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Laurie Niles

Vuillaume played by Josef Špacek seized by Russian customs officials

October 12, 2015 16:11

Russian customs officials seized a 1855 Vuillaume violin played by Czech violinist Josef Špacek as he was trying to leave Russia last week after performing in the International Music Festival Eurasia.

Josef Spacek
Spacek refused to leave the country without his instrument, according to Sputnik News, and is still trying to resolve the issue. The seizure took place at Yekaterinburg’s Koltsovo Airport on Oct. 8, before a flight from Yekaterinburg to Prague, according to the New York Times.

Spacek studied and the Curtis Institute and The Juilliard School and is a concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Officials were awaiting documentation proving that the violin belongs to Spacek. Let's hope it arrives safe, back in his hands!

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Student, Have Patience With Yourself

October 12, 2015 11:54

"I'm being patient with you. I need you to be patient with you."

Sometimes, when I'm trying to phrase things in the most direct way possible for my youngest students, I stumble upon an idea that I didn't know I had. This comment was directed at a precocious seven-year-old, who was not understanding a concept right away and was sure that he simply wouldn't be able to. I had complete faith in his ability to understand it, and my ability to explain it, but he simply lost his own patience -- and rejected mine.

I can be patient with you, student. I need YOU to be patient with you!

metronomeI can remember being on the other side of this, being a self-conscious graduate student at Indiana University. Though I had an undergraduate degree in music, I was not studying music in graduate school. But I was taking violin lessons and while doing so, I was getting a complete overhaul of my bow arm. I knew I needed it. I was keyed up to do whatever my teacher said, and I thought I was being patient. But after about the fourth week of martelé strokes on open strings (no repertoire, no etudes) I was sure that my teacher, Henryk Kowalski, was rolling his eyes, ready to check out of having to listen to this student with her boring open A strings. After all, I was also a lowly non-major.

One lesson, after about a half-hour of deep concentration on open-string bow strokes, I couldn't help asking. "Are you tired of listening to my open 'A' strings?"

He looked at me like I'd hurled the biggest insult imaginable at him. "Absolutely NOT!" he boomed. "I am VERY INTERESTED in your open 'A' strings! CONTINUE!"

I was completely flabbergasted, and I wasn't even sure why. I did know one thing: I had a real teacher. He was ready to stay with me until I'd figured this thing out. It wasn't so simple, to completely change my right-hand technique and then produce an absolutely pristine sound with every stroke. But he was determined that I was going to get there, and we weren't about to stop short of the goal. Maybe I was beginning to think that there was a shortcut, but he knew there was not. He was going to show me the way, the long and necessary way.

He actually did lose patience with me, but it was only when I lost patience with myself. After that, we both stayed the course, and in a few months, my bow hand and arm was truly transformed, something I'd been seeking for years.

So be patient with yourself and trust a teacher who is patient with you. It may seem like your teacher wishes you'd move along faster, but oftentimes the only person trying to hurry the process is you!

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Sergei Dogadin wins first prize in the 2015 Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover

October 9, 2015 14:13

Winners were announced today in the the 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover, Germany. They are:

  • First prize (€50,000): Sergei Dogadin, 27 (Russia)
  • Second prize (€30,000): Shion Minami, 26 (Japan)
  • Third prize (€20,000): Richard Lin, 24 (Taiwan/USA)
  • Fourth prize (€8,000): Benjamin Marquise Gilmore, 27 (Netherlands/USA)
  • Fifth prize (€8,000): Ayana Tsuji, 17 (Japan)
  • Sixth prize (€8,000): Amalia Hall, 26 (New Zealand)

top 3
L-R: Sergei Dogadin, Shion Minami, Richard Lin. Photo by Benjamin Bonouvrier.

Their performances can be viewed on the competition's website: Click here to listen to the latest performances and click here to view archived performances.

Dogadin, who played the Shostakovich Concerto during the final round, studied at St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he was a student of V. Ovcharek, and his father, A. Dogadin. He also took master classes with Boris Kushnir and Zakhar Bron. In 2012 he was accepted to the International Menuhin Music Academy (IMMA) in Gstaad (Switzerland) where he became a student of Maxim Vengerov. A winner of top prizes in the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition (2nd), 2005 Paganini Competition (1st), 2002 Andrea Postaccini Competition (grand prize, 1st) and many more, Dogadin plays on a 1758 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin.

Sergei Dogadin
Sergei Dogadin. Photo by Benjamin Bonouvrier.

