Violinist Josh Weilerstein, a junior at New England Conservatory, shared some exciting news with me:
I love your blogs! Could you put a mention about the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela's U.S. tour in your next post? You've mentioned it before, but tomorrow the orchestra is heading to L.A, then to San Francisco, Boston and New York. I was invited to play with the orchestra on the tour and I am being constantly inspired every day by them. I'm keeping a blog of my own at MySpace. I'd love for the orchestra to get as much exposure as possible on this tour. Thanks so much!”
Congrats on the tour, Josh, but please do consider blogging right here on V.com!
I’m happy to spread the word about Dudamel, but I don’t think he is having any problem garnering press and public attention right now. For example, the New York Times Sunday magazine is not exactly low-profile…
10/27/07 – “Gustavo Dudamel, now 26, is the most-talked-about young musician in the world. Sir Simon Rattle, the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, has called him 'the most astonishingly gifted conductor I have ever come across.' His upbringing in Venezuela's El Sistema music education program and rapid rise through the ranks of the conducting world are already legend within the music business. "As an international celebrity whose career was incubated by the sistema, Dudamel is uniquely able to champion its expansion at home and promote its adoption abroad."
11/1/07 – A memorial concert is being held in Madison, Wisc. to honor the late violinist Vartan Manoogian, who died July 12. The Wisconsin State Journal notes: “Born in Baghdad of Armenian parents, he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory at age 16 and earned his masters at the Juilliard School before developing a broad reputation in Europe, in part as the concertmaster of L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. At one point in his career, he was sent by the U.S. State Department on a performance tour of nine South American countries.” Violinist Manuel Guillen will be the featured soloist in the world premiere of Concierto Americano, written by renowned Spanish composer Zulema de la Cruz. “Guillen, who performs on a 1767 T. Carcassi violin, studied with Manoogian at UW-Madison and today is concertmaster/conductor of Camerata of Madrid and violin professor at Madrid's Royal Superior Conservatory of Music.”
10/29/07 – According to the Associated Press, Joshua Bell performed the world premiere of a highly anticipated violin concerto at Carnegie Hall. Ordinarily, this might not be an event worthy of national attention, but in this case, the composer was 15-year-old Jay Greenberg, whose 5th symphony was recorded last year by the London Symphony, and who has been compared to Mozart and Mendelssohn. "Greenberg skilfully leads the listener through a gamut of emotions with touches of 21st-century tonality, excitement and lyricism. It's a compelling addition to the genre."
10/29/07 – According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, “A Bloomfield violin teacher has been charged with repeatedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old student while she was taking lessons in his home, authorities said today. Rafael Frost, 66, was arrested Friday in his Watchung Avenue home by detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and Bloomfield police. He was accused of assaulting the girl on three occasions between September and October.”
10/28/07 – Violinist Chee-Yun made her recital debut as an artist-in-residence at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts. The Dallas Morning News opined: “Her virtuosity and passion should certainly be an inspiration to the students she'll be teaching. But her recital did raise some questions. With fortissimos that nearly hurt the ears, she seemed to be playing for a hall four times the size of this sonically lively 480-seater.” The review also mentioned a student string quartet that included Andrew Sords and Pablo Hurtado.
10/29/07 – Reuters ran an update on the Iraqi National Symphony, which was celebrated in the days after the US-led invasion as a hallmark of Iraqi culture, and later as a symbol of bravery in the face of the insurgency. "Before the U.S.-led invasion, the INSO would advertise concerts in the media, especially on television. Now this happens by word of mouth, with organizers phoning a list of supporters or putting up posters in music colleges... No time is given for the event because both the musicians and the guests have to navigate police and army checkpoints and blocked roads."
10/29/07 – Imagine this: the Brevard Symphony is giving fifth graders a crack at composing music—to be performed by them, not less. Composer Gregory Smith is working with four schools' worth of students to develop a jointly composed piece that will be played by the Brevard Symphony next February, reports Florida Today.
10/28/07 – The Boston Globe ran a look at the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, ten years on. "Ten years and 42 world premieres later, BMOP is emerging as the national leader among orchestras of its ilk... Its performances draw the city's youngest concert crowds by far, with their combination of Rose's savvy programming, the orchestra's incisive and stylish playing, and a general vibe that somehow weds a breezy coolness with a healthy dose of chaos."
10/27/07 – Given the New York Philharmonic’s stunning announcement that they might visit North Korea, it’s predictable that controversy has followed. Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal finds it unconscionable: "What would you have thought if Franklin Roosevelt had encouraged the Philharmonic to accept an official invitation to play in Berlin in the spring of 1939? Do you think such a concert would have softened the hearts of the Nazis, any more than Jesse Owens's victories in the 1936 Olympics changed their minds about racial equality? Or inspired the German people to rise up and revolt against Adolf Hilter? Or saved a single Jewish life?"
10/27/07 – The Pittsburgh Symphony finds itself without an artistic adviser, one year early, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Andrew Davis is cutting out early. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has agreed to let its artistic adviser out of the final season of his three-year contract, leaving five weekends of the current season on the table... Davis said in a statement that he has enjoyed his time here and hopes to find other dates to return as a guest conductor."
