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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 85

December 8, 2006 at 4:10 AM

For a change today, we start with a look at profiles of two leading conductors, each at very different stages in their careers:

12/3/06 - Zubin Mehta, the Indian-born, Vienna-trained maestro who now leads orchestras in Berlin, Florence, Vienna and Tel Aviv. Read the Washington Post article here:

At the other end of the spectrum is Vladimir Jurowski, the 34-year-old sensation who takes the reins of the London Philharmonic next year. Read the Guardian’s article here:


Do we need a better breed of orchestra player? Read this 12/3/06 article in the New York Times that looks at a new joint project of Juilliard and Carnegie Hall. Known as the Academy, the project is a venture for postgraduates designed as a performance and education initiative. Read about it here:

Musician News

Justin Bruns has been named assistant concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He holds the endowed Mary and Cherry Emerson Chair, and most recently served as assistant concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony. He has also served as concertmaster of the Boulder Bach Festival, and continues to be affiliated with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music as assistant concertmaster. Bruns won top prize in the Artists and Scholars Honors Program at the University of Michigan, and holds a master's degree from Rice University.

12/6/06 - The Livingston (Mich.) Press & Argus ran a profile of violinist Sarah Strane. Though just a freshman performance major at Central Michigan University, she recently participated in a masterclass with David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Read about it here:

12/6/06 – The Gisborne (New Zealand) Herald is reporting that violinist Yunzhi Ling of Singapore won first place in the 2006 Gisborne Music Competition. “It was Ling’s deeply-involved delivery of Brahms’ Second and Third Movements from Concerto in D Major, Chausson’s Poem and Caprice No. 13, by Niccolo Paganini, that won in the end.” She received a prize of $8,000, plus an opportunity to play as a soloist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. This annual competition is open to classical musicians on any instrument. Here are some other string winners:

Third place - Wen Zhu (Australia, violin)
Best performance of a New Zealand composition — Rohana Brown (Melbourne, violin).
Best New Zealand string player — Ben Morrison (Wellington, violin).
Best international string player — Matthew Rigby (Brisbane, violin).
Most promising player — Matthew Rigby (Brisbane, violin).

11/28/06 – San Francisco Classical Voice ran a nice obituary of violinist Andor Toth, who died in Los Angeles at the age of 81 of a stroke. “In a career that spanned more than six decades, Toth was internationally celebrated as a soloist, concert artist, conductor, and music educator. During his career, Toth played his violin to comfort wounded soldiers on the World War II battlefields of Aachen, Germany; he performed with the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini; formed several musical groups (most notably the Oberlin String Quartet); conducted symphonies in Cleveland, Denver, and Houston; and he was founding concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. professor emeritus at Stanford, Toth also toured Europe in 1993, playing first violin with the Takács String Quartet, before founding Chamber Music San Juans.”

Orchestra News

12/6/06 – According to the Lexington Herald Leader (KY), the Lexington Philharmonic has announced that, after 35 year, music director and conductor George Zack is stepping down. “Zack, 70, will continue in the orchestra's top job for three years as the Philharmonic begins the search for a new conductor and music director ... Philharmonic officials said they hope to name a new director by spring 2009."

12/5/06 – The San Francisco Chronicle profiled Symphony Silicon Valley. The story focused on the orchestra’s unusual business model of relying only upon guest conductors, with nary a music director in sight. Read it here:

12/5/06 – According to San Francisco Classical Voice, the San Francisco Symphony, “which had managed to stay in the black for the longest time (including during the difficult post-dot-com bust and post-9/11), is now dealing with blotches of red. Budget figures for the 2005-2006 season, released on Monday, show a $1.8 million shortfall on an operating budget of $54.5 million. The Symphony administration explains: ‘This deficit is $328,000 less than the deficit projected at the beginning of the fiscal year, and was the result of better than anticipated growth in both earned and contributed revenues as well as rigorous expense controls’.”

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on December 8, 2006 at 3:11 PM
I think that Academy project sounds wonderful--outreach by top-notch but approachable musicians. And I love the idea of rewarding musicians who make those efforts with career prestige. It's time for those unsung heroes to be sung a little bit more.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on December 8, 2006 at 3:33 PM
Did Andor Toth really play with the Takacs?? As far as I knew they went straight from the original first violinist, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, to the guy they have now, Ed Dusinberre....

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