July 27, 2006 at 4:17 AM
The August issue of Chamber Music magazine features a cover article on Aaron Dworkin, founder and president of the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which focuses on bringing music education to young blacks and Latinos. Dworkin, a violinist, remarks of the youths reached by the Sphinx Organization: "Whether they evolve into an audience member, or they evolve into an amateur musician whose life is generally enriched by music, or end up in any level of the professional music world that's our goal -- so that they have the opportunity to have that choice." Dworkin adds that if the classical music community treats diversity as a priority, "we will broaden our audience, expand our subscriptions, we'll widen our donor base, we'll have a better board of directors. We'll have a more engaged orchestra, where all our members are happier.”
7/30/06 – Iconic violinist Joseph Silverstein and pianist Derek Han will perform Mozart violin sonatas at Music@Menlo in Atherton, Calif.
7/30/06 – Steven J. Lubiarz, violin, and Joseph Palazzolo, piano, will be performing at the St. Roch Chamber Music Festival in Bad Axe, Mich.. According to the Huron Daily Tribune, Lubiarz is a native of Troy, Mich., and moved to Canada in 2003 to join the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bell’arte Strings as second violinist. “Prior to moving to Canada, Steven performed under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami Beach. While completing his masters of music in violin performance and orchestral studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Steven was also a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. While at Roosevelt, Steven studied violin with Cyrus Forough and Joseph Golan, and Baroque performance practice with keyboardist David Schrader.”
7/25/06 – The LaCrosse Tribune ran an interesting story noting that native son, composer and violinist Arthur Kreutz, would have turned 100 on this date. Kreutz’s compositions included the Paul Bunyan Suite and Dixieland Concerto, both of which were performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Here are some highlights from the story: “He learned violin from his father, Rudolph, who conducted the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and played for several years in the St. Paul Symphony. Arthur Kreutz loved classical and jazz music, touring Europe with a jazz group before studying violin at the Royal Conservatory in Belgium. He also studied violin at the University of Wisconsin and received a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. He twice won the Prix de Roma from the American Academy in Rome for composition, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Kreutz also conducted the New York Philharmonic and had his works performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He wrote three violin concertos, jazz sonatas, ballets, operas, a string quartet and many jazz-oriented works.” Kreutz died of cancer at age 84 in 1991.
7/25/06 – The New York Sun favorably reviewed Leila Josefowicz’s new recording of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1, recorded with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sakari Oramo. “This is intelligent, well-judged music-making. Chances are, you would not want to trade your Oistrakh recordings for this one. Nor would you want to trade the young — indeed, teenage — Maxim Vengerov, with Mstislav Rostropovich on the podium. But there is always room for good Shostakovich First recordings, and Ms. Josefowicz and her partners have made one. Normally, the First Concerto is paired with either Prokofiev's First or Shostakovich's violin sonata. Ms. Josefowicz plays the latter, with the pianist John Novacek. This performance is sensitive, knowing, and generally worthy.”
7/23/06 - Violinist Alvaro deGranda played his final concert as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra, reported the Akron Beacon Journal. He is one of a small group of players remaining in the orchestra to have been appointed by legendary former music director George Szell. “DeGranda beamed as he walked up front for a final bow in front of the orchestra he joined in 1966 and served as assistant concertmaster for 31 years of his tenure.”
7/23/06 – At this same concert, the Akron Beacon Journal raved about William Preucil’s concertmaster solos in Scheherazade, referring to them as the high point of the evening and “caressingly lovely.” German cellist Alban Gerhardt received a positive review in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, though the reviewer clearly found Preucil’s work more noteworthy.
7/11/06 – UCLA’s Daily Bruin has reported that James Bruno, a UCLA education professor, has died of cancer at 65. In the obituary, a close friend noted, "In addition to whipping up great Italian food from scratch, "he was a Stradivarius-inspired violin-maker and violinist, a diver, an East Coast swing dancer, a furniture maker, a model train hobbyist, a softball player, a pianist, a palm reader and a huge fan of Frank Sinatra, Mickey Mantle and the Yankees."
7/19/06 – According to the New York Times, "the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra says it expects to report a six-figure deficit for last season and is dipping significantly into its endowment to cover costs." The orchestra’s current situation is, of course, related to its purchase, from philanthropist Herbert Axelrod, of 30 rare stringed instruments whose value came into question: "Paying off the debt for the instruments, which stands at about $12 million, has prevented the orchestra from dealing with an accumulated operating deficit of $4.2 million, [Board President Stephen Sichak] said. The endowment draw and some intricate financial restructuring will reduce the debt payments to $1.1 million a year, from $1.8 million, the orchestra said." Sichak comments: "We thought about selling the instruments ... The down side is, if we sell the instruments, we'd potentially lose the right to play them. We do not have plans to sell the instruments."
7/19/06 – A musical merger might be finalized soon in Allentown, Pa., reports the Allentown Morning Call. "The Allentown Symphony Orchestra and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra came one step closer to a merger Tuesday when the board of directors of the chamber orchestra 'overwhelmingly' approved a proposal that laid out a mission statement, leadership and a performance schedule for a combined organization, a board official said ... The chamber orchestra voted on a proposal that was revised on Monday after the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra voted to withdraw from talks after about five months. The president of the Sinfonia ... said the group feared getting ‘swallowed up' by the two larger orchestras. “The proposal calls for the chamber orchestra to be dissolved into the Allentown Symphony Association, which would be headed by a board made up of members from both organizations. A new organization would have 'Lehigh Valley' in its name." Jim Bartholomew, board president of the chamber orchestra, comments: "It makes sense to join forces to widen our audience and donor base and to have a more focused support of classical music in the community."
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