10/27/07 – Given its reputation as the world’s best orchestra, it’s inevitable that orchestra buffs closely scrutinize every move the Berlin Philharmonic makes. Simon Rattle, the Phil's chief conductor for the past five years, is all about modernization, according to EUX.TV (The Europe Channel). "What Rattle and the philharmonic are hoping to do is to build an orchestra of the future. But to achieve this, he also believes the Philharmonic has to find a balance between exploring new music and coming to terms with its musical past."
10/21/07 – Two young Brazilian men, raised in poverty, taught themselves to play violin in the hope of seeking better opportunities. According to the Des Moines Register, the twin brothers have found a new life in Iowa, where they have been welcomed into the University of Northern Iowa’s music school. While playing at the World Food Prize’s award ceremony, their translator, who is from Iowa, made a point of playing an NPR story about Walter and Wagner Caldas for University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen, who was impressed by their musical talent and gregarious personalities.
“UNI School of Music Director John Vallentine listened to an audition tape and seconded Allen's judgment. ‘They're both excellent musicians’, he said.” UNI has a program to bring in foreign students, but the Caldases will be the first Brazilian students accepted into UNI's School of Music.
Diana Cohen has been named concertmaster of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. She succeeds Barry Ross, who retired in 2004 following a 32-year tenure. Cohen served as concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2006, and has performed recently with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and as a regular substitute with the New York Philharmonic. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Gared Crawford has been appointed acting concertmaster of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, Mae Lin has been named acting associate concertmaster. Crawford and Lin will also serve with the new acting principal violist and cellist, Craig Bate and Kevin Bate, in the orchestra’s Eykamp String Quartet.
National Arts Centre Orchestra violinist Jessica Linnebach has been named to the Richard Li Young Artist Chair for the 2007-08 season. A native of Edmonton, she was a member of the NAC’s Young Artists Programme in 1999 and 2000, returning the following year as a mentor. She now tours extensively as a member of the Zukerman Chamber Players. Linnebach plays the 1700 Taft Stradivari violin, on loan through the Canada Council’s Musical Instrument Bank 2006 National Competition.
10/26/07 – The Associated Press ran a brief item that an unnamed Lancaster, Pa., boy was walking to school holding his violin case when a vehicle sped through a crosswalk and hit him. “Witnesses said the case took most of the impact, and officer Mark Worthing said the boy suffered only cuts and bruises after the accident. Police said the car raced around traffic stopped by a crossing guard, hit the boy, and then sped away at speeds up to 70 mph.”
10/26/07 – The Times of London recently checked in with violinist Nigel Kennedy: “His only real bugbear is that he doesn’t get to play in England enough. This is largely because of a longstanding complaint that British concert promoters won’t provide adequate rehearsal time. ‘It’s my choice to want to rehearse properly. If you give a 40 to 50-minute piece only one hour of rehearsal, then that’s just amateur’.”
10/26/07 – Violinist Sarah Chang, currently touring with the English Chamber Orchestra, received a blistering review from the Glasgow Herald for her performance of The Four Seasons: “She hacked and sawed her way through Vivaldi's bullet-proof (or so we thought) set of violin concertos with the ugliest, most heavy-handed, aggressively over-forced violin playing it has been my misfortune to hear.” The reviewer, however, did commend ECO concertmaster Stephanie Gonley.
10/25/07 – Violinist Augustin Hadelich, well-known to V.com readers as the winner of the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, performed last weekend in Boise, Idaho, with the Boise Philharmonic, reports
The Arbiter. “Hadelich’s playing stunned the audience. He received an extended standing ovation at intermission because he rewarded the appreciative crowd with an impromptu Bach solo.”
10/24/07 – According to the Chicago Tribune, violinist Mary Elizabeth Leaton of the Elmhurst Symphony has died at the age of 86. “As a founding member of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Mary Elizabeth Leaton played violin with the group for more than 40 years, most of that as assistant concertmaster…But it was in her nature to let others take the spotlight…. Hours before a violin recital in 1961, she fell in her home. Her arm was sore, her daughter said, but she played anyway. The next day the pain forced her to see a doctor and an X-ray revealed a broken arm. ‘That's how disciplined she was. She wasn't gong to let the pain stop her’, her daughter said.”
The Wichita Symphony Orchestra has announced that eight of its programs will air on Radio Kansas this season, beginning January 11 and ending on April 25. The broadcasts, which are heard on Friday evenings at 7 p.m., include interviews with Music Director Andrew Sewell and guest artists.
10/23/07 - PlaybillArts.com reports that Russia’s St. Petersburg Philharmonic visits the U.S. every few years, and tonight at the Kennedy Center, the orchestra begins a coast-to-coast, 20-city tour of the country that ends at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on November 20. Several of the tour performances will include violinist Julia Fischer as soloist in the Beethoven Violin Concerto.
10/23/07 – Musical America reports that the Monte Carlo Philharmonic has named the Russian-American conductor Yakov Kreizberg its next music director, succeeding Marek Janowski. "Kreizberg is music director of the Netherlands Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the Vienna Symphony." He'll take the reins of Monte Carlo in 2009. [Note: Fortunately for me, one of Yakov’s first jobs in the United States was conducting a youth orchestra in which I played ca. 1983. What a gift to the orchestra!]
