From Gary Foote
Posted January 10, 2007 at 02:44 AM
And Chicago, but that's because I live here : )...
As for the best orchestras, for me it's probably the Berlin Phil, but I did prefer them under Abbado rather than Rattle.
But, thanks for giving it to me real easy like.
It's called being die-hard fans.
Everytime an orchestra comes to your city, go see it! Philly comes to my city all the time, so does Cleveland -- they are great, but then they are not better than the European Orchestras.
Just so happens that I live in New York City, and by Carnegie Hall, where the best orchestras come to show their stuff every year. Also, all the winners of violin competitions, so = P.
I'd say... hold off making fun of people and acting all high and superior for ONE WEEK. Start there and maybe we can all help exorcise the stereotype of violinists being ridiculously mean and rude out of you two. Just a suggestion.
Stop being dicks...
There's a product in the women's aisle in the drugstore for your issue.
We were just kidding. Sometimes we do that.
So was living in caves and beating up women at one time, as was sending children as young as six to work in mines, factories, workhouses or deport 10-year olds to Australia for stealing bread or a handkerchief, slavery, more recently apartheid and civil rights, etc. etc. etc. even in the current world.
So totally agree with the poster who does not rate them as an orchestra.
Two recent threads on this matter, which covered fairly all the issues (both pro and con) can found at
By the way, apart from the Berlin and London Philharmonic, I also really like Academy of At Martin in the Fields and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, though perhaps they cannot be counted as full orchestras?
I thought that Vienna passed a law allowing women in the orchestra sometime in the late 1990's... That said, it is still a pretty great orchestra musically speaking, or so it was when I heard them.
As for the rest of the ranking, I will leave it to the critiques on this who are much better at it then me ;=)
I'm not sure if I could list the top 5 orchestras in the world. I think all the orchestras that have been aformentioned deserve a place and on any given list at any given time they will be on there. Comparing European orchestras and American orchestras is difficult- in general, there are quite large differences. The American orchestras are very concerned with pinpoint accuracy and cleanliness, and in my opinion, having seen the "top 5 American orchestras" (generally considered Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly, and Cleveland, although one could make a case for LA to be the 6th), Cleveland has this down to a fine art. However, the European orchestras have such a sound and focus on musicality above almost anything else. I had the privelege of seeing Vienna in Cleveland last year. It wasn't as accurate as Cleveland Orchestra generally was, but it wasn' that they couldn't be perfect. It's just not what they were concerned with- if an entrance is just slightly off in a performance, then they will of course try to fix it next time, but it doesn't cause a derailment and nobody thinks anything of it. I think Vienna and Berlin deserve to be on their own list, along with Concertgebouw. After that, I'm afraid I just haven't heard enough from the other orchestras. I think if we expanded the list to "top 10" in the world then we might all come to more of an agreement.
About Vienna Phil- while I do not condone the fact that obviously they are still hesitant to hire many females (there are so few in that orchestra!), I also don't think it makes their music any less gorgeous. Does music have to be made from a co-ed orchestra to be great? Vivaldi's all-girl orchestra in the 18th century would not feel that way. I don't judge a person's music on what they do (same reason that while I am terrified of Michael Jackson, I still listen to his "Thriller" recording occasionally), just on what they play. If you start digging in too far, then you'll find scandals and treachery just about everywhere in this biz.
2005 they even had a women conductor conduct for the first time in history. i know, whoo hoo, women conductors have been conducting forever in other great venues, but this suggests that things are changing for the more accepting.
i believe there are also women players in the wonderful vienna opera orchestra, who will probably have the opportunity to become members of the vienna philharmonic after a few years in the pit.
it's such a process.
it is tradition, and vienna remains a super catholic and conservative city, especially because of its great cultural history. germany and austria still close down completely on sundays, as well as all the catholic holidays (well, at least in vienna). it's no wonder they don't want to mess with a good thing that has placed them in such high esteem in the world views of so many people. we look at vienna and imagine an antiquated cultural center, bubbling with music and art. i think in one way we want it to remain as is, as mahler and toscanini had once conducted or where once freud had lived. it's hard to hold the expectation of the classical "vienna" from the 21st century point of view while people there hold themselves stricter to even more legacies, traditions and precedences than we can imagine.
though, it doesn't mean sexism and rascism are ok (there are a few asian players in the orchestra as well), but things are changing slowly for the better, as such issues can only evolve - slowly and hopefully surely.
