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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 51

August 6, 2006 at 4:16 PM

8/3/06 – The BBC is reporting that Beethoven's own violin has been used in a recording for the first time, according to the Beethoven Foundation. German violinist Daniel Sepec played the pedigreed fiddle on a CD of the composer's violin and piano sonatas. “The instrument, which is engraved with Beethoven's insignia, was in his family's possession until the early 19th Century. Beethoven died in 1827. The violin ended up in the US and was returned to the Beethoven Foundation in 1995 for a symbolic sum. It was restored in 1848, and again when acquired by the Foundation. The new CD comes with a 31-page booklet describing the history of the instrument.”

8/3/06 – As expected, the violin discovered in a community museum in British Columbia that was thought possibly to be a Stradivarius has turned out to be a fake, reports CBC. The violin has been part of a collection at the New Westminster Museum and Archives since the 1980s. The curator recently discovered that the instrument had a Strad label inside, leading him to think it may be a genuine article. But that turned out not to be the case. Richmond, British Columbia-based violin-maker and Stradivari expert Michael Altshuler confirmed that the violin was one of thousands of fakes made after Antonio Stradivari died in 1737.

Musician News

9/11/06 - The Kronos Quartet will premiere Awakening, a "musical meditation" on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. The work, by frequent Kronos collaborator Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, will headline a concert to be held in San Francisco, reports San Francisco Classical Voice. "Through a wealth of musical perspectives, we hope to create equilibrium in the midst of imbalance, a special covering on an open wound," says Kronos founder and first violinist David Harrington.

8/6-8/7/06 – Violinist Gidon Kremer and his chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica will perform all of Mozart's Violin Concertos at the Mostly Mozart Festival.

8/4-5/06 – Also at Mostly Mozart, violinist Sergey Khachatryan was to have made his New York debut plying the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Mostly Mozart Orchestra. Khachatryan won the 2005 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels.

8/4/06 – The Guardian (UK) is reporting that three intrepid cellists will conclude a 12 day marathon that has seen them play recitals, usually on the roofs, at all 42 Anglican cathedrals in England. “They have battled up medieval staircases in Gloucester, avoided pigeon droppings at Leicester, [and] gusts of wind off the Mersey at Liverpool Cathedral yesterday.” Jeremy Dawson, a statistician at Aston University, and teachers James Rees and Clare Wallace are members of Sheffield Cathedral's choir. “For the last two weeks, dragging their instruments around the cathedrals, they have been seeking to raise £5,000 for the charities Shelter and Aspire, which helps those with spinal injuries. They started their odyssey on Monday last week at Truro Cathedral and they finish with Durham, Newcastle and Carlisle today, by which time they expect to have travelled about 2,000 miles.”

7/30-31/06 – Last weekend at Tanglewood was quite the violin feast. First, Gil Shaham played “an incandescent performance” of the Beethoven Violin Concerto on Saturday night. Then, on Sunday, Midori played Bruch's Violin Concert No.1.

7/30/06 - Violinist Tai Murray made her Cincinnati Symphony debut. “Murray, 24, an artist diploma student at New York's Juilliard School and winner of the inaugural (1998) Sphinx Competition for black and Latino string players, made an extraordinary impression in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor. It was a hard act at Riverbend, considering the noisy river traffic, but she did it with supreme grace and self assurance,” opines the Cincinnati Post.

Conductor’s Roundup

The Fairfax (Va.) Symphony Orchestra, has promoted Glenn S. Quader from resident conductor to assistant conductor, beginning next season. He will continue to oversee the orchestra's education and outreach programs. Quader has stepped down as music director of the Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra, but continues as music director of Virginia's Piedmont Regional Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Frederick (Md.) Symphony Orchestra.

Ariel Rudiakov, artistic director of the Manchester (Vt.) Music Festival and conductor of the Manchester Chamber Orchestra, has been named to an additional post as music director/conductor of the Danbury (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra. Rudiakov is on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music's Pre-College Division, the Michael Rudiakov Music Academy, and the Manchester Music Festival. A violist, he is a founding member of the New York Piano Quartet and the String Orchestra of New York City (in which context I interviewed him for Strings Magazine several years ago).

The Mobile Symphony has announced a three-year renewal of Scott Speck’s contract as music director; he has led the orchestra since 2000. Speck continues as music director of Michigan's West Shore Symphony and of the Washington Ballet.

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra has announced a three-year extension of David Amado’s contract as music director.

Alexander Platt, music director of the Waukesha (Wis.) Symphony Orchestra since 1998, has renewed his contract for three years, through the 2008-09 season.

Pennsylvania's Allentown Symphony has announced a three-year extension of Music Director Diane Wittry’s contract.

Other Music News

8/3/06 - The New York Times reported a new twist in the artist-management buy-out drama. "IMG Artists' effort to buy the classical music division of International Creative Management, the Los Angeles-based talent agency, has fallen apart, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations. The deal was nearly complete ... when I.C.M. Artists, a small part of its parent group, was approached by another suitor and tried to renegotiate the price, said a person involved at a high level in the talks." The paper notes that "the sources spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the fragility of the deal and confidentiality agreements. IMG Artists officials did not return phone calls, and I.C.M. declined to comment except to say, 'We continue to pursue a number of strategic options as it relates to I.C.M. Artists.' " Between the two of them, these agencies manage the careers of the vast majority of well-known string players.

8/1/06 - Tuesday's Boston Herald reports that "Country music will do-si-do up the FM dial to 102.5, while classical music would get new life at 99.5 FM under a deal between Braintree-based radio station operator Greater Media and Nassau Broadcasting of Princeton, N.J." Greater Media, which had already unveiled plans to buy classical station WCRB-FM (102.5), plans to move its country programming to that stronger signal and change the call letters to the WKLB. Under a station swap, "Nassau will acquire cash and Greater Media's 99.5 FM frequency and will run classical music on that station." Greater Media will acquire Nassau's Burlington, N.J.-based 97.5 FM signal, currently a classic rock format, "though the future format is undetermined."

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