Violinist Yi-Ting Kuo has been promoted to assistant concertmaster of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has also made a number of section violin hires: Jeannette Jang, Karen Jenks, Igor Kalnin, Xiaojing Pu, Barton Rotberg, Dan Stachyra and Trina Ann Stoneham.
The Harrington String Quartet has a new first violinist and violist this season. Tomas Cotik, who accepted the position with the quartet last summer, came from the New World Symphony in Miami. Tomas is a native of Argentina, is also the new concertmaster of the Amarillo Symphony. Jennifer Snyder Kozoroz is the quartet’s new violist and has also been named principal violist in the Amarillo Symphony. A Milwaukee native, Kozoroz recently spent seven years as assistant principal violist at the Virginia Symphony, and is a graduate of Ohio State University and The Juilliard School. The quartet is in residency at West Texas A&M University, where all of the members teach.
11/3/07 - The Colorado Quartet, quartet in residence at Bard College since fall 2000, offers free all-Beethoven concert at the college. Quartet members are Julie Rosenfeld and Lydia Redding, violins; Marka Gustavsson, viola; and Diane Chaplin, cello. The quartet has won both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award.
10/28/07 – Violinists Albert Wang and Olga Kaler will be guest artists at Music at Trinity at Trinity Episcopal Church in Highland Park, Ill., playing Bach’s Double Concerto and Sarasate’s Navarro. The concert will also feature three winners of Music at Trinity’s 2007 Young Artist Auditions, including violinist Scot Moore. Kaler, the wife of violinist Ilya Kaler, teaches at DePaul University in Chicago. Wang (full disclosure: my brother-in-law) has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestra since 1982 and has taught at many Chicago-area music schools.
10/26/07 – Violinist Philippe Quint will make his French debut with Orchestra de Bayonne with the Sibelius Violin Concerto. He will then launch a month-long tour of South Africa appearing with all the major South African Orchestras in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, as well as in recitals throughout the country.
10/24/07 - The Brodsky Quartet has been appointed as ensemble in residence at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, reports the Glasgow Herald. "The cult string quartet are not only a group with a stellar international reputation. They are one of a handful of string quartets that have come to represent an elite in redefining the nature and function of a string quartet ensemble."
10/20/07 - The first concert in memory of the late violinist Dr. Jaropolk Lassowsky was held at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Lassowsky had been a faculty member there for 30 years. Among the performers was Ukrainian violinist Anton Smirnov.
10/19/07 – According to Donga.com, violinist Kim Su-yeon soloed with the Orchestra Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo at the Opera House of the Seongnam Art Center in Korea in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4. Though Korean by blood, Kim was born in Germany and lives there still.
10/11/07 - Three violists have joined the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra: Stefanie Fong, Willine Thoe and Rose Wollman.
10/24/07 – In a surprise move, Pyongyang has given permission for North Korea's state orchestra to mount a tour of the UK in early 2008. The orchestra's connection to Britain is the opera singer Suzannah Clarke, who has performed in North Korea to great acclaim, reports The Times of London.
10/17/07 - The Glasgow Herald recently profiled the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, pondering why they’re not more widely known. "Let's be brutally frank: when was the last time you had to queue at the box office, far less round the block, to get a ticket for an SCO concert? Indeed, when was the last time you overheard or participated in one of those animated pub or street conversations where folk raved about the world-class orchestra that played weekly on their doorstep?"
10/19/07 – Now that violinist David Juritz has completed his round-the-world busking sojourn, guess which city proved to be the most lucrative: his home base of London, ironically, reports the
Times of London. Juritz wrapped up his odyssey in New York late last week and should be heading home for London from New York any day now. Since leaving home June 9, his tally for charity stands at £30,000 — including £7,000 dropped into his violin case.
10/28/07 – PlaybillArts.com reports that violinist Joshua Bell will perform the world premiere of 16-year-old Jay Greenberg's Violin Concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in Carnegie Hall.
10/19/07 – The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) reports that "Japanese violinist Midori has selected Dawson, Minn., population 1,500, and Fergus Falls as two of four rural areas in America in which she will perform. Next week's concerts are part of a program to promote classical music in areas that don't often get to hear it." The Dawson-Boyd Arts Association had been courting Midori for two years. Its application, and one from Fergus Falls, was selected from 15 others submitted, said Kelly Gehrs, director of Partners in Performance. ... To land the concerts, communities must be at least 100 miles from a major cultural center, demonstrate support for classical music and have a plan on how to deal with concert proceeds." Dawson proceeds will help bolster the string program in Dawson-Boyd schools.
10/19/07 – The Seattle Times ran the obituary of Norma Durst, a violist with the Seattle Symphony for nearly half a century. Like so many other violists, she began her musical studies on violin, later switching to viola.
10/18/07 – According to The Scotsman, a violin teacher “targeted a [town councilor] by scratching his BMW and daubing it with goat's cheese and eggs because he backed the creation of a sports pitch near her home. Susan Matasovska, who provides school pupils with violin lessons, was protesting against Midlothian Council's decision to provide a £420,000 synthetic football pitch in a Penicuik park.”