One I saw at the Proms in London blew me away a year or two ago: the Bavarian Radio orchestra. It was amazing. The whole orchestra would move as a unit, like a giant sea anemone or something. And the sound was glorious...
In Europe, Berlin, LPO, Concertgebau - and yes, Vienna, without excusing its sexist 'tradition' to say nothing of its Nazi past associations, which Leonard Bernstein was aware of. (Similarly,we can rank Wagner as a major composer, without thinking anything positive of him as a human being.) There are any number of fine orchestras just below this group. There is an increasingly high international standard today. Frequently the past few years, I might turn on the radio in the middle of a piece and be very impressed with the orchestra, and find out to my surprize, that it was a 'minor' one. Other times I would think an orchestra was quite OK, but nothing special, only to learn that it was, say the Berlin!
Along with a high international standard comes more standardization, as well. Nevertheless, it seems that some orchestras tend to lead with certain aspects, and keep them somehat salient even through several music directors. Someone mentioned Cleaveland's precision, and I agree. NY and certainly Chicago emphasize brilliance. Philly and Wien. have more warmth of sound.
The only way to realy be sure of the inherent differences among orchestras would be to hear two or more orchestras one right after the other, in the same hall, playing the same piece, led by the same conductor - or a recording to the same effect (same space, miking, etc.) - a fascinating experiment, which, of course will never happen.
Speaking of ranking, Oistrakh was once asked to rank himself among violin virtuosos. "I'd say I'm no. 2", came the reply.
- OK, who is #1?
- Oh, there are SO many!
I was thinking about what it was that they did. I'm not completely sure, but I think when the conductor came to the podium, and turned around, they all inhaled a breath and posed.
It might sound insignificant, but it was an amazing presence. And their Brahms 4 was great.
To claim "tradition" is actually offensive. People eating each other used to be traditional. Doesn't fly in this day and age, nor does the attitude of a bunch of white leftover nazis at the Vienna Phil. Given Austria's history if anything the orchestra should be MORE socially aware, not less.
I suggest you read this article before so blithely dismissing a nasty situation.
I must admit to being saddened that some of you seem to think such prejudice and discrimination is acceptable behaviour in this day and age.
Buri -- I'm sure you mean well with your humor. I mean implying that people don't know anything about orchestras or implying that people think they are so good that one would think they have played in every orchestra that they've ranked... I'm sure you mean well with your humor. I'm sure.
I'm soo sure, that I'll just let you think you are sure that you were using humor with no offensive message, constant humor, just humor.
However, if a recording of Vienna Phil comes on the radio, are you going to turn it off? Chances are no- because their musicianship is not in question, it's their moral judgement. There have been threads on here in the past about other famous musicians, many of them in the states, that discriminate or do other things such as sexual abuse (or at least discussion as to those accusations). But we still listen to their music. I'm not saying that they're skills as musicians is justification for their behavior, but that their behavior in itself doesn't make them a worse orchestra or exclude them from their rightful place as one of the best orchestras in the world. It's sad that they can't overlook their ridiculous beliefs about women, but their recording with Simon Rattle of the Beethoven Symphonies is still just as intriguing and fascinating.
Christina here's a quote from the article. The Chairman stated "The Vienna Philharmonic is an orchestra of white men that plays music by white men for white people."
Do you still find them intriguing and fascinating, or do they turn your stomach?
Sure it's all in great fun. But next time, just keep it to yourself. Sometimes being serious about something like music, is worth a try.
It was two, not just you. And don't get offended when people point you out. Things happen, like humor, like life. Have a good day.
One thing that struck me as particularly ironic in the article was one musician fearing that their unity and style and soul would be compromosed by female colleagues especially in a Mahler symphony. Mahler, a Jewish composer, was unknown to most of the members in the 1950's, when Leonard Bernstein, another most distinguished Jewish musician, came to introduce Mahler to them. He met with a tremendous amount of resistance, with anti-semitic overtones. He finally won them over. If they can change in that respect, they can change in other respects - IF they really want to.
