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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 13

February 14, 2007 at 5:57 PM

2/12/07 – The Eugene (OR) Register-Guard reports: "Two members of the Eugene Symphony, driving home from a rehearsal Sunday night, were killed and another was injured when a suspected drunken motorist slammed into their car on Interstate 5 near Albany. Kjersten J. Oquist, 36, of Wood Village and Angela J. Svendsen, age 31, from Vancouver, Wash., died at the scene, police said. A third musician, Kelly M. Gronli, 28, of Portland, was treated and released from an Albany hospital ... The musicians were returning to their homes following a rehearsal, Eugene Symphony Board President Mary Ann Hanson said Monday ... Oquist was the symphony's principal violist. Svendsen was principal violin for the second section. Gronli is the principal oboe player." The article quotes Hanson: "I'm sure all the musicians will be deeply affected by this ... They are young, talented, beautiful, enthusiastic musicians, all three of them."

You can also read The Columbian’s take on this sad event.


2/11/07 – Time again for the annual Grammy Awards wrapup. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony came up winners for their recording of the Mahler Seventh Symphony, which won for Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance.

String players generally did not fare well this year, though the Emerson String Quartet did win for its album Intimate Voices, surely a bittersweet triumph for violinist Philip Setzer, who recently lost both his parents.

Violinist Corey Cerovsek did not prevail with his recording of the Corigliano Violin Sonata, while violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved came up empty with his recording of the Henze Violin Concerti. Violists Roberto Diaz and Yuri Bashmet also came away empty-handed.

Musician News

The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis will present its 6th annual workshop, Orchestral Auditions for Violinists, June 9-11, 2007 in Indianapolis. Famous concertmaster Rodney Friend, formerly of the New York Philharmonic, will appear. Applications are online at

In addition to hiring Tom Cosbey as its new concertmaster, the Thunder Bay Symphony also hired Emilie Pare, assistant concertmaster, and Cho Hee Lee, section violin.

The Dayton Philharmonic has hired three section violinists: Kara Lardinois, Calvin Lewis and Yen-Ting Wu.

Violinist Tigran Shiganyan has joined the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

2/23/07 – Violinist Vincent P. Skowronski wrote again to let me know that another track from his album Avec et Sans, Volume II, will be aired on KUAT-FM, Tucson at approximately 1:50pm Mountain Time. The selected work is the rarely heard Duo for Two Solo Violins by Darius Milhaud. Katherine Hughes is the other violinist. You can listen through the radio station’s website:

2/23/07 – The newly formed Seventh Avenue String Quartet will perform the accompanying score for a new play at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, reports San Francisco Classical Voice. The play is Adele Edling Shank's To the Lighthouse, based on Virginia Woolf's novel of the same name. Quartet members are violinists Justin Mackewich and Sarah Jo Zaharako, violist Charith Premawardhana and cellist Alex Kelly. Previews start on Feb. 23; the production opens Feb. 28 and closes March 25.

2/12/07 – Violinist Robert Davidovici earned a positive review from the New York Times for his United States premiere of Paul Kletzki's Violin Concerto (Op. 19, 1928). The work "wavers between tonality and dissonance, with lyrical violin lines, spiky harmonies and lighthearted allusions to cabaret music." Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra supported Davidovici. Also on the program was the New York premiere of the percussionist and conductor Harold Farberman's "lively" Double Concerto for Violin and Percussion (2006), dedicated to Guillermo Figueroa, a violinist and conductor. The review noted the "witty dialogue between the vibraphone and violin."

2/11/07 – Violinist and member Igor Yuzefovich was quoted in a Baltimore Sun article about Side by Side, a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program that pairs BSO musicians with students from Baltimore and Anne Arundel county schools for a classical music performance. Yuzefovich, the orchestra’s assistant concertmaster, said, "This is a chance these kids rarely get to play with a professional orchestra ... If they choose music, this is a glimpse into the future at the path they might be on." James Boord, supervisor of music for county schools, comments: "For our musicians, it's like playing in Little League and getting a chance to play with the Yankees." The county raised $25,000 to bring about the event.

2/11/07 – According to Mehr News Agency, Iranian violinist Mohammad Baharlu died in Tehran at age 78.“Besides his artistic taste, Baharlu had a high technique. He trained many students who are performing at famous orchestras across the globe,” friend and fellow musician Alireza Ebrahimi added. Baharlu wrote a six-volume guidebook on playing violin according to Iranian style and founded a musical training institute when he was 18.

Orchestra News

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has one opening for a section violinist and will be conducting auditions in April.

From Bilbo Prattle
Posted on February 14, 2007 at 6:04 PM
The tragic deaths in Oregon are just so awful.
From Richard Hellinger
Posted on February 14, 2007 at 6:57 PM
I love The Sanfran. symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. They have a great series which I recently discovered on my local PBS station, Keeping Score
From Karin Lin
Posted on February 14, 2007 at 8:27 PM
What a terrible tragedy. Drunk-driving deaths are so avoidable, and yet they STILL's impossible not to get angry. Thanks for keeping us informed, Darcy. They and their families will be in my thoughts.
From Mendy Smith
Posted on February 15, 2007 at 7:18 AM
Charles Noble set up a guestbook for those who wish to post their memories about those who perished in this tragic accident:

The Oregon Symphony, as well as many of us students of OSO members, are feeling their loss in the musical world very hard.

From Nate Robinson
Posted on February 15, 2007 at 7:52 AM
What a horrible loss. I believe I met a few members of the Eugene Symphony many years ago when I was visiting Oregon. I was reading the story on what happened, and apparently the lady that was driving under the influence on the wrong side of the road killing these musicians had apparently been previously convicted for DUI.
From Nicholas DiEugenio
Posted on February 16, 2007 at 7:37 AM
How tragic. It's so hard to accept things like this.

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