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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 86

October 28, 2007 at 5:59 PM

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.

Musician News

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 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.”

Orchestra News

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 - 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.

10/23/07Musical 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!]

From Brian Hong
Posted on October 29, 2007 at 8:38 PM
I agree with the review on Chang. Just listened to her "Autumn" on the radio, and she did "hack and saw" her way through it. Viva Giuliano Carmignola!
From charles johnston
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 10:03 AM
If you want to hear a Four Seasons performance that is both dazzling and intensely musical, check out the new David Nadien recording on the Cembal d'amour label. I haven't heard a performance of the Vivaldi that equals this. Charles Johnston

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