Back to the original subject. I'm surprised I haven't seen many people bring up Montreal Symphony. Unfortunately in the last few years there's been so much drama occuring in that orchestra, but I recently heard a recording of Rossini overtures done by them in the 80's, I believe, that was simply astounding. Their sound and precision were incredible. The individual players were splendid too- especially their principal oboist and trombonist. The solos in those overtures (which occur a lot for those players) were unbelievable. I believe, looking at their overall body of work and recordings, that they would rank very high on my list, at least in or near the top 10.
As for this whole 'humor' thing, can anyone honestly be offended by such harmless, unoffensive sarcasm? I mean, I can't possibly imagine someone being offended unless they're being sarcastic. *Makes a mental note to never over-shelter children if I ever have any*
If a great performer did something personal to you, you wouldn't want to hear him again. To me, the statement is personal and it should be to you too.
I guess I still listen to their music hoping that there are members (which I know there are) that do truly believe in being equal to all. I'm not letting the rotten apples (who should be taken out and beaten as far as I'm concerned) ruin the efforts of the orchestra.
But if any of the above had offended you personally, you wouldn't enjoy them anymore.
Good luck in your Vienna Phil audition!
P.S. the comparison between bad friends and a racist institution breaks down somewhere...oops I see you're gone :)
Oddly enough, although I agree totally with Jim and I turn them off when I hear them now*, I also understand Christina's view. At least she's taken the time to read up on them and is able to separate the philosophy from the music. Personally, I can't - the two for me are intertwined.
Now if you'll excuse me I must jet off to see another orchestra. I was thinking of the Leipzig Gewandhus. I wonder what they're playing tonight.
* I will not admit to owning the Art of the Viola CD by the principal violist of the Vienna Phil, Heinrich Koll,. I don't own it I'm just renting it permanently and besides he has some of them wimmen creatures playin' on the CD with him. Besides I bought before I learnt about the orchestra's failings. I wouldn't buy it now.
As for Vienna, it reminds me of the whole "Wagner-the-Nazi-pervert" issue--I personally cannot listen to that man's music without feeling slightly ill. On the other hand, I know plenty of people who can ignore his grossness as a person and enjoy his revolutionary, ground-breaking Music of the Future.
(although, he wasn't all that revolutionary, he stole pretty nearly everything from Liszt...)
I can't think about the Vienna thing now without laughing. It soooo couldn't happen here. Maybe things as worse, but not that. Besides the fact that it wouldn't be legal, it still couldn't happen.
Regarding composers of poor character, sure there are lots of them--Beethoven was dreadfully rude, Brahms was a kvetch, Mahler was pompous, Mussorgsky was a drunk, so was Wieniawski--but all of them had redeeming characteristics as well, something I have found utterly lacking in Wagner. I can easily forgive most great artists their human shortcomings, but Wagner for me is just too far beyond the pale.
In regards to : "
(although, he wasn't all that revolutionary, he stole pretty nearly everything from Liszt...)".....Wagner also took quite alot from Mendelssohn. He idolized him, and his obsession turned to hatred which fueled a mission in his life to discredit Felix M. for being Jewish (eventhough Felix's Grandfather converted to Christianity). Wagner went out of his way to try to wipe Felix's legacy from the German musical landscape. It was not until early 20th century, that people brought back Mendelssohn's music.
It is no wonder that due to his insecurities of knowing that he could not measure up to Mendelssohn in other idioms like chamber music, symphonies and concertos that he pursued Opera.
Regarding the whole matter (not the fellow posters' online jabber) - to me - despite the putrid behaviors and ideologies, there is always something to learn. I am not so vain and self-absorbed to think that I’m above the morally misguided and can’t possibly learn anything from them.
Wagner’s music is pretty amazing. He was a crazy dude whose life and work had to mean “something”. Even if you get the jeepers after listening to the anti-Semitic Venusberg orgy scene, or slap yourself relentlessly for loving the absolutely hateful, jarring and offensive Lohegrin overture (someone PLEASE note the sarcasm, otherwise I’d die), take a moment to break it apart, analyze it. He has something tremendous to show you, and you can integrate all his technique into your own and write a loving opera for the Jewish people, along with a treatise of humanity – all have to be on the same level as his operas and overtures of course. To me, that’s the only effective stance you can take against someone like Wagner, who is long dead and you can’t slap him across the face in indignation. Why deprive yourself of such good learning and experience?
