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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 56

August 24, 2006 at 3:27 AM

8/23/06 - BBC reports that strict security measures at UK airports are having a 'devastating impact' on musicians, according to the [British] Musicians' Union. “It says its members 'are reporting significant lost earnings' because they are unable to take their instruments on board aircraft as hand luggage ... But the Department for Transport says the security regulations will 'be in place for as long as they need to be.' Under the rules, passengers are allowed one item of cabin baggage, which must be no larger than a laptop bag." The article notes that "several musicians face potential legal action for breaking contracts to perform abroad,” says the assistant general secretary of the Musicians' Union.
“US violin duo Marc Ramirez and Olivia Hajioff, who play together as Marcolivia, contacted the BBC to tell how they had been affected by the restrictions. "We have been in Europe this summer performing at various music festivals," wrote Hajioff. "We are planning to return to the States on 27 August, but have been informed by the airline and by the Department for Transport that we will not be able to take our violins with us into the cabin.
"Our violins are extremely valuable and delicate," she continued. "There is no way that we, or any other serious musician, could consider putting them in the hold. "This means that we would have to return home without our instruments indefinitely."

8/22/06 - Violinist Igor Oistrakh has been forced to resign from the jury of the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis Seventh Quadrennial Competition due to a combination of visa complications and health issues. This will also affect his participation as a soloist in the Gala Opening of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on September 10 and his lecture on the International Forum on Violins on September 6.

Mr. Oistrakh had previously served on the IVCI Jury representing Russia in 1994 and 1998.

Each quadrennial an exhibit accompanies the competition honoring significant musicians in the violin world. This year’s exhibit is devoted to the career of David Oistrakh, Igor’s father.

Competition performance rounds begin on Sunday, September 3. Due to the tight timeframe, IVCI will not replace him. The 2006 Jury consists of Jaime Laredo, Pamela Frank, Cho-Liang Lin and Joel Smirnoff (United States), Kyoko Takezawa (Japan), Rodney Friend (United Kingdom), Pierre Amoyal (France), and Malcolm Lowe (Canada).


8/21/06 - The London Mail on Sunday reports Anne-Sophie Mutter and renowned composer/conductor André Previn, 77, have quietly ended their four-year marriage.

Sources quoted in the reports indicated that the reason the marriage ran into trouble was that the aging Previn, 77, was “unable to keep up with the extremely busy and peripatetic schedule that the 43-year-old Mutter, as one of the most in-demand instrumental soloists on the scene, maintains. While Previn just completed a term as music director of the Oslo Philharmonic and maintains relationships with the London Symphony and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, he travels far less than he once did and reportedly now concentrates on composing.”

“When Previn and Mutter married in 2002, the match was widely publicized as being creative as well as romantic. He wrote several works for her, including a violin concerto which they toured widely together and whose DG recording won a Grammy Award in 2005.”

Musician News

Elisa Barston has been named the Seattle Symphony’s new principal second violin. She served as a guest principal second violinist in the orchestra during the 2005-06 season, and had previously been associate concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Barston has also served as a section first violinist in the Cleveland Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony.

American conductor Joseph Bousso has been appointed coach and conductor at Germany's Hamburg State Opera House. Bousso holds a master's degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School and a bachelor's in orchestral conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music.

Christof Perick has extended his contract as music director of the Charlotte (N.C.) Symphony Orchestra through the 2008-09 season.

8/28/06 – Violinist Vincent Skowronski wrote to let me know that WFIU-FM in Bloomington will play a selection from his recording Skowronski Plays! The Szymanowksi Romance will air at approximately 7:07 p.m. Eastern and can be heard online at the station's website,

8/24/06 – According to, violinist Rachel Barton Pine will make her New York City Baroque violin debut with her period music group, Trio Settecento. It will be her only New York appearance this season. “When performing as a ‘conventional’ violinist, Barton Pine plays a modernized 1742 Guarneri known as the ‘ex-Soldat’; with the Trio Settecento she plays an unaltered 1770 instrument by Nicola Gagliano.

Orchestra News

8/23/06 – The Minnesota Orchestra opens its five-city tour of European festivals today in Amsterdam. The tour will conclude 8/31 in Helsinki. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, “Minnesota will be the first of three U.S. orchestras playing the 70-concert festival. The other two are Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, both of which have played there previously."

8/23/06 – The Nashville Symphony has tapped National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin as musical adviser for the next three years, reports the Tennessean. In this role he'll help determine the organization's future programming and guest artists, as well as assisting with its music director search.

8/21/06 - An Associated Press report filed Monday profiles Iran's Tehran Symphony Orchestra. “Western music was officially banned in October by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but state-run radio and television still broadcast it ... Still, [Music Director Nader Mashayekhi] sometimes sees a need to tread softly. For instance, if the orchestra does Mahler's song cycle 'Kindertotenlieder,' it would be the version with a baritone, not a mezzo-soprano. 'Certain people might not like a woman singing in front of an audience including men,' he said. The orchestra is funded by Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, although the musicians have been earning as little as the equivalent of $100 per month."

8/20/06 - The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that the estates of Wilda Gene Marcus and Amy Morrill, both of Fort Wayne, bequeathed the Fort Wayne Philharmonic a total of $2.3 million. “The money, which will be divided evenly between the philharmonic's endowment and operating funds, will allow the financially strapped orchestra to show a net profit for the 2005-06 season. Marcus, a former music teacher, willed the orchestra $1.5 million, to be paid during the next 20 years. Morrill's gift was given in a lump sum of $800,000 …Marcus's gift will enable the orchestra to add piano to the Freimann Series concerts, which take place at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. For the past several years, the orchestra was unable to afford moving a piano to and from the museum."

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on August 24, 2006 at 7:40 AM
I had such a high regard for Dana Reeve. The problem isn't that Previn can't keep pace. What a perverse way of seeing it.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on August 24, 2006 at 2:13 PM
Wow! Anne-Sophie and Andre broke up?! Argh, I feel like such a celebrity-gossiper....
From Maura Gerety
Posted on August 24, 2006 at 2:13 PM
Uh-oh...and GET WELL SOON Igor Oistrakh!!

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