Interview with William Hagen: Danse Russe at the Colburn School border=0 align=

Interview with William Hagen: Danse Russe at the Colburn School

February 20, 2020, 11:01 PM · When American violinist William Hagen faced the idea of recording his first album, he knew one thing: He wanted to record music that was artistically fulfilling, but also that his grandma would enjoy.

On Saturday he will premiere his new album Danse Russe with pianist Albert Cano Smit in a recital at the Colburn School at 8 p.m. in Zipper Hall. (You can view the livestream here).

Hagen started violin at age four in a Salt Lake City Suzuki program, making his debut with the Utah Symphony at age nine. At age 27, he's blazed an impressive path: he went on to study at the Colburn School with Robert Lipsett, at The Juilliard School with Itzhak Perlman and at the Kronberg Academy in Germany with Christian Tetzlaff. He won third prize in the 2015 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition and has played with a long list of well-known conductors and orchestras around the world.

Hagen and I spoke about his longtime connection to Los Angeles and the Colburn School, his collaboration with pianist Albert Cano Smit, and the idea of making an album that satisfies your vision as an artist but also serves as good listening material for your grandma.
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Listening to My Bow and Bow Arm's Secrets

February 20, 2020, 5:48 PM · Our bows have one job to do: make a sound as reliable as the piano’s strings. The only instrument as fragile and vulnerable as the violin is the flute. Like the violin, the mechanics of the flute seem indirect. Whether you learn to blow in a non-traditional way, or figure out how the bow hairs resemble the padding of a piano’s hammer, the violinist and flutist have to learn certain secrets, or revelations, that don’t translate into short, pithy instructions.

One of my favorite moments of discovery was eliminating the scraping of the hairs up, down, and sideways along the string. Since it doesn’t take long to skid from the fingerboard to the bridge, part of my new technique involved constant attention to my bow staying in its lane. Instead of thinking in terms of inches and seconds, I had to develop the observation of a sentry, in which a momentary lapse sends the bow careening. Keep reading...

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For the Record, Op. 111: Virgil Boutellis-Taft's 'Incantation'

February 20, 2020, 1:30 PM · Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Incantation
Virgil Boutellis-Taft, violin
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Jac Van Steen conducting

Here's a young violinist worth a good listen, and he will also be performing in Carnegie Hall April 28. French violinist Virgil Boutellis-Taft presents a wide-ranging album that includes Bruch's Kol Nidrei; Vitali's Chaconne; Saint-Saëns, Danse macabre (a world premiere arrangement by Paul Bateman); Tchaikovsky's Sérénade mélancolique; Bloch's Nigun (from Baal Shem); Chausson's Poème; and Shigeru Umebayashi's "Yumeji’s Theme" from Wong Kar-Wai's film "In the Mood for Love." BELOW: Boutellis-Taft performs Brahms' FAE Sonata:"

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Violin Masterclass with Midori at USC

February 19, 2020, 3:04 PM · One might be drawn to a masterclass by Midori because of her star power as a soloist who has played internationally for three decades and still performs more than 100 concerts a year.

But after seeing several of her masterclasses before, I'm more interested in what she has to say as a teacher. After all, she currently teaches at the Curtis Institute, and she taught at the University of Southern California's Thornton School for 14 years (eight of those as head of the strings department). She also teaches as a guest professor at Japan's Soai University, the New England Conservatory and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories, and she just finished a year-long position at Oxford University.

She's even given a masterclass on giving a masterclass!

So it was with great pleasure I attended her violin master class at USC Thornton in late January. The masterclass featured three students playing works by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Ysaÿe; and Midori provided plenty of food for thought for the standing-room-only crowd of students, players and teachers who came to watch. Keep reading...

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Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

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