10/17/07 - According to PlaybillArts.com, Brian Boychuk, a violinist with Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra, has been signed by Creators Syndicate for U.S. and worldwide syndication for a comic strip, “The Chuckle Bros.” Boychuk and his brother Ron originated the strip "several years ago." The strip makes its official debut on Oct. 22.
10/8/07 – The Telegraph (UK) included a brief but intriguing report about Sue Shortland-Webb, a violinist who stopped her car to help an unconscious stranger. While she administered aid, thieves stole her car, not realizing it contained her £25,000 violin. The instrument was later recovered from a nearby hedge.
According to PlaybillArts.com, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra has instituted a new program called Encore!, in which ticket-holders can hear a concert a second time for free. Concertgoers can exchange used tickets from a concert for tickets to a remaining performance of the same program at the orchestra’s box office.
10/19/07 – The American Symphony Orchestra League is facing a change in leadership. Henry Fogel will step down as president and CEO at the conclusion of his contract. Jesse Rosen, a longtime staffer, is named new president and CEO effective July 1, 2008. Fogel will continue his ambassadorial role to a variety of American orchestras.
10/18/07 – According to the Bostonist, "[Astronaut Stephanie] Wilson, a Pittsfield native preparing for her second trip into space for NASA, is planning to bring a page from Beethoven's 9th Symphony (‘Ode to Joy') onto the space shuttle Discovery later this month. A fan of the [Boston Symphony Orchestra] and its annual Tanglewood summer season, Wilson approached BSO Maestro James Levine about being able to bring something from the symphony with her on her trip into space. Levine and members of the BSO signed a page from the conducting score and handed it over, according to a release from Symphony Hall, so that she would have a keepsake when she and the rest of the Discovery crew launch on October 23."
10/13/07 – The New York Times reports: "New York Philharmonic officials were returning yesterday from an exploratory trip to North Korea with glowing reports of concert possibilities in the capital, Pyongyang, but they faced the potentially difficult task of selling the idea to the players... Orchestra management calls the visit purely musical and apolitical, but Korea experts say a concert in Pyongyang by a major American orchestra would be a publicity coup for North Korea."
Violinist Emil Chudnovsky wrote to let me know he was featured on Performance Today in an excerpt from a performance at the Newport Festival in Rhode Island. “It's the last movement of the Cecile Chaminade trio, a work that - due to the Festival's packed performing schedule - allowed me to rehearse with the cellist and pianist, neither of whom I knew, a grand total of two times.”
10/18/07 – Violinist Joanna Kurkowicz will perform in the U.S. premiere of Svara-Yantra (concerto for violin, tabla and orchestra) by Shirish Korde. Benjamin Zander will lead the Boston Philharmonic. Kurkowicz is the BPO’s concertmaster.
10/17/07 – Dutch violinist André Rieu is midway through a North American tour. Between now and 10/22, he will play in St. Paul, Des Moines, Omaha, Salt Lake City and Denver. In December, he will return for appearances on the West Coast and in the Southwest, along with a couple of dates in Toronto.
10/15/07 – Minnesota Public Radio profiled violinist Lisa Batiashvili in conjunction with her new recording of the Sibelius and Lindberg violin concertos. The Lindberg, a new work, is dedicated to her.
10/15/07 – The Toronto Star reports that Korean violinist Ji-Yoon Park made her Canadian debut in Haydn's Violin Concerto in A Major. She was accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. “The Haydn Concerto was well, if stolidly, played. The cadenzas, which give the violin soloist a chance to show off, lacked élan at Park's hands.”
10/13/07 – Violinist Branden Conway soloed with the McLean (Va.) Symphony—on piano, reports the McLean Connection newspaper. “It turns out that Conway, 20, who won first prize in the 2006 Schlern International Violin Competition, decided that the following summer he would return to enter the competition in another category: the piano competition. Conway went on to win first prize in the 2007 Schlern International Piano Competition.”
10/7/07 – Violinist Philippe Quint, who recently performed at the 20th anniversary celebration of Naxos Records, was quoted in a New York Times article about the record label: “[Quint is] a violinist who made a recording of William Schuman’s Violin Concerto for Naxos in 2000, while still a student at the Juilliard School, and who released his fourth album for the label in September. ‘I was just very happy to have a debut recording. The conditions didn’t matter to me at all. And to be honest, they still don’t matter. In a world where a lot of artists are paying labels to get recordings out, I am fortunate to have a label to record’.” The comment refers to the relatively low fees Naxos pays its performers.
10/6/07 – The Seattle Times recently profiled 13-year-old violinist Marié Rossano before she made her Seattle Symphony debut. Rossano, who played the Saint-Saëns "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" on the orchestra's "Discover Music" series, studies with Seattle Symphony violinist Simon James.
