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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 65

September 25, 2006 at 1:09 AM

9/21/06 – The Canada Council for the Arts, which holds auditions for its Musical Instrument Bank every three years, has announced its newest crop of winners. For the second consecutive time, Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, a 28-year-old violinist raised in Mississauga, Ont., has won first prize in the violin competition. Once again, she has chosen the 1729 ex-Heath Guarneri del Gesu violin.

"[This violin] became my best friend, my voice, my method of expression," Hou said of the instrument, which she has been performing and recording with for the last three years. Her debut CD, Fire & Ice, with the Sibelius Violin Concerto and concert works by Sarasate, features the instrument and she has two recordings to be released in the coming year.

Jessica Linnebach, an Edmonton native now playing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, won second place in the violin competition and was awarded the loan of the 1700 Taft Stradivari violin. Another Edmonton violinist, Judy Kang, who now lives in New York, won the loan of the 1689 Baumgartner Stradivari violin.

The musical instrument bank is a collection of rare and fine stringed instruments and bows, including Stradavarius, Montagnana and Pressenda violins. The instruments are valued at more than $18 million, and musicians must audition for the privilege of using one. The instruments have been donated or loaned to the Canada Council for the Arts by wealthy philanthropists and music lovers. Other winning violin players were:

Caroline Chéhadé, a Montrealer who now lives in New York
Marc Djokic, Halifax
Kerry DuWors, Manitoba
Pascale Giguère, Quebec City
Véronique Mathieu, Quebec City
Jean-Sébastien Roy, Montreal


10/15/06 – The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is sponsoring a benefit conert in support of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Habitat for Humanity Musicians' Village.

Faculty participants include violinists Federico Agostini, Mark Kaplan, Alexander Kerr and Jaime Laredo; violists Atar Arad and Yuval Gotlibovich; and cellists Emilio Colon and Sharon Robinson. International prize-winning student violinist Frederieke Saeijs will also perform.

Other Musician News

9/28/06 – Violinist Lorenza Borrani will open the Albany Symphony’s season with portions of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and the American premiere of Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Francesco Antonioni.

9/24/06 – The Vermeer String Quartet is playing in Bloomington, Ind. today as part of their final tour. Pianist Edmund Battersby will join the Fab Four.

9/22/06 – According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Andrés Cárdenes has "signed a five-year contract with the PSO. Retro-dated to Sept. 1, it extends through Aug. 31, 2011. Terms have not been disclosed, but the new contract calls for him to conduct a subscription concert each season, beginning in the 2007-08 season." Cárdenes, says, "I am not going to be at the top of my game forever. I would like to leave when I am in good shape. In the next few years there will be other issues to consider, such as how long I want to be an orchestral player. A lot of concertmasters basically died in their chairs, and I don't plan to."

9/22/06 – According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Boyd Tinsley, violinist with the Dave Matthews Band, recently donated $75,000 to the city schools to finance private music lessons, academic tutoring and equipment for tennis. “His charitable fund allows 42 underprivileged Charlottesville musicians to take private lessons and provides one-on-one tutoring for disadvantaged city students.”

9/21/06 – Midori opened the Columbus Symphony season with a performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. The Columbus Dispatch ponders, “When does an artist's interpretation move from individualistic to quirky? The question came to mind as the violinist's understated, sotto voce approach — an elegant way in which to begin this famous piece — began to extend into a total interpretation. After all, people do want to hear the violinist play the violin. Midori did open up in the last movement, when the music more easily lets the soloist take the driver's seat. That's a good place for an artist of Midori's talent and stature to be.”

9/21/06 - This week, the Toronto Star noted that violinist Jeanne Lamon, leader of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, is celebrating a quarter century with the group. “Lamon leads from the concertmaster's chair, sitting with the violins. She guides her 18-plus players with head and violin gestures. …Few people know that Tafelmusik is the only period-performance ensemble in the world to offer its musicians a contract. ‘We can actually offer a living wage’, says Lamon, proudly…. She still owns a modern violin, but she only uses it when she is directing modern orchestras. One of her projects earlier this year was to direct the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal in baroque-era music. She still owns a modern violin, but she only uses it when she is directing modern orchestras.”

9/15/06 – The Boston Globe ran an obituary for Mrs. Miriam (Soolich) Yeo, a violinist who died at her home. She was 91. “Mrs. Yeo was born in Salem [Mass.] and graduated from Haverhill High School. After graduating, she and her sister, Edna, moved to Washington. Mrs. Yeo did secretarial work and was a typist for the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. She typed out some of the speeches the president would read for his fireside chats. During the late 1940s, Mrs. Yeo returned to Massachusetts and pursued her passion for classical violin, one she had since a child. An accomplished violinist in the Haverhill area, she performed in local orchestras, as well as in a trio with her sisters, Esther and Edna.”

9/10/06 – The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Janee Gilbert Munroe, 83, of Wynnewood, a music teacher and violist who played with orchestras including the National Symphony [Orchestra] in Washington, died of complications from a heart condition in Warren, Maine. Munroe studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; "After her 1945 graduation, she joined an all-female orchestra that traveled to Europe during World War II to entertain the troops." Munroe and her husband, cellist Lorne Munroe, worked together as musicians for the NSO. "Over the next several years, Mrs. Munroe's career on stage was interrupted by motherhood. She eventually had 10 boys and one girl. The family settled in the area in the early 1950s when Lorne Munroe became the principal cellist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and, later, the New York Philharmonic ... Mrs. Munroe earned a psychology degree from Saint Joseph's University. She also taught at the Juilliard School in New York, played with her husband in the Gofriller Piano Quartet, and toured India for one season as the substitute violist with the New York Philharmonic."

Orchestra News

9/21/06 - Lyric Opera of Chicago has a new contract with its orchestra musicians, and like several other ensembles around the country, the new deal takes advantage of new union rules to cut labor costs for recording and online distribution. Lyric officials also hope that the new contract will mean a return to weekly radio broadcasts for the company, which has been off the air since 2002, reports the Chicago Tribune.

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