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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 31

May 28, 2006 at 12:46 AM

This may not be string-related, but it seems impossible not to note the retirement this week of announcer Martin Bookspan from Live From Lincoln Center. On Wednesday, the New York Times profiled Bookspan, "the voice of Live From Lincoln Center.”

“One-half erudite informer, the other half grandfatherly guide, [Bookspan] piloted two generations of listeners through the institution's marbled halls: coaxing them into their seats with a tease of a pre-concert lecture, keeping them tuned in during intermissions with easy-to-digest program notes and anecdotes, and then sealing the evening with a buoyant summation or perhaps a succinct rave." Bookspan comments: "Basically, if I have a technique, it's the technique of the sportscaster. As sportscasters make the game come alive, I hope I have made concerts come alive."

Musician News

Philip Palermo, acting concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, has been selected as the 2006 recipient of the orchestra's Patch Leadership Award, according to the ASOL. “The award recognizes the ISO musician who demonstrates a tradition of consistent performance, promotes the positive image of the orchestra, and furthers the cause of music in service to the community. The award honors the memory of Renato ‘Patch’ Pacini, a former assistant concertmaster and assistant conductor. As part of the award, a $1,000 contribution is made to the orchestra's annual fund in honor of the winner.” Palermo has been associate concertmaster since 1985.

5/24/06 – Chee-Yun soloed with the San Francisco Academy Orchestra, conducted by Florin Parvulescu. She performed two works by Mozart: Adagio for Violin and Orchestra and Violin Concerto No. 4. The Academy Orchestra is a new organization, formerly known as the San Francisco Student Philharmonic.

5/22/06 – The Shanghai String Quartet performed the world premiere of Takuma Itoh's Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, reports the New York Times. The New York Youth Symphony accompanied. "The 12-minute concerto is written in one continuous movement with three distinct sections. After the deftly orchestrated slow introduction, the instruments of the string quartet enter one at a time with frenetic flourishes that shoot up the scale, which sets the restless first section in motion. In the slow central episode, Mr. Itoh shows an ear for writing thick, pungent chords bursting with notes.”

5/21/06 - Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg was the soloist for Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Albany Symphony. The Albany Times-Union praised her "wiry yet pleasant tone and a wholly restrained dynamic.”

5/20/06 - Maria Larionoff, acting concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony, performed a "strong, stirring account" of John Corigliano's The Red Violin, reports the Seattle Times.

5/16/06 - Joseph Lanza, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1958 and its longtime assistant principal second violinist, has died, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. He had suffered briefly from pneumonia, his wife said. Lanza "was one of those orchestra musicians who hated missing work, and even last week resisted staying home despite illness. His last time playing with the orchestra was Wednesday, in rehearsal." The paper adds: "Mr. Lanza was part of a remarkable musical family that includes his brother, Louis, still a violinist in the orchestra, and four de Pasquale cousins who once populated the orchestra's string section ... He was especially proud to be an embodiment of a performance tradition cultivated by conductor Eugene Ormandy. ‘One thing that struck me as remarkable was he took an audition to move over one chair at the age of 50 ... Some people might not want to be bothered and take the risk,’ said Lanza’s son. ‘But he took the risk and was successful’."

Orchestra News

5/22/06 - The Perth-based West Australian Symphony Orchestra, which just completed a major tour of China, ought to be flying high right now, according to The Australian. “Instead, the orchestra has declined to renew the contract of its music director (and informed him the week before the WASO headed to China,) and the tour was plagued by logistical problems and half-filled halls. For the WASO, it's clear that there are a lot of things not working the way they should, and many management problems that will have to be addressed once the ensemble returns home.”

5/22/06 – The San Francisco Opera Orchestra has quietly reached a labor deal, reports San Francisco Classical Voice. “The five-year contract runs from August 2006 through July 2011, providing 2 percent increases for each of the first two years, and 4 percent boosts for each of the next three years. The new contract follows difficult negotiations in 2003, resolved when the musicians agreed to wage reductions in order to help the company deal with a large deficit. One essential fact about the new contract is that it's based on 2003 figures — that is, compensation before the voluntary cuts were made. Thus, the baseline for the increases is the basic annual compensation guarantee of $66,910, from 2003, rather than $64,281, which applies now, at the end of the current contract. In the next season, compensation increases to $68,248, and contract year 2007-2008 adds a 24th week and a 2 percent increase overall, bringing the amount up to $71,848. The number of guaranteed weeks of work increases from 23 to 24 in the second year of the new contract; the basic work week increases from 21 to 24 hours, with corresponding reductions in the hours requiring regular or special overtime.”

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