Same with Vienna Phil. For musicians, just spending 2 hours in a Vienna Phil concert or rehearsal is immensely beneficial - not only do you get to witness the way a very distinct group of people work (or rehearse), you can analyze individuals' techniques, bowings, phrasings, yadda yadda. As musicians, we’ll probably have to perform with a bunch of obnoxious people at some point in our lives, and I know certain individuals in Vienna don’t feel the sentiment the chairperson expresses, as a previous poster pointed out. Just close your eyes and listen to the product, absorb the good that you can, and then you can leave the place with all the self-righteous integrity to judge them if you care to do so.
I think learning, even from morally tarnished individuals, can still be beneficial, as long as you are aware of your own integrity and are a big enough person to acknowledge that yes, a despicable human being might actually be more capable, learned and effective in something than you. I don’t care if Paganini sold his soul to the devil, slept with the devil, or was the devil’s personal bitch, I will be slaving over his caprices and concertos for quite some time – to my own benefit of course. It's an uneasy feeling, but despicable and greasy humans sometimes are very much talented and inspired ones as well. Don't deprive yourself of a chance to learn and grow because of others' distasteful behavior - martyrdom aside, the detriment is still to yourself ultimately, since Wagner’s scores will still be performed, and Vienna Phil members will still have their sweet jobs of performing wonderful music in the wonderful Musikverein.
I was making the case with a 21st century musician's point of view. Bildung has been drilled in my mind - too much German literature.
The message in this, which sort of backfires out of it, is that the Vienna Phil isn't really viewed as a significant entity. Obviously not significant in terms of numbers, but not symbolically either. If there was a similar policy in Deutche Bank or something the fur would fly.
Wilke, try Cleveland Mahler 5 Donanyi recording -- the scherzo is PERFECT!
I wouldn't mind banning Wagner's music and replacing it with more deserving music, ie. Mahler's.
Banning Wagner's music is a ridiculous idea, and I hope you were joking. Free speech, anyone?
The thing is though, I personally just don't like his music. I've played some of it that I liked (Meistersinger prelude was fun) but in general I find it (especially his later works) pompous, longwinded, and frequently tasteless. I give him much credit for the "leitmotif" concept but he could have used it better, sometimes they end up yapping reflexively across the stage like a pack of Pavlov's dogs.
His disgusting world view is just another reason I dislike him, besides just not liking his music especially well. And the comparison with Paganini, I must respectfully say, is a pretty poor one. Who actually believes he made a pact with the devil?? Of course there are piles of lurid stories about him but not a shred of evidence for any of them--the tabloids were even worse back then than they are now, if you can believe that. Wagner, on the other hand, proudly left us ample evidence of his unbelievable arrogance, weird perversions, and racism. I know, I know, we all have feet of clay and we shouldn't reject Great Art because its creator was a jerk. Hats off to those better souls than I who can forgive everything in perhaps the most repulsive character in the history of music for the sake of one Tristan chord (which was actually written by...oh never mind.) My problem, though, is I don't find his music to be such heavenly Great Art to be worth the effort of ignoring his disgusting personality. To return to an earlier example, Paganini not only has much less to forgive, but much more to be gained from it.
Just my two deutschmarks. (*hides behind special combat-grade flameproof armor*)
Secondly, the Paganini reference was sarcastic, meant to poke fun at the disconnect between individual and art. I mean, yes, I do think the devil is available for the purchase of any a given soul (please, please note the sarcasm, somebody!l).
In any such case, social context must be taken into consideration. Wagner certainly wasn’t the only anti-Semite to have lived, nor do I think he was the biggest and most influential (ahem…Mr. Hitler?). Sure his music was adapted by the Nazi regime, but so was Beethoven and R. Strauss’s works. This isn’t to say that the Nazi’s have that keen of a musicological understanding, but I have to say that I like Beethoven too.
Things were different back then, and the issue of anti-Semitism extends way back to the conception of Christianity. All through history there has been tension and rift, and such discrimination is a social phenomenon, one based on difference in faith and education.
Are we going to stop listening or playing Chopin nocturnes as well? I mean, they’re so pretty, so tightly composed, so great for piano technique, colorful, but its creator was also a raging anti-Semite. No more funeral marches? What about Orff’s Carmina Burana? I mean, it was written FOR the Nazis, and now it’s in Michael Jackson DVD intros (okay, bad example) and all over car commercials.