Jury members for the Joachim competition are: Salvatore Accardo, Boris Kuschnir, Rudolf Koelman, Silvia Marcovici, Lucie Robert, Kaija Saarikettu, Takashi Shimizu, Weidong Tong, and Ingolf Turban. The competition’s artistic director, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, also serves as chair of the jury but does not vote.

* * *

From 2011 Tchaikovsky competition, Sergei Dogadin:

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V.com weekend vote: Have you ever played on a scordatura (cross-tuned) instrument?

October 9, 2015 12:47

Have you ever played a piece that is "scordatura," that is, a piece that requires the violin (or viola) to be tuned to one or more different notes than the normal E,A,D,G (or A,E,G,C)?

Rachel Barton Pine's efforts on the viola d'amore got me to thinking about how foreign it would feel, to have strings tuned so differently. I have a hard enough time, trying to play anything on the guitar. But a seven-string instrument, that is tuned to D-A-F#-D-A-D-A? It's not something I've ever tired, and I'm guessing that at least initially, I'd be lost!

Which brings me to the fact that there are a number of pieces written for scordatura violin:

One that always comes to mind for me -- just because I like it so much -- is Mahler's Fourth Symphony, where the concertmaster plays a scordatura solo in the second-movement scherzo that requires the violin to be tuned up a whole-step. In the performances I've seen (and played in, never the solo part though!), the concertmaster simply has a spare violin at the ready, for this special part.

Scordatura is nothing new; Heinrich Biber required scordatura violin in his Rosary Sonatas, written in 1676. Mozart did it, too. A number of years ago, Lara St. John talked to me about playing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with her brother, Scott St. John, who played his viola part as Mozart wrote it: scordatura. That meant that the viola was tuned a half-step high, to Db-Ab-Eb-Bb. Very often, this piece is played without the violist opting for the scordatura tuning.

"Danse macabre" by Saint-Saëns requires the solo violin to tune the E string to an Eb -- not a huge change for the instrument, but certainly still something that requires some bending of mind and ear.

Most recently, I looked at a copy of Roman Kim's new arrangement of Bach's Air, thinking I'd make an attempt to read it -- until I saw that I would have to tune my E-string to a C#! It occurred to me at this point that, if you wish to practice something scordatura, you have to tune your violin that way to do so. An obvious observation, but still a bit of a barrier when you hit the reality of it. And to be honest, I didn't want to mess with my fiddle. It would make sense to tune a spare fiddle, if you have one, if you really want to learn and practice a scordatura piece.

So who has made the effort to do so? Have you ever played a piece that requires scordatura tuning?

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Rachel Barton Pine's Love Affair with the Viola d'Amore

October 6, 2015 22:47

Rachel Barton Pine's love affair with the viola d'amore began before she ever heard the instrument's uncommon voice.

Rachel Barton Pine
Rachel Barton Pine with her viola d'amore. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco.

"Reading about the history of the great violinists of the past, going back to the 1700's, I was struck by the fact that the greatest virtuosos of their era were also known as great players of the viola d'amore as well," Rachel said, speaking with me over the phone from her home in Chicago last month. "For example, Johann Georg Pisendel -- he was the foremost violinist in Germany at the time of Bach, and he is thought to have been the only violinist other than Bach to have played the Sonatas and Partitas during Bach's lifetime. And Leopold Mozart, (Wolfgang Amadeus) Mozart's father, of course, wrote about a viola d'amore in his treatise, calling it 'a special violin that sounds especially beautiful in the stillness of the night.' Pietro Locatelli, the greatest Italian virtuoso prior to Paganini, who actually wrote the prototype set of 24 caprices, the shoulders on which Paganini stood -- Locatelli was a great player of the viola d'amore."

Vivaldi d'amore concertosKnowing that these great heroes of violin history played this other instrument that was a kind of violin, Rachel decided that she, too, should take up the viola d'amore. And when Rachel Barton Pine takes up something, she takes it on. She first laid her hands on a viola d'amore in 2007, and by now she's conquered this complicated instrument. This fall she released Vivaldi: The Complete Viola d'Amore Concertos, recorded with Chicago period-instrument group Ars Antigua and guest artist, lutenist Hopkinson Smith.

Of course, it wasn't an easy endeavor; in fact, just finding a viola d'amore to play can be a serious challenge.