10/5/07 – When violinist Dylana Jenson soloed with the Grand Rapids Symphony, not all went smoothly, reports the Grand Rapids Press: “Barely a minute into the final movement, the performance ground to a halt when violin soloist Dylana Jenson broke a string and swapped instruments with Grand Rapids Symphony concertmaster James Crawford to finish the piece…. The exchange of violins -- uncommon but not entirely unfamiliar -- did not go smoothly, and Lockington halted the performance. Once it got going, Jenson carried on valiantly in the devil-may-care sort of finale. With an unfamiliar fiddle -- imagine trying to operate a high performance race car you've never driven before -- Jenson lost some of her projection. Friday's audience nonetheless gave an enthusiastic standing ovation to a talented artist who played well.”
10/13/07 – The International Herald Tribune reports that the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has renewed the contract of music director Neeme Järvi through 2009.
10/8/07 – The Detroit News reports that Leonard Slatkin's appointment as music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, "all but a certainty since midsummer, ends an unusually long search that began when Neeme Jarvi announced his intention to step down as music director in 2005 after a popular 15-year run."
10/6/07 – The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra approved a new 5-year contract, ending speculation that they could be on the verge of a strike. Orchestra officials have been quoted calling the deal "fair and generous." The old contract, which included an initial wage freeze and minimal raises, expired October 1.
10/13/07 – A scandal is brewing in Manchester, England, where violinists Oliver Morris and Hazel Ross have been threatened with legal action for disturbing the peace in their flat building when they practice. From the Times of London: “The couple insist that they rarely practise at home for more than two hours, and not every day, or in the evenings, but they have fallen foul of an irate upstairs neighbour who has complained to Manchester City Council.
They have now received a formal warning from the council that their behaviour is unacceptable and must stop. Further breaches will lead to a noise abatement order and forcible entry to their flat to seize their violins.”
Noise disputes are fairly common, but this one has clearly been bungled. Note that the article has room to post comments below, as about a dozen people already have.
10/11/07 – The Globe & Mail (Toronto) has offered a handy update on the progress of the amazing busking sojourn of violinist David Juritz (“Round the World and Bach. Six continents on an empty wallet.")
“[Juritz’s target charity] Musequality is raising money for music projects in disadvantaged areas of the world, starting with South Africa and Uganda. The pilot project in Kampala began teaching its first students, mostly AIDS orphans, this month….The busking trip has raised about $50,000 so far - $12,000 of that from donations dropped into the violin case (more than covering his travel expenses). But the budget to run the school in Kampala is $70,000 for the first two years. With less than two weeks to go on the tour, Juritz has his work cut out for him.”
The article notes that his remaining stops are Chicago, Boston, Washington and New York. He returns to London on Oct. 23.
David, if you’re reading and get the chance in Chicago, please e-mail me. I’d love to come see you play and would gladly drop a few bob in your case. Your cause is worthy, your endurance sublime.
10/15/07 - Violinist Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet will lead a master class at Curtis that is free and open to the public. Setzer will hear works by Beethoven and Janacek. His Emerson colleague, cellist David Finckel, will also lead a master class later in the day.
10/14/07 – Teen violinist Mia Laity will perform a solo recital in Scottsdale, according to the Arizona Republic. She will play the same program at a benefit for the New Conservatory of Dallas and is also auditioning for From the Top.
10/13/07 – The Arizona Republic reports that Dimitri Lazarescu, a violinist with the Phoenix Symphony, has purchased The Coffee Buzz, a trendy coffee bar in Ahwatukee, Arizona. His wife and co-owner, Carol, will manage the business, though “from time to time, the 58-year-old virtuoso will stroll through the café with violin and bow in hand. Dimitri, a native of Romania, defected while on tour in Italy in 1980.
10/11/07 – The Hagerstown (MD) Morning Herald recently published a Q&A with Heather Austin Stone, the assistant concertmaster of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Apparently, ‘tis the season for multimedia season openers. Consider:
10/26/07 - Caricaturist Michael Arthur and pop artist André Miripolsky will join the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in a performance called “Your Concert—Your Way: Hear Art. See Music. Live.” As the orchestra plays works including Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, and HK Gruber’s Frankenstein!! (the latter narrated by the composer), the artists will create black-and-white pen sketches (Arthur) and bold color canvases (Miripolsky) projected on a giant screen above the musicians.
10/20/07 - The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra opens its pops season with a hybrid concert called “Cirque de la Symphonie.” The performance, conducted by NMSO Pops Principal Composer Michael Krajewski, will feature acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, and aerial flyers in choreographed movements to such works as Ravel’s Bolero, Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance, and Star Wars and other music by John Williams.
10/14/07 - The California Symphony will open its season with a multimedia version of “The Planets,” reports the Contra Costa Times. “As [music director Barry] Jekowsky leads a performance of Holst's ‘The Planets,' the audience will view a recently developed video suite with corresponding state-of-the-art images. ... Titled ‘Reaching the Outer Limits,' the program features high-definition video from Chicago's Adler Planetarium, footage taken by space probes, animation created by NASA and the European Space Agency, and historical illustrations from the Adler Collection." Bay-area astronomer and author Andrew Frankoi, who narrates on the program, discusses the increasing knowledge we have of the solar system, having come a long way since the early 20th century, when Holst was inspired by more mythological ideas associated with the planets. The video suite was commissioned by the Chicago Sinfonietta, which gave the world premiere in May 2006.
