This fall, it's been exhilarating and cathartic to witness the return of orchestra at every level, from professional concerts in the world's most famous concert halls, to school orchestras and community orchestras starting again. With the return of school and youth orchestra comes the return of the need for students to discern which ensemble, and which honor orchestra (such as district, regionals, or state) - if any - is the best fit for them this year.
As a former public orchestra student and now a private teacher of students navigating the same system, I offer five important considerations before signing yourself up for an ensemble audition. Keep reading...
Violin soloist Rachel Barton Pine announced on Tuesday that she will perform from a seated position for the foreseeable future, as her medical team has advised that she will be non-ambulatory for at least the next few years.
“These are medical setbacks," Pine said, "my ability to fulfill my life’s purpose as an artist remains unaffected. I’m sharing this information so the focus will stay on my music-making."
At age 20, Pine sustained serious damage to her lower limbs when her right foot was crushed and her left leg severed above the knee in a near-fatal Metra train accident. Despite these injuries, Pine's violin playing was not affected and Pine has remained tireless in her activities not only as a performer but also as an advocate for the arts and educator. Keep reading...Comments (5)
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.
Shunske Sato performed Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Being a violinist is a juggling act, and it requires the ability to reconcile two (or more) conflicting ideas. The left hand is often reminded to relax, and at the same time to keep its shape. Vibrato beautifies the sound, but all that movement makes pinpointing the pitch rather precarious. Playing in the top part of a position makes the bottom part seem far away. So, by the time the left hand is developed, it’s a miracle that it darts around and doesn’t collapse. It resembles a solid, radar-driven machine, guided by nothing more than the artistry of the ear.
In some ways, the left hand works the same way as the structures on the sides of buildings that keep construction workers safe and secure: the first and most important requirement is that they don’t collapse. Scaffolding, for violinists, is a method of erecting the hand to accommodate all four fingers. We build the left hand’s plan in our minds, and we observe what distances feel like. The hand thus takes shape because it’s driven by purpose and design. The air that the hand envelops becomes the structure on which strength grows. Touching the violin’s neck with two small parts of the hand doesn’t inspire as much confidence and assuredness - that is not where the "scaffolding" lies. The only thing that the left hand "grabs" is the shape of air around the neck. Like squeezing a soft, rubbery ball, the left hand keeps its shape no matter what dimensions it assumes around the fingerboard. Keep reading...
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