Just because Wagner elaborated on his ideology on paper in conjunction to his music doesn’t mean he was the only one who felt this way in Europe, and if putrid ideology must be associated with a person’s work, shouldn’t this be applied to everyone? God forbid any letters turn up saying Shostakovich was actually a Communist in spirit (I would die from within). A bulk of Heine’s poetry illustrates and pokes fun at this unfortunate discrimination way back in the day, and needless to say, perhaps society functions too introspectively, without enough periphery or foresight, and can only develop and turn over slowly in the embrace of new ideas of tolerance and acceptance.
I agree that Wager has drawn such attention to himself for obvious reasons – he can’t help but stick his foot in his mouth because he’s that into himself and his own thoughts. But this is how we’re looking at it today, when political correctness is ever so prevalent despite an idiot of a leader in our country. I sincerely believe at least half of Europe have thought Wagner’s thoughts back then, but most weren’t talented enough to be placed in the limelight. And also, isn’t this whole controversy a testament to how affective Wagner’s music is? Its depth and emotionality (even in the most long-winded passages, Maura ; ), can hurt so much and so effectively and affectively even today, while every good Jewish boy learns Chopin etudes at the beckoning of their good Jewish mothers. Doesn’t this say something about Wagner’s pompous and long-winded music?
(hides behind my own bullet proof shield).
i wonder, in the historical backdrop you have illustrated, what is your reaction to the current bunch of "white men" in europe?
I have to agree with Maura though. I actually do like Wagner, for a certain amount of time. However, I don't think I'm going to be going to Bayreuth any time soon to see the whole Ring production (I think they're mounting a new one in 2008). Then again, I wouldn't see 24 hours of anything, not even my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings (oh wait, isn't that....??) But his overtures are beautiful, particularly Tannhauser (I love the intro in the clarinet, horn, and bassoons. Too amazing for words)
I think a lot of the public is misled about music and a lot of them are like "man, hardcore rocking out to Wagner man..." after a concert u know? But then I know a lot of guys who rock out to Mahler as well.
Oh, Oscar Wilde ; ) .
I think banning Wagner is such ignorant book burning sophistry. You should consider destroying all Strauss then too, and maybe even throw in Bruckner. Bruckner's music was also used a lot by the SS, and a favourite of Mengele's. There's even a fairly famous picture of Hitler reverently surveying his bust at Walhalla.
If you are going to be reviled by anti simites like Wagner, who, incidentally are so incredibly far removed historically from Nazism, then you should probably ignore the work of almost any person ever. Why? Because social movements or longstanding hatred was everywhere during all times. If someone wasn't part of a society that despised Jews, like Austrians were, then they were probably part of a society with a substantial colonial empire, which did things often as horrible as the atrocities in the holocaust.
Please everyone, keep the damnations to yourselves if the only "historical" book you've ever read was the Da Vinci code. I'll listen to people's problems with Wagner who actually have a minute respect for history, and an iota of insight.
Nice quote. :)
Some more food for thought: you mentioned Chopin as another example of a flaming anti-semite in music, but there is (at least to my mind) a difference between the two of them. Chopin was a strict classicist when it came to his concept of music: he detested the Romantic notions so in fashion then, and along with Brahms and Joachim believed that music should be purely music, abstract, absolute, with no greater philosophical Meaning or programmatic content or bombastic story-telling. (Odd that he should then have been such good friends with Liszt, but hey, opposites attract.) Wagner, on the other hand, was one of those newfangled Music-of-the-Future, Weimar radicals who wanted to create a great transcendent synthesis of music, art, poetry and philosophy, each informing the other and all melded into a big monumental whole. So in that way, Wagner quite deliberately incorporated his Nieszchean ideals and strange megalomaniacal concepts right into his music, as part of his artistic philosophy--something the classicist Chopin would never have dreamed of doing.
Incidentally, I think I may have been a bit harsh on Wagner in my previous posting--he HAS written some absolutely glorious music, no doubt about that. He's just also written a lot of music I personally just can't stand, philosophy aside.