10/13/07 - The New World Symphony, the Florida-based training orchestra, opened its 20th season. Violinist Gil Shaham soloed in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
10/12/07 – According to The Guardian (UK) "Classic FM has struck its biggest live music deal with a series of 25 concerts featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, to be presented by Katie Derham. The GCap Media station has signed a five-year partnership with the Liverpool Philharmonic and will broadcast a series of special programmes featuring the orchestra throughout 2008. The deal represents Classic FM's single biggest investment in live orchestral music."
10/11/07 - The Chamber Orchestra of New York presented its debut concert at Zankel Hall, in New York. The group, established in 2006 in honor of Ottorino Respighi, is “dedicated to presenting the great orchestral repertoire alongside undiscovered or rarely performed gems.” The inaugural program, led by Founder and Music Director Salvatore Di Vittorio, included Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, Respighi’s The Birds, the “Winter” movement from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
10/10/07 - PlaybillArts.com reports that the Cleveland Orchestra is launching its three-week, eleven-concert tour of Europe with performances in Washington and New York. Fresh off of performances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, the orchestra will tour Europe from Oct. 21-28, with stops in Birmingham, Cardiff, Brussels, Luxembourg, Cologne, and Friedrichschafen, Germany, playing works by Mozart, Mahler, Debussy, Pintscher, Ligeti, and Bruckner. "Welser-Möst and the orchestra continue to Vienna for the third of their biennial residencies at the Musikverein, with four concerts from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2. The Clevelanders' performances of the Bruckner Ninth Symphony - programmed with György Ligeti's Lontano on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 - will be recorded for television broadcast and DVD release."
10/11/07 – Pssst…..Happy Birthday to violinist Rachel Barton Pine!
10/10/07 - The Cleveland Orchestra's controversial audition process, which excluded the use of first-round screens intended to protect candidates from bias, is a thing of the past, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Members of the orchestra have agreed to make their auditions more like those of other American orchestras, placing screens in front of auditioning candidates. No change will be made to a provision under which final hiring authority is given solely to the music director.
10/19/07 – Violinist Stephanie Lin will solo with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra at Bard College in an all-Mendelssohn program. Lin is 16 years old.
10/10/07 – Norman Lebrecht’s latest column in La Scena Musicale is about Nigel Kennedy, “an old-fashioned softie who loves nothing better than to bring a glisten to an audience's eyes. He is, by a margin of millions, the biggest selling classical artist on EMI and the only living violinist with global street cred." Kennedy also tells Lebrecht about the wrist injury that sidelined him last year.
10/8/07 - Violinist David Yonan gave a lecture and recital, “The Violin as Art,” at the Nineteenth Century Club of Oak Park, Illinois. Yonan performed on an Amati violin on generous loan from Elizabeth Stein of Machold Rare
9/16/07 – In the “better late than never” category, we are able to share the results of the Lipizer International Violin Competition, held in Gorizia, Italy. The results are:
1st - Wonhyee Bae, S. Korea
2nd - Lea Birringer, Germany
3rd - Rusanda Panfili, Moldavia
4th - Eung Soo Kim, S. Korea
5th - Khrystyna Krekhovetska, Ukraine
6th - James Han Bin Lee, S. Korea
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has received an unexpected $1 million gift from Mercedes Bass, its new board chair. The orchestra will make its Carnegie Hall debut this January, when it presents the world premiere of a new work by Osvaldo Golijov for cello and orchestra, commissioned by Mercedes and Sid Bass.
10/10/07 - The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra has been asked to record the complete symphonic works of Sibelius following on from the success of their Sibelius Festival earlier this year, reports ABC News. “ASO chief executive Rainer Jozeps says it will be the first time an Australian orchestra has recorded all the works.”
10/4/07 – The Vancouver Symphony has rescheduled four performances due to civic strike in that city. A message on the orchestra’s website notes: “Before and during the VSO’s Opening Weekend concerts, the conduct of [union] members on picket lines at the Orpheum [Theatre] resulted in violent and obstructive behaviour – some of which required police action to mitigate – which, together with other conduct of picketers, has led to the VSO being strongly concerned for the safety and welfare of our customers, musicians, administrative staff, and volunteers.”
Other Music News
10/4/07 – According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Curtis Institute of Music is “moving ahead with plans to demolish all or part of several buildings on Locust Street [in Philadelphia] to make way for a 10-story tower and adjoining four-story structure housing an orchestral rehearsal hall, studios, cafeteria, and dorms for 88 students." But there are historic preservation concerns that could stand in the way of the expansion.
10/3/07 – It’s official: young violinist Julia Fischer has been named the Classic FM Gramophone Artist of the Year 2007, reports PlaybillArts.com. In online voting co-sponsored by classical radio stations in 13 countries, the 24-year-old native of Munich triumphed over such renowned artists as cellist Steven Isserlis, violinist Vadim Repin, conductors Valery Gergiev and Daniel Barenboim, and opera stars Natalie Dessay and Bryn Terfel. Eminent maestro Claudio Abbado came in second in the vote totals.