"I joined the Viola D'Amore Society, in great hope and anticipation of one day laying my hands on one, but they're few and far between," Rachel said. "If you're curious about Baroque violin, you can generally cross paths with somebody who's got one so you can pick it up and play a few notes and see what it's like. Or you could even splurge and buy yourself a cheap one, to at least give you a general idea. The viola d'amore is such a complicated instrument that there is no such thing as a cheap one that plays decently. So you can't just buy one to be a toy and then decide if you like it or not. You can't just turn to your colleague who has one lying around and try it. Neither of those scenarios really exists."

What exactly is a viola d'amore? Well, there are a number things which it is not:

"The viola d'amore, despite its name, which has 'viola' in it -- is not a kind of viola," Rachel said. "It is not an alto member of the violin family. The viola d'amore is more accurately described as a type of violin. The string length is, in fact, a violin string length, and it's an instrument meant to be played by a violinist, as a supplemental instrument. It's kind of like the English horn; nobody starts lessons on English horn or only plays English horn. You're an oboist, but when a particular movement or moment needs that color, you swap out temporarily for an English horn, and then go back to the oboe. So that is kind of what the viola d'amore is, it's like an extension of the violin."

There are a number of differences between a violin and a viola d'amore -- a major one being that a viola d'amore has 12 to 14 strings!

d'amore strings"Most modern d'amores have 14 strings -- seven playing strings and seven resonating strings," Rachel said. "I have a modern d'amore, a beautiful instrument from the mid-1800s. And then I have my beautiful historic d'amore (pictured above), which has never been altered. In other words, it's still in its original Baroque condition. That is the Gagliano instrument from 1774, which I bought in 2010 at the Tarisio auction, about 10 years after I got my beautiful, never-been-modernized 1770 Gagliano violin, from Charlie Beare's shop. So I bought them 10 years apart, on different continents, both of them in pristine, unaltered condition. After I acquired the d'amore, I took both the Gaglianos to Paul Becker's shop (in Chicago). He took one look at them and said, 'Oh, my gosh -- the tops of both instruments are from the same tree!' I don't necessarily believe in fate, but in this case, I thought, this has got to be fate, the total sibling reunion here! It's unbelievable."

d'amore scroll"My particular Gagliano is unusual among d'amores in that it has a violin-type scroll (see above). The vast majority of d'amores have scrolls in the shape of a blind cupid's head, (see right)" she said. "The origin of the name 'd'amore" is uncertain. In the Grove Dictionary, which usually knows everything about everything, it very helpfully says, 'Its origins are obscure.' There are two competing theories that have equal validity: one is that it's the 'viola of the Moors' because the idea of sympathetic strings is a very Middle Eastern device, and of course it always has the Islamic flame f-holes. On the other hand, the two sets of strings trembling in unison and the blind cupid's head scroll gives the theory that it's the 'viola of love.' So who knows what its name even means? Apparently musicologists don't!"

sound holeThe viola d'amore is played on the shoulder, as a violin would be. Like a viola da gamba, it has sloped shoulders and a flat back. "Its sound holes are neither that of violins nor viols -- the viols have c-shaped sound holes, the violins have f-shaped sound holes, and the viola d-amore sound holes are always in the shape of an Islamic flame," Rachel said. "It makes it very attractive-looking, that's for sure. It does not have frets; it has six or seven playing strings and an equal number of resonating strings."

In the Baroque era, there were more than 24 different documented tunings for the viola d'amore. "Basically, whatever key you were playing in, you would tune the instrument to those notes, and tune the sympathetic strings, the resonating strings, to those same notes," Rachel said. "If you were playing in the key of D, then you have D's and A's and F#'s and all those extra resonating D's and A's and F#'s. It would just ring and ring and ring, kind of like built-in reverb. Then if you wanted to play in Bb major, you'd have to not only re-tune, but you'd also have to swap out for different thicknesses of gut strings -- you can only tune down a string so far before it starts to become a flubby rubber band, you can only tune a string up so far before it breaks! So you couldn't necessarily play a lot of viola d'amore pieces on the same concert, unless they were all in the same key. As I said, it was a supplemental instrument -- you really wouldn't play a whole concert on d'amore."

It wasn't until the late 1700s, the Classical Period, that the tuning became codified to the "D tuning" as follows: starting from the top string, the top string is "D," one whole-step lower than the open E of a violin; "A" which is the same as an open A on the violin; "F#" or "F natural" depending on if it's minor or major; "D" which is the same as an open D string of a violin; "A" which is one whole step above a violin G string; and then "D" which is one whole step above a viola C string. If you have that lowest string, "A," it would be one third lower than the lowest string of a viola.

