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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 17

February 28, 2007 at 5:53 PM

2/27/07 – There’s more trouble in Cleveland, reports the Plain Dealer: “Ellen dePasquale, one of the Cleveland Orchestra's most high-profile musicians, has resigned as associate concertmaster, even as the orchestra is preparing to hold an audition that will displace her as second-in-line after concertmaster William Preucil. …The 33-year-old violinist is reluctant to give reasons for leaving her post, and she has no job lined up. ‘It's not something that's practical or logical’, she said. ‘It's purely based on principle’.

While dePasquale declines to discuss those principles, the impetus for her departure probably can be gleaned from the orchestra's recent advertisement in International Musician, the monthly publication of the American Federation of Musicians, for an audition in April for the newly created post of first associate concertmaster. …
With dePasquale's resignation, the orchestra plans to fill both the first associate concertmaster and associate concertmaster positions in April.”


2/13/, an online resource for professional symphony orchestra players, features an editorial endorsement of a book by violinist Julie Ayer: “Have you ever wondered why certain AFM locals ended up with hyphenated numbers? I belong to Hartford CT Local 400 and New Haven CT Local 234-486. The second number for the New Haven local is that of the separate black local that was established in New Haven in the early part of the 20th century.

Julie Ayer, violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra, has excerpted a chapter from her fascinating book, "More Than Meets the Ear: How Symphony Musicians Made Labor History" that explains in detail the story of these AFM segregated black locals and how they ultimately were merged with their white counterparts. This chapter also chronicles the difficulties African-American classical musicians had, not only in winning auditions but also in performing their duties as members of the orchestra.

I highly recommend not only this chapter but Julie's book in its entirety. Reading it will make you proud of the impact musicians have had on the labor movement and in improving conditions in their own working lives.” Ann Drinan, editor

Musician News

3/6/07 - Violinist Pamela Frank will offer a master class to students at Bard College Conservatory of Music. From a college press release: “Frank has established an outstanding international reputation across an unusually varied range of performing activity. Her consistently high level of musicianship was recognized in 1999 with the Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists.”

2/27/07 - Lee University assistant professor of music and violinist, Xiaoquing Yu presented a recital there, reports the Cleveland (TN) Daily Banner. After performing the Faure Sonata No. 1, Yu led the Lee University Chamber Strings as soloist in the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante. Xiaoqing Yu was appointed as assistant professor of violin at the Lee University School of Music in the fall of 2004. He continues to serve as concertmaster of the Greenville Symphony in Greensville, SC.

2/26/07The Columbian (WA) featured a moving account of the memorial service for violinist Angela Svendsen, the 31-year-old violinist who was killed by a drunk driver earlier this month. Some 600 people attended, including her 45 students and their families. Her violin and bow, propped up in their case, stood sentinel at the lip of the stage, flanked by two huge floral bouquets and near other personal mementos, including 10 pairs of the violinist’s shoes. "It's hard to find a lot of joy right now," said [husband Erik Svendsen]. "But one thing that does make me happy is knowing that each of her students will carry a little piece of her. Angela considered all of you her kids. You're her legacy. You're what she left in the world."

2/25/07 – The Columbus Dispatch did a Q&A with violinist Jennifer Koh in preparation for her recital there next weekend. The interview included a couple of questions about Koh’s dual degree in English and Music. I enjoyed her response to a question about whether poetry influences her playing: “Each note in music is as important as a word of poetry. There is also a similarity between the weight of the spacing between the words, the punctuation and the choice of words to music and phrasing. Each note might not mean anything on its own, but the relationship of the notes gives them meaning. . . . All artists and all musicians and all writers — everyone needs to find points of inspiration.”

2/25/07 – The Deseret News profiled violinist Leila Josefowicz in advance of her 2/27/07 concert at the University of Utah. The profile contains the tidbit that she generally programs the music of at least one living composer on each recital program she does. The Daily Utah Chronicle also profiled her.

