cooke Talent Development Award for students 14 and under. The award includes a $5,000 scholarship, artistic advising and participation in From the Top's enrichment programs. This scholarship is renewable after one year for a two-year total award of $10,000.

The first recipients included a violinist: 13-year-old Emily Hudock from Sterling Heights, Mich. A pianist and a percussionist snagged the other two awards.

6/2/07 - The Pacifica String Quartet will perform at the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle at Bard College. The quartet consists of violinists Simin Ganatra and Sibbi Bernhardsson, violist Masumi Per Rostad, and cellist Brandon Vamos.

5/30/07 – The New Zealand Herald notes that American violinist Mark Kaplan was the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's savior in 2005 when, at a few days' notice, he replaced an ailing Salvatore Accardo in a sterling performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. “Tomorrow night, he returns, in his own right, with the Second Violin Concerto of Bela Bartok. It was this work that got Kaplan his first break in 1975, standing in for Pinchas Zukerman in Cologne.”

5/29/07CCTV in Beijing has posted a profile and a video clip of violinist Li Chuanyun on its website.

5/28/07Commentary magazine posted a short opinion piece on its website that ponders why violinist Cho-Liang Lin, once the darling of the classical music world, no longer seems to receive the recognition he is due.


Orchestra News

5/31/07Newsday reports that the Children's Orchestra Society will make its Carnegie Hall debut. The group was founded by the father of Yo-Yo Ma and is now led by his sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma, a violinist and pediatrician. Violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson join the group for Brahms' Double Concerto.

5/30/07 - The Portland Symphony Orchestra “introduced 40-year-old Robert A. Moody on Wednesday as its new music director and conductor,” reports the Portland Herald (ME). Moody is now music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony in North Carolina, a job that he will retain. He will balance both jobs and maintain a home in each community.”

5/30/07- Orchestre de Paris said Wednesday it had appointed the Estonian-born American Paavo Järvi as its music director from 2010, according to the Baltic News Service. “The 44-year-old will take over from the German Christoph Eschenbach at the head of the orchestra that has had many high-profile collaborators, including Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim ... Järvi’s contract with the Orchestre de Paris requires him to be present for a minimum of 14 weeks and 28 concerts per season in Paris and on tour.”

5/29/07 – Both the Detroit Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra had major onstage glitches this week, reports PlaybillArts.com: “During a Cleveland Orchestra performance that evening (May 24) at Severance Hall, music director Franz Welser-Möst was forced to stop the show twice during the last movement of Alban Berg's Chamber Concerto for Piano, Violin and 13 Wind Instruments, with Mitsuko Uchida as soloist….

“Meanwhile, in Detroit, Yefim Bronfman stopped the show while performing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Towards the end of the first movement, according to The Detroit News, Bronfman stopped playing and called out to conductor Peter Oundjian that a D-natural on the keyboard's upper register wasn't working. While the house piano technician wrangled with the keyboard, Oundjian and Bronfman joked on stage: ‘I don't see what the big deal is. The D is missing and the concerto happens to be in D minor’, said Oundjian. ‘Right now’, replied Bronfman, ‘I wish I played violin’."

5/29/07 - Bloomberg.com reports: “Broadway musicians, who staged a four-day strike in 2003 that cost New York City's economy about $10 million, agreed to a three-year contract with producers, both sides announced today in a release. The contract requires producers to increase contributions to the musicians’ health plan and expands the number of musicians eligible to participate. In return, musicians gave up two wage increases over the course of the deal. The contract was approved by 82 percent of the members of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians who voted.”

From Nate Robinson
Posted on June 1, 2007 at 4:31 AM
Bronfman is a wonderful guy, what a pianist! I rhink there's a video of him playing this Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 on youtube. Besides the Horowitz, that is pretty much my favorite rendition of the piece. I met him a couple years ago in NYC after a chamber music concert. He was definitely the star of the show that afternoon. The only way a concert of his would stop evidently is when there is something wrong with the instrument, not from a lack of preparation.
From Patrick Hu
Posted on June 1, 2007 at 10:28 PM
What a tragic story about the stolen Strad and Vuillaume!

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