String winners were otherwise sparse this year, but young conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, won the second annual WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award, presented by the magazine and New York radio station 96.3 WQXR-FM. The citation states that Dudamel and the Bolívar Youth Orchestra "were chosen for their outstanding contribution to the world of classical music and the example they give of what music can do to transform people's lives."
And in the chamber music category, the Pavel Haas Quartet won for its Supraphon release of Janácek String Quartets.
Violinist Hannah Cho has been appointed assistant concertmaster of the Southwest Florida Symphony. Additionally, Danut Muresan is the new principal second violin, Jean Phelan the new assistant principal viola and Susannah Kelly the new assistant principal cello.
David Waldman has been named the fourth chair first violin the Colorado Symphony Orchestra for 2007-08, while Tena White has received a one-year section violin appointment.
Violist Gillian Rogell, who heads the chamber music faculty in the New England Conservatory's School of Continuing Education, has released a DVD, At the Heart of Chamber Music, that uses footage of NEC's Jupiter Quartet and Paul Katz of the NEC College faculty in coachings and rehearsals. Rogell says the DVD "was conceived as a way to help young professional string players become good chamber music coaches."
10/8/07 – Violinist Daniel Hope is releasing his Deutsche Grammophon recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. The Guardian (UK) ran an insightful interview with Hope in which the violinist recounts his first exposure to this concerto: “There he was, a precocious eight-year-old, frustrated with his teachers - who for a year had restricted him to ‘learning’ a single four-minute-long Bach phrase. So one day he smuggled a copy of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto into the toilet, locked the door, and began playing.”
10/4/07 – Violinist Kyoko Takezawa performed the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Seattle Symphony.
10/3/07 – The New York Times notes that "music education links the teacher who once was the pupil to the pupil who will one day be the teacher," adding that programming at Carnegie Hall will explore this theme throughout the season. “The Yale School of Music illustrated this circular cause and effect with two of its quartet ensembles. The Tokyo String Quartet and the Alianza Quartet, separately and together, played music by Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn at Zankel Hall. The Tokyo has been functioning for almost 40 years and has been in residence at Yale since 1976. The Alianza musicians have learned from the Tokyo players; they are still at Yale, waiting for the time when they will be doing for younger musicians what Yale is doing for them now. The matching of talent makes or breaks a new string quartet, and the young Alianza players seem on an equal level. They have evidently worked scrupulously on blending and balance, and as befits their time of life, they boil over with an edge-of-the-seat eagerness."
10/3/07 – The Bakersfield Californian turned the spotlight on Bakersfield Symphony violinists Rebecca Brooks and Jean Dodson: “In 1964, conductor Edouard Hurlimann paired new violinist Rebecca Brooks with two-year veteran Jean Dodson on the first stand. Dodson would turn the page for Brooks. She's still doing it. For the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, violinists Brooks, 71, and Dodson, 69, have shared the same music stand for 43 years and have no intention of relinquishing their bows any time soon.”
9/26/07 – The University of Southern California has announced the death of eminent violin professor Eudice Shapiro, a mainstay of Los Angeles classical music for decades. “Shapiro was born in 1914 in New York. She began her solo career with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra when she was 12, and she later studied at the Curis Institute with acclaimed violinist Efrem Zimbalist. Shapiro originally played a Stradivarius violin but later preferred to play a classical Peter Guarnarius violin. Between 1941 and 1966, she worked as a concertmaster for numerous Hollywood studios, including Paramount.” She joined USC in 1956 and continued teaching until last spring. The Thornton School of Music and her family have created Eudice Shapiro Endowed Violin Scholarship, which is accepting donations.
10/2/07 – The Utah Symphony made the front page of the Emery County Progress: "The Utah Symphony came to Emery County to share their love and concern with county residents. In the wake of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster symphony members wondered what they could do to help. Symphony director Keith Lockhart said they decided to do what they do best and that is to make music. So, with the help of many volunteers a concert was put together for the communities here in the county." The program included music by Bach, Copland, Elgar, and the spirituals "Steal Away/Deep River" with Renese King as arranger and featured soloist. Price (UT) Mayor Joe Picollo called the concert "a beautiful way to help heal."
10/2/07 - Musicians of the Pacific Symphony have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new five-year contract, reports the Orange County Register. The outcome of the ratification vote wasn't really in doubt, since the contract will boost the musicians' pay a whopping 41 percent.
10/2/07 – The Lyric Opera of Chicago prepares to bid farewell to conductor Bruno Bartoletti, who is leading his last performances at Civic Opera House. Following the current run of Verdi's La traviata, which opened the company's 2007-08 season last weekend, he will bid his Chicago colleagues a final farewell. Bartoletti made his U.S. debut at Lyric Opera in 1956, conducting Verdi's Il trovatore. In 1964 he became the company's so-artistic director; from 1975 to 1999 he was sole artistic director and has since served as artistic director emeritus. When he departs Chicago next month, he will have conducted 592 performances of 55 operas there.
10/1/07 - Donald Runnicles, currently music director of San Francisco Opera, has been appointed chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, reports the San Francisco Examiner. His initial three-year term begins in September of 2009. This is his first post in his native Scotland in nearly 20 years.
