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Violin News and Gossip, Op. 2, No. 19

April 16, 2006 at 3:27 PM

I got a nice note from Nick Tavani, a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music who had just returned from participating in the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He wanted to let me know how it went.

Violinist Celeste Golden, a 22-year-old student of Paul Kantor and David Cerone at CIM, won the grand prize in the overall concerto competition, first prize in the senior divisions of the concerto and solo competitions, and the award for best overall solo performance. If I’m adding up her many awards correctly, it appears that Ms. Golden won $8,000 plus performances with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and at Festival de San Miguel de Allende.

Violinist Susan Jeng, a 17-year-old student of Robert and Almita Vamos, took second place overall, first in the junior division of the solo and concerto competitions, and won the Bach prize for the junior division. Sifei Wen, a cello student of Eleonore Shoenfeld at USC, and Shannon Lee, a 13-year old student of Jan Mark Sloman in Texas, tied for third in the overall competition.

Sifei got second in the senior division of both solo and concerto, and the Bach prize for the senior division. Shannon got second in the junior divison of both solo and concerto. Violinist Rachel Harding, student of David and Linda Cerone at CIM, took third in senior solo and concerto, and Ken Hamao, student of Robert Lipsett, took third in junior solo and concerto. The judges were William Barbini (violin), Gilberto Munguia (cello), and Naoko Tanaka (violin). Congratulations to all and thanks for the update, Nick!

I’ve also learned that Thomas Wermuth, a terrific violinist, is the concertmaster of the Oberon Chamber Orchestra, a new group in the western suburbs of Chicago. This group, which is holding its debut performance on April 29, is comprised of faculty members from the Western Springs School of Talent Education and the Naperville Suzuki School. Wermuth leads the group from the concertmaster’s chair. The group hopes to create a three-concert season next year.

Orchestra News

4/13/06 – The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Philadelphia Orchestra is returning to national radio in a deal with National Public Radio. “Performances will not be live; they will be culled from concerts during the course of this season in Verizon Hall, airing in two formats on two NPR radio shows, 'SymphonyCast' and 'Performance Today’…NPR's deal with the orchestra is for one year, with an option for two more seasons." The paper adds, "Unlike previous Philadelphia Orchestra national broadcasts, the orchestra on 'Performance Today' will share air time with recordings of other orchestras," noting: "The orchestra has had a sporadic national radio presence in the last decade, including four concerts last season, but has not had a sustained presence since the 1997-98 season… For these new broadcasts, musicians are accepting lower-than-usual fees -- $30 per week per musician for 26 weeks -- negotiated as part of their current labor pact."

4/13/06 - Six years ago, Joseph Rescigno was fired from his position as artistic director of Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montreal, reports the Montreal Gazette. "Rescigno sued for lost salary, moving expenses, defamation of character and moral damages. The Quebec Superior Court ruled in Rescigno's favour in 2003 and this year the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the lower court judgment in January. The orchestra now owes Rescigno more than $250,000. Early last week, demands for payment escalated. Letters of seizure were sent to the orchestra's bank," and the organization filed for bankruptcy protection. The paper adds that a benefit concert raised $200,000 for the orchestra, but like the rest of the orchestra's assets, that money can't be touched until the dispute with Rescigno is settled.

4/12/06 - The Associated Press reported that Toshiyuki Shimada, who concludes his tenure as music director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in two weeks, will devote "more time to his search for long-forgotten music tucked away at the Vatican library. Under a licensing agreement, Shimada intends to release a series of compact discs carrying the seal of the 500-year-old library." The paper adds that Shimada's Trinity Music Partners is in the process of hiring additional researchers to assist on the project: "The licensing deal between the Vatican Library and Trinity was signed a year ago. Since then, Shimada has been wrapping up his tenure at the Portland symphony while taking on a new job as conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra and trying to get the ball rolling on the Vatican music project. Already, he has identified a manuscript by Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti that dates to the late 1600s."

4/11/06 – The Great Falls (MT) Symphony has received a $100,000 bequest, reports the Great Falls Tribune. The late Bertha Feaster, an "investor and self-made businesswoman" who died last year at 102, "left nearly $2 million of her estate to local organizations," include more than $100,000 to the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra. Carolyn Valacich, executive director of the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, comments: "We did not know that Bertha had remembered the symphony in her will until after her death. It was such a generous thing to do." Szpaller adds: "Valacich said she plans to work with Feaster's heirs to determine how to use the money. 'We want this contribution to be something that will make a substantial difference in the future of the Great Falls Symphony,' she said."

4/11/06 - The Orchestra of St. Luke's, a much-lauded ensemble made up of some of New York’s finest freelance musicians, has received an anonymous $5 million gift intended to allow the organization to start an endowment fund. "Orchestra of St. Luke's has an annual budget of $5 million... The organization expects to raise about $280,000 this year from individuals and $250,000 to $300,000 from the board, with the rest coming from foundation gifts and ticket sales," writes Bloomberg News.

From Amy F.
Posted on April 18, 2006 at 2:24 PM
Good for Celeste and Rachel! Glad to see CIMers doing great in competitions. :)
From Ryan Meehan
Posted on April 20, 2006 at 11:44 AM
Susan Jang is such an amazing violinist. Her Shostakovich Concerto is unbelievable! She was also this year's winner of the Stulberg International Competition.
From Ryan Meehan
Posted on April 20, 2006 at 9:45 PM
Susan is a student of ROLAND and Almita Vamos, not robert.

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