Interview with Violinist Sean Lee - Performing Paganini 24 Caprices border=0 align=

Interview with Violinist Sean Lee - Performing Paganini 24 Caprices

January 20, 2022, 2:06 PM · Violinist Sean Lee was just a teenager when he was studying with one of the most famous violinists who ever lived - Ruggiero Ricci.

Among other things, Ricci is famous for his legendary achievement as the first violinist ever to record all 24 of Niccolò Paganini's wickedly difficult Caprices, in 1947.

"One of the incredible things about studying the Caprices with Ruggiero Ricci was that he would often demonstrate and make it look so easy," Lee told me in an interview this week. "In retrospect, I think this made a big impact -- it took away a lot of the intimidation I felt. I would play some Paganini for him at every lesson, but we spent much more time on other repertoire. I think this was key to learning them initially -- not treating them as some ambitious project, but simply as a daily part of my studies."

Now, 75 years after Ricci's monumental accomplishment, Lee has both followed in his mentor's footsteps and plowed some ground of his own. Next week, on Jan. 27, Lee will perform all 24 Caprices live in a recital presented by Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. There's a twist - Lee will be playing them with pianist Peter Dugan in an arrangement made in the 1850s by Robert Schumann. The arrangement adds piano but leaves the violin part as written by Paganini. (Click here for information and tickets for the recital, which can be seen via livestream or live at Rose Studio in New York City.)

Here are Lee and Dugan, playing Schumann's arrangement of Paganini Caprice No. 20:

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Remembering Juilliard Quartet Violist Roger Tapping (1960-2022)

January 19, 2022, 12:58 PM · Musicians around the world are remembering violist Roger Tapping, who died Tuesday of cancer at age 61.

Member of the Juilliard String Quartet and the Juilliard School viola faculty since 2013, Tapping also was on the viola faculty of the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he directed the Chamber Music program. He has also taught at the Boston Conservatory and at Longy. During summers he also taught at the Perlman Chamber Music Workshop, the Tanglewood String Quartet Seminar and Yellow Barn. He gave viola master classes at Banff and at other festivals and conservatories in North America, Europe and Asia.

"We are heartbroken to lose our beloved colleague and friend Roger Tapping," the Juilliard String Quartet said in a statement on their website. "One of the most passionate and celebrated chamber musicians of his generation, Roger was adored by students, colleagues, and audiences around the world. His love for performing and teaching radiated from his very being and deeply touched all who knew him. We will continue to be inspired by his unstoppable energy and zeal, qualities that he brought to all his musical collaborations. Our daily quartet rehearsals were elevated by Roger’s love for playing string quartets together. The pleasure he derived from music-making was palpable and inspiring, not just for those of us who were his colleagues, but for the generations of young musicians who were fortunate enough to have known and worked with him." Keep reading...

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 337: Nicola Benedetti; James Ehnes; TwoSet Violin; Xavier Foley

January 18, 2022, 12:49 PM · 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.

Nicola Benedetti performed the U.S. premiere of Mark Simpson’s Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

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Viola Master Class with LA Phil's Minor 'Mick' Wetzel

January 17, 2022, 2:11 PM · Violinists can learn much from the expert advice of violists -- and this felt especially true after an insightful and enjoyable master class for pre-college students given by the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Minor ("Mick") Wetzel, who also teaches viola performance at The Colburn School. It was part of the American Viola Society's Mini Viola-Fest at the Primrose International Viola Competition at Colburn in late December.

The students were top-notch, and Wetzel offered both graceful praise for their strengths and articulate advice for improvement - advice that could help any of us improve. He talked about sound production, unique ways to think about articulation, how intonation relates to resonance, and ways to practice intense passages without getting overly physically tense. He also drew on his background, playing for the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and in opera orchestras, to make points about how our work as instrumental musicians relates to other artists such as dancers and singers.

Here are some of the highlights from his master class. Keep reading...

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