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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 37

June 19, 2006 at 3:18 PM

In this, the year of the quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, news about the competition is going to start flowing fast and furious until its September 17 completion. Founded by the legendary Josef Gingold in 1982, the IVCI is, I believe, the only North American violin competition recognized by the World Federation of International Music Competitions.

With these luscious prizes, the quality is bound to be topnotch: $200,000 in cash prizes, concert engagements at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere, and the opportunity to record a CD. Additionally the winner will be allowed to use the "ex-Gingold" Stradivarius, formerly owned by Gingold, and a 19th-century Tourte bow until the 2010 competition.

I understand that the governing body, led by Gingold protégé Jaime Laredo, has selected 51 participants for this year’s competition. These names have not been posted on the IVCI website, but I hope to have the list of names by midweek.

One highlight of the competition will be the recital featuring 2002 Gold Medalist Barnabas Kelemen and 2002 Bronze Medalist Soovin Kim.


I missed the informative interview with St. Louis Symphony concertmaster David Halen when it first ran on in April, but it’s never too late to learn from an accomplished musician. The occasion was his then-upcoming performance of the Glazunov Violin Concerto with his orchestra. Read Hagen’s informative comments about this concerto here:

Musician News

6/29/06 – Violinist Karen Gomyo will partner with pianist Dina Vainshtein at a recital at the Caramoor International Music Festival in Katonah, NY.

6/29/06 – Violinist Nikolaj Znaider will perform a Mozart Violin Concerto in Risor, Norway, as part of the Risor Festival.

6/27/06 – The Euclid Quartet and Degas Quartet will join forces at Aspen for a performance that, amazingly, does not include the Mendelssohn Octet. Rather, the two quartets have chosen to play Armando Bayolo’s “Ludi, for string octet.”

6/15/06 – The Boston Symphony announced that Music Director James Levine will conduct the Boston Symphony on July 7, the opening night of the Tanglewood Festival, in his first performance since he injured his shoulder on March 1. According to Levine, his enforced four-month hiatus has enabled him to focus on his health in an unprecedented way. He is overweight and has suffered from sciatica and other health problems that have forced him to conduct sitting down for several years. In an odd coincidence, the program for the July 7 concert is the same as the program that Levine led on March 1: Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

6/14/06 - Japanese conductor Hiroyuki Iwaki, who led the Melbourne Symphony for more than three decades, has died at 73, reports “In Europe Iwaki conducted the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Leipzig's Gewandhaus Orchestra." A legend in Japan, Iwaki also held a lifetime appointment as chief conductor of Tokyo's NHK Symphony.”

6/9/06 – Outgoing Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Daniel Barenboim invited one of his favorite performing partners, violinist Maxim Vengerov, to take the stage with him in one of the conductor’s farewell concerts. Vengerov, who played the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4, received a good review from the Chicago Tribune: “The young Siberian-born virtuoso is one of Barenboim’s star protégés, and the results of their close musical rapport were there for all to appreciate: the crispness of Vengerov’s bow work, the purity of his sound, the refinement of his style. Expressive warmth and charm did not have to be externally applied because these elements were central to the shared musical conception.”

Orchestra News

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its musicians have reached an early settlement for a new contract, reports the American Symphony Orchestra League. “Negotiations for the three-year agreement, extending through the 2008-09 season, concluded this week, three months prior to expiration of the current agreement. The new agreement calls for wage increases of 2.5 percent each year. The current base salary of $39,234 will increase to $42,276 in the third year of the contract. Other components of the agreement include greater flexibility in the scheduling of regional educational concerts and an increase in the Electronic Media Guarantee. The new contract follows a season in which musicians worked under a one-year extension of the previous contract, at their own suggestion. The wage freeze was brought on by the tenuous nature of funding from Erie County and recognition by the musicians that the board and staff needed to focus on other critical issues.”

6/16/06 - The Oslo Philharmonic went on strike, leading to the cancellation of planned appearances this month in Malaysia and Singapore. Sarah Chang was to have appeared as soloist in Sibelius's Violin Concerto in the cancelled concerts. According to the orchestra, the Norwegian Musicians' Union called the strike, which also affects the Norwegian National Opera, the Bergen Philharmonic and other organizations around the country. "The Musicians' Union is fighting for a raise in salaries, claiming that the salaries in the orchestras have not seen the same development over the last 10 years as other sectors in society," reads a statement from the Philharmonic.

6/15/06 - The Mesa Symphony Orchestra has canceled four concerts, including its popular Fourth of July pops show, after its annual $50,000 grant request was turned down by the Mesa City Council, reports the East Valley Tribune (AZ). The $50,000 grant represents about a quarter of the symphony's annual budget. "Officials from the symphony, which comprises 65 part-time employees who perform about a dozen concerts a year, blamed the failure of a Mesa property tax initiative in May for the loss of funding….To offset the financial blow, the organization launched a campaign to raise $50,000 in 50 days for its 50th season."

6/15/06 – The Duluth News Tribune profiled the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, "Duluth's only regular summer orchestra." The group opens its 20th season this week with a performance of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf in collaboration with local comedy troupe Colder By The Lake, which has updated the work "with sketches that poke fun at contemporary issues and personalities."

6/13/06 - The first CD produced under a new agreement between the New York Philharmonic and New World Records was released. It includes world-premiere performances, conducted by Music Director Lorin Maazel, of two commissions: Stephen Hartke's Symphony No. 3 (2003) and Augusta Read Thomas's Gathering Paradise: Emily Dickinson Settings for Soprano and Orchestra (2004). The recording also includes Jacob Druckman's Summer Lightning, conducted by Maazel in 2003.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 19, 2006 at 7:51 PM
The list of contestant names for Indy was published in the Indianapolis newspaper a couple of months ago. It's one of the papers I often buy and read. Perhaps it's online. Indy isn't far away so I might get to see this. On the other hand, I couldn't muster the energy over the weekend to drive 30 miles to see one of my actual music heros.
From Nicholas Tavani
Posted on June 19, 2006 at 9:20 PM
there's a good contingent from CIM going to Indy this year.
From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on June 20, 2006 at 7:48 AM
Jim 30 miles is not far. I drove last year in the evening after my work 167 km from my village in Holland to Brussel for the Queen Elisabeth competition several times. 3 times first round, 3 times second round and the last final evening. But Indy is too far for me, I think.That's a pity.
From Darcy Lewis
Posted on June 20, 2006 at 1:57 PM
Thanks, guys. I've got the Indy list and will post it in my next column.



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