"The D tuning has remained constant until the present day," Rachel said. And where does one find a set of d'amore strings in the modern world? "Dominant makes a set of strings for modern viola d'amore. If you want to string it up a modern viola d'amore, you can buy yourself a set of Dominants and you're good to go!"

And how do those resonating strings work? They are tuned to the same notes as the playing strings. "Basically they hook onto more or less where the button is, where the tailgut of the tailpiece goes. Then they run underneath the tailpiece; there are little tiny holes in the bottom part of the bridge that they run through. They continue their journey through the neck, the neck of a d'amore is hollow...this is why you can't get a cheap one, it's very complicated to build! They then continue up through the back of the peg box and then hook into pegs that are higher up towards the scroll than the pegs of the playing strings. That's why I think people look at it and think it's a kind of viola; the peg box is so long, it's an optical illusion. The string length is violin string length, but then its peg box goes on forever, which also makes it a heavy instrument."

With a system that complex, how does one install those resonating strings? "For most of the resonating strings, you have to have a shop do it," Rachel said. "The good news is that they rarely ever break and they certainly never have to be changed because they've worn out -- as long as they haven't broken they can stay on there for many years. So that's a good thing, it certainly cuts down on the costs."

How does one actually play such an instrument?

"First of all, it's a brain-twister," Rachel said, and it's not just because there are six or seven strings to play. "There are certainly six-string instruments out there, in the electric violin world. Leila Josefowicz plays an electric six-string for John Adams' Violin Concerto, and in the non-classical world everybody is playing five-string, six-string, even seven-string instruments. But those are a bit easier to wrap your mind around because they are tuned in fifths: E-A-D-G, then the C string of a viola, then an F string, and if you go really extreme you've got a Bb seventh string, which is one whole step lower than the C string of a cello. Because they're always electric, you don't have acoustical issues the same way as with an instrument with its natural sound box. The curve of the bridge can actually be steeper, which allows you to more easily isolate the strings with your bow. Because it's going through an amp, you don't have to worry about the ribs being in a certain place."

Playing the viola d'amore, with its unusual tuning, is a little like playing on a "scordatura" violin -- that is, a violin that is cross-tuned for pieces such as Rosary Sonatas by Biber, or the second movement of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, or Appalachian fiddle music. "But that's only four strings," Rachel said. "So to have cross-tuning, and six or seven strings -- now that's a big brain-twister!"

The instrument is also a challenge ergonomically, with its rather flat bridge. "When you think you're crossing over one string, you might in fact accidentally be crossing over two strings," she said. "The strings are simply closer together. So to know exactly where each one is, and know where you're going when you're going from string two to string five and then back to string three and over to string four and then string one....I'm not ashamed to say, the first few months of trying my hand at the instrument, I was still getting all mixed up, where my finger would be on string five and my bow would be on string six -- I was completely discombobulated!"

There aren't really any teachers of the d'amore; Rachel taught herself to play the instrument. "If you know how to play the violin, it's just a question of letting your muscles sort themselves out," Rachel said. "There are no shortcuts, you've just got to try it and drill it and eventually be able to do it. For me, it was just a question of finding a few easy pieces and working on them. It was like going back to Suzuki Book 1 because every single finger had a number over it! You can't just look at the note and know where that note is! You're almost reading tablature. And even now that I've been playing it for years, and I think this is true of most d'amore players, we still have an awful lot of finger numbers and Roman numerals for string numbers in our music. It's certainly not an instrument where you could sit down and sight-read chamber music! Every piece you want to play, you've got to work it out. Especially because there are some pitches that could be played on any one of four strings. So you have to decide, in terms of pattern, which one makes the most sense? It's just so tricky."

"But the voice is so unusual, that's what makes it worth it," she said. "It's not just about having these unusual tunings and being able to do chords that just don't even exist on an instrument tuned in fifths. More importantly, it's about the tone of the instrument. It has its own unique voice and it's absolutely mesmerizing. In fact, one of the best descriptions of d'amore that I ever heard was from a girl who was taking some coachings with me. She picked up the d'amore and played a few open strings and said, 'That's just so refreshing!' I thought that 'refreshing' was a great adjective. There are many adjectives that one could use: It's silvery, it's delicate."