It’s always a pleasure to hear from Violinist.com members who have professional accomplishments to report.
This week, Drew Lecher, a prominent violin and viola teacher in my stomping grounds of the Chicago suburbs, wrote to let me know that he has just published two books: Violin Technique: the Manual and Viola Technique: the Manual.
He sent a copy to Laurie, who wrote, "It's a generous offering of quite a lot of violin knowledge. It's a concise and well-organized book of technical studies and terms."
10/21/07 - Violinist Andrew Sords will perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Carson City (Nevada) Symphony.
10/21/07 - Prague’s Talich Quartet will open the 25th anniversary season of the popular San Francisco-area series Music at Kohl Mansion. The quartet’s members are Jan Talich and Petr Macecek, violins; Vadimir Bukac, viola; and Petr Prause, cello.
10/19/07 – Violinist Hilary Hahn will perform a recital with pianist Valentina Lisitsa at Occidental College in Los Angeles. It will be her only Southern California recital this season. She will be available to sign copies of her CDs, including her latest Deutsche Grammophon recording, "Paganini's Concerto No.1 and Spohr's Concerto No.8” at the end of the performance.
10/3/07 - This week, Itzhak Perlman was to have performed as conductor and violinist in a sold-out San Francisco Symphony program of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. Last weekend, Perlman said he is too ill to perform, so Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a program that includes the originally scheduled Brahms Symphony No. 2, as well as Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with Jeremy Denk as soloist.
9/30/07 – Violinist Michelle Dulak Thompson wrote an insightful review for San Francisco Classical Voice of violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s “performing audition” as possibly the next artistic director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Thompson provided context by summarizing the style of outgoing artistic director, violinist Krista Bennion Feeney: “One of Feeney’s strengths was her plain physical energy — not so much the volume of her sound as the intensity of character borne by it. …At her best she baldly goaded the orchestra into surpassing itself.” Then, she put Salerno-Sonnenberg’s performance into context: “Salerno-Sonnenberg throws herself into music with abandon. Her boundless gusto is more than a little alarming once you realize that the intensity isn’t a reaction to this or that piece, but her default setting. She revels in emphases, broad inflections, and vivid dashes of character, to the extent that the line she’s manipulating tends to disappear. And from a violinistic standpoint, all that shaping can send her out of technical control much too easily.”
9/30/07 – The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a brief profile of violinist Joshua Bell. The piece clarifies how the music for The Red Violin evolved, from soundtrack to commissioned Chaconne, to the new four-movement concerto.
9/24/07 – Violinist Philippe Quint performed a short program at the Naxos 20th anniversary celebration. The next following day on September 25th Philippe's new CD of Miklos Rozsa's Complete Works for violin and piano which also iincludes a brilliant Sonata for violin solo was released on Naxos in stores worldwide and Philippe along with Naxos's founder and president Klaus Heymann and conductor JoAnn Falletta was signing his CD at J&R record store in New York City.
10/23/07 - The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association opens an International Youth Orchestra Festival. Until Nov. 11, the Walt Disney Concert Hall will host the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra (conducted by L.A. Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, an alumnus of the Sibelius Academy), the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (Gustavo Dudamel, L.A. Philharmonic Music Director Designate), and the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra (Charles Dutoit, new chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra). Individual concerts will be interspersed with open rehearsals, seminars, and joint activities, and the festival is capped by a full day of free performances from Los Angeles-area youth orchestras.
10/2/07 – For a look at how the Liverpool Philharmonic’s fortunes are rising, read the Telegraph’s perspective. "Audience figures are up. The finances are more secure. Recordings and tours are planned. And the orchestra is set to assume a leading role when Liverpool becomes European Capital of Culture next year."
10/1/07 - The San Diego Symphony makes it possible for patrons to buy a recording of the orchestra's performance as it concludes, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The orchestra "expects to have as many as 30 programs online by the end of the year. Streaming is also being planned, and the San Diego Symphony continues to generate podcasts, video and online program notes."
10/1/07 – The Marin Alsop era at the Baltimore Symphony has officially begun, notes the New York Times, and things are looking good: “As director-designate Ms. Alsop reinvigorated the orchestra, institutionally and artistically. A born communicator and effective proselytizer for music, she has led a major community-outreach effort and taken the orchestra back into the recording business for the first time in a decade. Thanks to a $1 million grant, the Baltimore Symphony this season is offering all tickets to subscribers at $25 a concert. (I am continually amazed at the impact that a sum like $1 million, just pocket change in popular culture, can have in classical music.)"
9/30/07 - The Des Moines Register profiled several members of the Des Moines Symphony and the jobs that keep them busy during the day. "Of the nearly 90 members, about 15 have day jobs in fields completely unrelated to music. One is a registered nurse, one teaches German and another manages a McDonald's drive-through window during the 11 p.m.-6 a.m. shift. ... Cellist Elizabeth Buxton listens to music while analyzing DNA for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. She listens to the symphony repertoire either with headphones or a CD player in the Ankeny crime lab." Learn a bit more about violinists Ben Parker, Julie Fox Hensen and Laura Haupt.
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