August 23, 2007 at 3:57 PM8/20/07 - EURweb.com reports that Jamie Foxx, will “return to familiar territory in the new DreamWorks film ‘The Soloist,’ a musical biopic based on the true story of a homeless, schizophrenic musician who dreams of playing at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The story is based on a 12-part series of articles by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez about Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, who developed schizophrenia in his second year at Juilliard and ended up homeless on the streets of downtown L.A. where he performs the violin and cello.” Foxx, a classically trained pianist who himself attended Juilliard, “is being taught stringed instruments by a cellist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Lopez’s articles, ‘From Skid Row to Disney Hall,’ were published in 2005 and will serve as the basis for an upcoming book by Putnam.”
The Gryphon Trio is a finalist for the 2007 Toronto Arts Council Foundation Awards, which includes the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Music -- a $10,000 cash prize presented to an artist or creator who has made a contribution to the cultural life of Toronto. The other finalist is oboist Lawrence Cherney.
Violinist and conductor Leonidas Kavakos, principal guest artist of the Camerata Salzburg for the past six years, has been named to a five-year term as its artistic director. His inaugural concert will take place October 5 at Mozarteum Salzburg.
Violinist Karen Galvin has been appointed assistant concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony, effective this fall. She was most recently a member of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and a freelancer with such groups as the Washington National Opera and Northern Virginia’s Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. Named to the assistant principal second violin position was David Kilbride, a Cleveland Institute of Music graduate who has played most recently with the Virginia Symphony. Christopher Fischer, was named assistant principal viola.
Jonathan Vinocour has been named principal viola of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
8/22/07 – According to the Journal Gazette, violinist and conductor Jaime Laredo has been named artistic adviser at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for the 2008-09 season. He will “consult on programming and hiring of guest artists during the music director search season. Edvard Tchivzhel, music director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for 14 seasons, said in January that he would step down when his contract expires in June 2008. In addition to being an interim artistic chief for the Philharmonic, Laredo will perform with or conduct the orchestra for two concerts during the season.” Laredo is music director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and professor of music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
8/21/07 – According to the New Anatolian, an English-language daily in Turkey, Ozlem Adiguzel, a violinist from the Aegean Turkish city of Izmir, has become the first Turkish musician to join the orchestra of La Scala: "I am proud to be the first Turkish musician playing in the theater that was established in 1778."
8/19/07 – The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Cincinnati Symphony struggled at the box office last season. "Attendance during the 53-concert season ending in May dropped 10 percent from the previous season, and subscription ticket sales slid by nearly 14 percent, orchestra officials said Friday."
8/16/07 – Still no firm deal between the Detroit Symphony and Leonard Slatkin, but it is sounding pretty positive, reports the Detroit News: "Slatkin, who turns 63 on Sept. 1, said that while he has not yet received a formal offer from the DSO, he was continuing discussions about the post with DSO president and executive director Anne Parsons and Peter Oundjian, the orchestra's artistic adviser and principal guest conductor."
Also it's interesting how Disney Hall and the legitimate music scene is portrayed in the series of stories. To me, Lopez seemed to write from the point of view of the public, where it's unfamiliar but larger than life. I'd rather hear someone interesting playing something on the street than a typical big-name soloist in a hall. I honestly would. It means more. And I'd have more fun. I'd never pilgrimage to L.A. to see a soloist, but it's possible that I would to see someone like Ayres. It comes down to what you think music is a distillation of. The story talks a lot about Beethoven but I'm split, leaning toward Ayres, on which of the two is closer to the spirit of Beethoven - who the real owner is in fact. I don't think that idea would ever occur to Lopez. Case in point is where it seems like Lopez is impressed Ma would dirty his hands, but I sense that Ma gets it. I would expect him to.
I like your column. I only rarely know any of the people, but I enjoy the stories look forward to the column.
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