"What Vivaldi did with the viola d'amore is absolutely fascinating," Rachel said. "Vivaldi was inspired by Pisendel's playing, and it's thought that he might have even written some of the concerti for Pisendel. Certainly Pisendel had copies of a lot of the concerti in his library in Dresden. But one of my favorite things about Vivaldi's story with the d'amore is that he also wrote for his talented female students at the Pietá, the orphanage where he worked. There was one particular young violinist -- one of the best of the bunch -- named Anna. She is known to also have been a virtuoso of the d'amore and to have played Vivaldi's concertos, some of which may have been specifically written for her. So I love knowing that there was a woman in the Baroque period who definitely played these concertos. That's another reason why I was inspired to put a woman on the cover."

"Actually there's a book I should mention, which has the unnecessarily racy but memorably alliterative title, Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick. It's very well-researched, and the descriptions of the general aspects of life in that time and how the Pietá functioned are very accurate. Obviously the backstories of the particular young ladies in the plot are fictionalized, even when she is writing about young ladies like Anna, who were real people. But I think it's fun that the book describes Anna, playing the d'amore!

"Another book about the Vivaldi era in Venice, if you can deal with the sex scenes, is Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice. I still to this day think is one of the most vivid descriptions of vocal lessons of the Vivaldi era that anybody has ever written. She did her homework well, and she's a good writer. It really does bring the musical scene of the times to life, focusing more on the phenomenon of the castrati. But instrumental and vocal studies were not so far apart back then as they are these days, and I found that as a violinist, I gained a lot reading that particular book."

Though viola d'amore is an instrument of the Baroque era, it did not become frozen in that time period. Composers have continued to write for d'amore, even into the modern era.

"Other instruments from the Baroque era -- the Lirone or the viola da Gamba -- a lot of those early instruments have remained instruments of early music," Rachel said. "The viola d'amore is different. Great composers have written for this instrument. During the Romantic era it went a little bit underground, but then coming out into the 20th century it started to pick back up. More than half its repertoire is from the 20th and now 21st centuries. Hindemith wrote a concerto for it; Casadesus wrote chamber music for it, Janacek wrote for the instrument."

As for makers, "every great Baroque maker -- Gagliano, Testore, you just name a maker and they made a d'amore," Rachel said. "Stradivari left a pattern for a d'amore; it's not known whether he never got around to making it, or whether he made one or more and they didn't survive. Absolutely every other great Italian maker that you can name, made d'amores." And like the violin, the viola d'amore has been modernized. "A lot of violas d'amore made in the 1700s, just like violins made in that era, have been renecked with longer fingerboards, different bridges, different tailpieces -- like you do with violins to make them modern violins, even if they started life as Baroque violins. And of course any violas d'amore made these days, for the most part, are made as modern d'amores. So there is such a thing, to that same degree."

"I think any violinist would have fun, trying his or her hand at the d'amore," Rachel said. "For those of us who love the sound of the violin, it's just another kind of sound that is so incredibly satisfying and intriguing. If you're willing to put in a bit of the effort necessary to figure out where your fingers go, the rewards are definitely worth it, and the repertoire is so beautiful."

But where to find one to try?

"Well I am always most delighted to let people try mine," she said. "You need never hesitate to ask."

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Six Finalists announced in the 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover

October 6, 2015 14:55

Finalists were announced late Tuesday in the 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover, Germany. They are:

  • Amalia Hall (New Zealand)
  • Sergei Dogadin (Russia)
  • Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (Netherlands/USA)
  • Shion Minami (Japan)
  • Ayana Tsuji(Japan)
  • Richard Lin (Taiwan/USA)

finalists JJV

The finalists were chosen from 12 semifinalists. Those had been narrowed down from 35 competitors in the preliminary rounds.

Their performances can be viewed on the competition's website: Click here to listen to the livestream and lastest performances and click here to view archived performances.

Jury members for the Joachim competition are: Salvatore Accardo, Boris Kuschnir, Rudolf Koelman, Silvia Marcovici, Lucie Robert, Kaija Saarikettu, Takashi Shimizu, Weidong Tong, and Ingolf Turban. The competition’s artistic director, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, also serves as chair of the jury but does not vote.

Finals will take place in the Großer Sendesaal of the NDR Landesfunkhaus in Hannover on Thursday and Friday. Each of the six Finalists will perform a concerto, such as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky or Sibelius, with NDR Radiophilharmonie, conducted by Hendrik Vestman. The Jury will announce Prize Winners late Friday. Members of the audience who have attended both the Finals may vote on who should be awarded the Audience Prize of €5,000. In addition, a "JJV Community Award" of €2,000 will be awarded to the violinist who receives the highest number of Internet votes (voting begins Wednesday at www.jjv-hannover.de) among those watching via livestream.

