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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 88

December 18, 2006 at 4:36 AM

12/15/06 - It turns out the French composer Georges Bizet isn’t sitting so pretty these days. The Guardian (UK) reports: "The Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, where famous residents such as Moliere, Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas attract 2 million visitors a year, has been the victim of theft. Six bronze busts were stolen last month from its 19th century tombs, including that of Georges Bizet, the composer of Carmen.

The busts dated from the second half of the 19th century and were made by well-known artists of the time. Each is worth between €5,000 and €10,000…’It's the work of an expert’, a source familiar with the case told the newspaper. The source added that the robberies were probably carried out to order for a collector. Hugues de Bazelaire, who works on the restoration of funeral monuments, said there was a thriving black market in pieces from French graveyards.”


12/14/06 - In the charming-story-of-the-week category, a primary school in Cheam, England, has rescued a violin from the scrap heap and restored it for use by its students, reports the Croydon Guardian. “St Dunstan's Primary in Ann Boleyn's Walk heard about the abandoned violin after it was left at Save the Children in Cheam Broadway from one of their teachers who is a helper at the shop. Although it was broken, the school adopted the instrument with the intention of getting it fixed and it is now played by pupils on a regular basis.

Head teacher of St. Dunstan's Primary, Christine Smyth, said: ‘Our swimming teacher helps out at Save the Children and she offered us this violin. It was a bit unwell and had a broken bridge. As a result of that, we discussed getting it repaired but it was too expensive. Then a very kind and caring violinist agreed to mend it for us and now the orchestra uses it. It means that perhaps a child whose parents are not in the position to buy them an instrument can still get involved in the orchestra’."

Musician News

12/19/06 - Joshua Bell will appear on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" to perform a selection from "Voice of the Violin." Check your local TV schedule for airtimes. He is also featured in the December issue of Aspen Magazine and Golf Digest. Voice of the Violin is also a Woman's Day magazine pick.

12/18/06 - Violinist and Indiana University faculty member Alexander Kerr will perform with the IU Philharmonic Orchestra at the historic Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne as part of IU’s Moveable Feast of the Arts initiative. Kerr will play the Korngold Violin Concerto. The program will be repeated the next day in Chicago at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.

12/14/06 – According to the Palisadian, Post Zebulon Projects presented the world premiere of violinist Mary Lou Newmark's multimedia show Street Angel Diaries. “Newmark is an award-winning violinist, composer and poet. She has a traditional classical background, with master's degrees in violin performance and music composition from USC and UCLA, respectively. Her works encompass a wide range of styles and techniques, incorporating live performance, original poetry and electronically generated sounds into unique pieces that inhabit their own sound world. She maintains a private violin and composition studio in Los Angeles.”

12/14/06 – Violinist Akira Maezawa was profiled in the Binghamton University newspaper as a standout student in more than one area of study—he is an engineering major who also excels at the violin.

12/9/06 – Violinist Shawn Moore is one of four winners of the Bard College concerto competition. Each winner will perform with the college orchestra this year.

Orchestra News

The National Arts Centre Orchestra's teacher resource kit, "Vivaldi and the Four Seasons," is being distributed to every elementary school in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada. The 32-page kit is designed to be used by generalist classroom teachers for music lessons and also contains a cross-curricular link to other content-related topics, such as climate change. The kit, produced in English and French, includes ready-to-use lesson plans and student activity sheets, a listening guide, music to be played or sung on recorder, and a copy of the CBC Records "Vivaldi: Four Seasons" CD, by the NAC Orchestra under the direction of Pinchas Zukerman.

1/15/07 - The Cleveland Orchestra will become the first visiting orchestra to perform at Nashville's new Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The orchestra will stop in Nashville on the way to Miami's Carnival Center for the Performing Arts Center, where it will kick off a ten-year residency project, consisting of three weeks of concerts and educational programs each winter.

12/11/06 – Melbourne’s The Age offers a profile of the 100-year-old Melbourne Symphony, which will be launching a two-week European tour in January.

12/7/06 – In La Scena Musicale, Norman Lebrecht writes: "India, which has never shown much interest in sonata form and suchlike, now has a professional symphony orchestra and this week named a Kazakh violinist [Marat Bisengaliev] as its music director ... The new Symphony Orchestra of India is funded by the agrochemicals-to-telecoms Tata Group, which has built a sumptuous National Centre for the Performing Arts on the waterfront in Mumbai and needs a resident ensemble. The Indian government, says Bisengaliev, 'shows no interest at all. But there is a middle class of 200 million people with a growing interest in western lifestyles. This is an incredible opportunity for classical music' ... Next September he is planning what may be the Indian premiere of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, while tempting sub-continent opera lovers with a fully-staged 'Pagliacci.' "

12/5/06 – According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee Symphony has announced that Andreas Delfs will leave his post as the orchestra’s music director after the 2008-09 season, the orchestra's 50th. Delfs's current three-year contract was to expire at the end of 2007-08, which will be the conductor's 10th with the MSO. MSO officers and management negotiated an additional year, to keep Delfs in place for the orchestra's golden anniversary.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 18, 2006 at 5:40 AM
Where the hell ya gonna pawn a bust of Bizet? Is there some Bizet black market I don't know about?

Yeah, probably... There's all kinds of stuff I never thought of.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on December 18, 2006 at 7:06 AM
It's over at Delta house wearing Mardi Gras beads and a straw hat.
From Preston Hawes
Posted on December 18, 2006 at 9:33 AM
Woohoo! Go Shawn!

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