2/25/07 - Prince Edward Island violinist Lysa Choi has won the String Music Atlantic Rose Bowl, according to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. “Lysa, 15, came to Canada from South Korea a year ago and was delighted to discover that she had more time for violin and piano here than back home. ‘Korean education is so tight’, she said. ‘They have four big exams a year. There’s almost not enough time to study instruments. In Canada, I have more time to play even while learning a new language’. She received the $1,000 prize. Lysa studies with Dalhousie University violin professor Philippe Djokic, as do the runner-ups, Paul Medeiros, 10, and Heemin Choi (no relation), 13.

Orchestra News

3/2/07 - The Lancaster (PA) Symphony is presenting Masterworks from East & West, a highlight of a local month-long celebration of India’s culture. The concert’s highlight will be the North American premiere of Subramaniam's Double Violin Concerto. Violinists Igor Yuzefovich and the composer, the renowned L. Subramaniam, will be the soloists, reports the Lancaster Sunday News. Yuzefovich, Lancaster Symphony concertmaster, says, "I like the fact that the piece is so unusual. You don't find a lot of compositions in the classical repertoire that include both a traditional classical music violin and an Indian violin," he said. "With their separate sounds, I think, you really get a feel for both cultures."

Here’s an overall view of the festival from another article in the same paper: “Mela is a collaboration between Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, Millersville University, Elizabethtown and Franklin & Marshall colleges, Lancaster Museum of Art and York Technical Institute. Its associated events include a Gandhi photography exhibit, an Indian and Himalayan art exhibit, a concert by a master Indian musician, a lecture by Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, an Indian film festival, Indian food and cooking demonstrations, an Indian/American business forum and readings of Indian literature. John Short, dean of humanities and social science at Millersville University, said the college became involved with the festival when it learned Lancaster Symphony Orchestra would be performing with L. Subramaniam, a world-renowned Indian violinist and composer known in his native land as ‘Emperor of the Violin.’ ” Short comments: “They asked if we were interested, and from there we saw a groundswell of interest [in an Indian festival] from organizations throughout our region.”

2/25/07 – The English National Opera is to cut 10 percent of its staff, axing about 45 jobs, reports the BBC. “The ENO said the losses, to include performers and technical staff, were needed to make it 'artistically and financially viable in the long term'. It is aiming to cut fixed costs - £20m of its £30m turnover - saying it feared reduced funding if government money to the Arts Council did not increase….It is thought the opera will reduce core orchestra and chorus members, employing more freelancers for large productions.”

Other Music Issues

2/25/07 – The Chicago Tribune ran a report on adjustable ticket pricing: “Sold-out houses -- houses that are really sold out -- seem heading toward the same extinction as hand-torn ticket stubs. For those willing to pay, in the future there will always be seats, just as there are always full-fare seats on a peak flight ... For the last three years or so, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has quietly raised single-ticket prices for concerts, once the organization's computerized models indicate that early sales suggest the event will likely sell out.” The article notes that “arts managers are becoming more sophisticated. They're now more likely to have MBAs -- and thus to have studied the benefits of demand-based pricing.” Also, “the advent of affordable technology that makes it possible, say, for the [CSO] to monitor its sales and know when to adjust the prices.” Kevin Giglinto, vice president for sales and marketing at the CSO, comments: “We want to guarantee that the subscribers always get the very best price ... They're the ones with the biggest commitment to the institution.”

From Karin Lin
Posted on February 28, 2007 at 7:36 PM
Thanks for your continued quality reporting, Darcy, especially about the goings-on in Cleveland.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 28, 2007 at 11:52 PM
"We're squeezing every last nickel out of every seat with this computer program we bought from this software company that was trying real hard to think up new products. We expect it will assist us in continuing to make $100,000 for thirteen weeks of playing the music of people who owned one pair of shoes," said the spokesman. When asked if it was the same as the software used to manipulate gasoline prices, he replied "I'm not prepared to answer technical questions."
From Frank Self
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 2:27 PM
I wonder if Philippe Djokic was one of the judges.
From Darcy Lewis
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 5:42 PM
Good question, Frank.

Actually, Djokic was not. I can look up the judges' names if you'd like, but I know he wasn't one of them.


From Frank Self
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 7:15 PM
Good to know. Thanks for responding, Darcy.
From David Russell
Posted on March 4, 2007 at 3:42 PM
I know Philippe Djokic as a wonderful teacher. I'm sure his students earned their awards. He instills very good values in his students.

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