The first prize is valued at €50,000 and includes a CD production with Naxos as well as debut recitals and concerts with internationally renowned orchestras and ensembles.

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 101: Philippe Quint, Anne Akiko Meyers, Kenneth Renshaw

October 6, 2015 13:21

In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, Violinist.com each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Philippe Quint performed the Sibelius with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Republican: "Mind-boggling technique, passionate interpretation, and relaxed demeanor combined to render Quint's performance exciting, engaging, and amazing."

Philippe Quint
Philippe Quint. Photo Credit: Benjamin Brolet

Anne Akiko Meyers performed Bernstein's Serenade with the Vancouver Symphony.

  • Northwest Reverb: "Wielding immaculate technique, artistic finesse, and a deep understanding of the music, Meyers wonderfully conveyed Bernstein’s somewhat esoteric music in a personal, tangible way."

Kenneth Renshaw performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Oakland Symphony.

  • San Jose Mercury News: "Renshaw impressed with intelligent phrasing, crisp intonation and straightforward eloquence. In the concerto's outer movements, the violinist combined incisive articulation with dramatic expressiveness; his playing in the slow movement was both rapturous and clear-eyed, a secure blend of warmth and eloquence."

Vilde Frang performed the Korngold with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

  • Montreal Gazette: "She found treasures in this swashbuckling, overblown effort from the father of Hollywood film music. The cadenza in the first movement was aggressive — a message to Tortelier, head buried in the score? — and magnificent. Frang found quiet darting lines throughout, like a figure skater, and when the orchestra lumbered back in, it was like a lovesick whale bursting through the ice."

Jack Liebeck performed the Dvorak with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald: "Here is a talent with an individual voice, confident in articulation, capable of vehemence without stridency and a lilting elegance of phrasing, best heard in the concerto's eloquent adagio: a memorable highpoint in this exemplary concert."

Please support music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

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12 Semi-Finalists Named in the 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition, Hannover

October 2, 2015 09:17

Twelve semi-finalists have been named in the 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition, which began Tuesday in Hannover, Germany.

Hannover Semifinalists 2015
Photo by Ole Spata

They are:

  • Christine Lim (USA/Korea)
  • Marina Grauman (Russia)
  • Amalia Hall (New Zealand)
  • Diana Tishchenko (Ukraine)
  • Sergei Dogadin (Russia)
  • Nancy Zhou (USA)
  • Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (New Zealand/USA)
  • Ririko Takagi (Japan)
  • Shion Minami (Japan)
  • Ayana Tsuji (Japan)
  • Anna Malesza (Poland)
  • Richard Lin (Taiwan/USA)

Christine Seohyun Lim
Christine Lim, USA

The 12 were chosen from 35 competitors in the preliminary rounds.

Jury members for the Joachim competition are: Salvatore Accardo, Boris Kuschnir, Rudolf Koelman, Silvia Marcovici, Lucie Robert, Kaija Saarikettu, Takashi Shimizu, Weidong Tong, and Ingolf Turban. The competition’s artistic director, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, also serves as chair of the jury but does not vote.

The semifinals will take place at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media from October 2 through October 6. Competitors will each perform a Mozart concerto, leading the Munich Chamber Orchestra. They also will perform the compulsory piece, "Cut Up" by David Robert Coleman, commissioned for the Competition. Click here to listen to the livestream and click here to view archived performances.

The first prize is valued at €50,000 and includes a CD production with Naxos as well as debut recitals and concerts with internationally renowned orchestras and ensembles.

Archive link

British Violinist Leia Zhu, 8, Keeps Winning, as 'Youngest Ever.'

October 1, 2015 21:56

Leia Zhu, 8

Leia Zhu is a very young violinist who has been making headlines, and making some pretty sophisticated music.

Leia, who is 8, won first prize in the 2015 International Russian Rotary Music Competition, held last week in Moscow. She was the youngest to ever win that competition. From Gateshead, U.K., she is a student of Itzhak Rashkovsky and Zakhar Bron, having started playing violin when she was three. Just a few months ago, in March, she also was the youngest to win the International Competition ‘Young Virtuosos’ in Sophia, Bulgaria, playing movements from the Wieniawski Concerto. Here she is playing the Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (Mvts. 2 and 3) in last week's finals:

The International Russian Rotary Music Competition's facebook page has more performances by the young children who participated, including this one of third prize winner Varvara Agayeva, 10, of Russia, playing the first movement of Saint-Saens Concerto No. 3:

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Previous entries: September 2015