I happen to think Bruckner was the greatest symphonist since Beethoven and has yet to be surpassed, though I don't think Bruckner was an anti-semite
People seem to have this idea that anti semitism was some obscure, underground sentiment. Wake up people: it was everywhere throughout Germany and Austria. In fact, there are some places where it persists quite strongly.
PS. I do agree with you on the quality of his music, however.
oh my, Dalton... Bruckner?
It's nothing unique to art. I already said that. And you can't allow it to mean anything is permissible. If the inventor of the transistor was a racist (it's debated) it doesn't mean you avoid things with transistors in them. But would you commission something from them? Or would you hire him? You'd weigh everything carefully. And, what this started about, what about the policies of an institution?
This isn't a place for political discussion, and I won't take the risk of digressing any further. I'm simply stating that people are quite selective and self serving when it comes to declaring which composers are not fit to listen to because their ideals.
I will say that nationalism is a negative force in so far as it has caused the widespread suffering of those not included under its tenants. The rest doesn't really matter and is not relevant to this discussion.
And yet we should all try to use comparable standards. If we consider it acceptable refusing to listen to Vienna Philharmonics or Wagner's music it's perfectly ok as long as we do not refuse e.g. admitting and reading contributions to this forum by members who elected GWB. No double standards please.
Also, as long as we handle it as our private matter who we ban and who not it's fine. When publishing our convictions e.g. in the internet, however, shouldn't we rethink first whether our own, very personal behaviour and decisions in moral matters still entitle us to impose our opinion onto others?
I have heard San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland (almost weekly), Boston, Philly, New York, Concertgebouw, Vienna, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Boston Pops, among others. There were two orchestras that stood out as head and shoulders above the others: Cleveland and Royal Concertgebouw. Cleveland's blend of taste, precision, and unified string sound and Concertgebouw's flowing, energized and pinpoint clarity put these two ensembles into a tier of their own. I have been sorely disappointed by New York and Boston, and Baltimore and San Francisco didn't do it for me either. Detroit was remarkably clean, and Los Angeles has a HUGE sound. I've seen Vienna in Cleveland now a couple times in the last 6-7 years, and interestingly enough, I only enjoyed their encores each concert(Verdi one night and Strauss prior).
Of course, there are many hard-working so-called second and third tier ensembles that bear mentioning.
Second, we don't have to make correct choices, much less only correct choices, before we can be permitted to criticize others. No one would be worthy to critcize then anything, right?
You're smarter than that.
P.S. too, we don't "impose," we hopefully persuade.
As for orchestras, no-one's mentioned the Budapest Festival Orchestra yet?! :)
All these ideas, together with the ultranationalistic character of his operas, especially "The Ring," provided a fertile feeding ground for Nazi ideology and cultural conception."
These words were written about Wagner by Lili Eylon. It should be obvious how victims of anti-semitism might react when confronted with Wagner's music, especially in Israel shortly after the holocaust. It is difficult to understand how anyone can be so insensitive as to belittle the feelings of a people who are repulsed by such obvious symbols of their repression.
eeehhh, bad joke
in moral matters any two things are always unrelated unless our own morality relates them. It's always convinient not to relate things since it gives us the feeling of superiority.
So, when you say things are not related you just uncover your own morality (which isn't necessarily bad or good).
But to get back to your thing, likewise you can criticize the Vienna Phil and still read posts from somebody who voted for GWB :)
Wagner's attack is also motivated by professional reasons as his attack against jewish musicians is directly aimed at his competing circle: the Brahms-Joachim-Mendelssohn group, all of whom were Jewish. That doesn't make it right, but it's part of it.
Right and wrong choices are hard to define. Choices mostly have consequences, and perception of someone's choice is hard to define... In the end, only one law of choice making survives though: you cannot make a wrong to make a right. That inevitably backfires. And you cannot makeup for a wrong through a right. It is too late. Seems to be cosmic laws somehow.
Regardless of political factors, I still have to say the performances of the Vienna Phil under Maazel that I saw at the Grosses Festpielhaus is Salzburg in 1996 ranks as the greatest orchestral playing I have heard live. To this day, I still treasure this performance. And curiously, it wasn't until days later when someone asked if I had noticed something unusual about the orchestra and said no, that they mentioned is was all-male. I had not noticed. I guess I was too busy listening.
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!