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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 20

March 11, 2007 at 5:18 PM

3/9/07 – The golden age of the New Jersey Symphony is apparently coming to an end. At least, the orchestra’s ownership of a famed Golden Age stringed instrument collection is, according to via the New Jersey Star Ledger: “In a surprising move intended to help solve serious financial problems, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has decided to sell the collection of rare "Golden Age" string instruments which it acquired with great fanfare in 2003. The orchestra's administration and board of directors announced the decision — which reverses a pledge made just eight months ago — yesterday afternoon.”


3/2/07 - The classical music critic of Newsday is publicly taking a stand against the Vienna Philharmonic and its persistent refusal to treat women as legitimate candidates for employment in a symphony orchestra. "A decade after it supposedly committed itself to entering the 21st century, I believe that the Vienna Philharmonic has relinquished its claim to serious consideration as a dynamic cultural organization... The geological pace of change is not merely a regrettable obstacle in the relentless pursuit of quality. It is product of a narrowly preservationist, antiquarian philosophy, which fetishizes sound at the expense of spirit."

Musician News

3/23/07 - Violinist Monica Germino will perform Andriessen's double concerto for soprano and violin, Passeggiata in Tram in America e Ritorno, with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, NEC's affiliate orchestra for new music. Andriessen wrote this work for Germino and soprano Christina Zavalloni.

3/17/07 – According to the Japan Times, “promising” young Japanese-American violinist Ray Iwazumi makes his Tokyo debut at Opera City Recital Hall. “Born in Seattle, Iwazumi is the only violinist in the world to have studied concurrently with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang at The Juilliard School, New York, and Igor Oistrakh at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music.”

3/7/07 – The Glasgow Herald noted a mixed reaction to a recital given by violinist Viktoria Mullova, noting that the performance was not to all tastes. “Indeed, at half time, her playing provoked a relaxed, though intense, debate. For some, it was too detached. To others, what we were hearing was ‘the best in the world’.”

3/7/07 – Violinist Hilary Hahn received an excellent review from the Arizona Star for her performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, which is one of the few reviews to note what a soloist’s tour schedule is like: “In the span of 22 days, acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn will have played Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor 11 times.On Tuesday, it was Stop No. 2, Day 6, performance No. 4 when she played it with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Seeing Hahn perform the Sibelius early in her monthlong run gave us a chance to see an artist who is still excited to play the piece and rehearsed enough to turn in a flawless performance on all fronts.”

3/5/07 - This month's Live from NEC audio stream is a performance of César Franck's Sonata in A Major for violin and piano by Artist Diploma candidate violinist Karen Gomyo.

3/4/07 – Be sure to read the Huntsville Times’ moving profile of an elderly violinist: “In the quiet hours of a winter morning, Esther Gilbert walks to the dining room of her south Huntsville home and opens her violin case. Inside is a Landolfi violin, made in Italy in 1745. She has played this violin almost every day since 1930, when she was taught by some of the most famous music teachers in the world….”

3/4/07 – The Arizona Republic gave a poor review to Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg for a recent recital: “What they heard was an uneven recital that began on a disappointing note. The first sonata suffered from poor intonation - not only some sour notes, at which Salerno-Sonnenberg visibly winced - but also poor tone quality, as if her bow had too much, or not enough, rosin. Her tendency to clip her notes also was a problem - phrases often ended abruptly, as if she lost interest in anticipation of the next.” Fortunately, things improved as the recital progressed….

3/2/07 – The Dallas Morning News had this to say about the first public performance of the orchestra’s newly recovered Strad: “The DSO's circa 1727 Stradivarius violin, recovered last year 21 years after it was stolen, had a big solo turn in the Glazunov Violin Concerto. Played by senior associate concertmaster Gary Levinson, it put out a big, gleaming tone but glowed sweetly when quiet ....”

Orchestra News

3/9/07 - The New York Times reports that an anonymous donor has promised $90 million for the Frank Gehry-designed future home of the New World Symphony, but the news of the donation was leaked two years early.

3/7/07 – According to the Akron Beacon-Journal, the Cleveland Orchestra took a chance last month, making a new live concert recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony without actually having a deal in place with any record label to market and distribute the disc. But it didn't take long to find a partner - Deutsche Grammophon, which has a long history with the orchestra, will release the recording this fall.”

3/7/07 - The Allentown Morning Call (PA) reports: “The Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra is folding. The orchestra announced Tuesday that its March 31 concert -- the final concert of its 26th season -- will be its final concert, period. The news comes three months after the death of a proposed merger between the chamber orchestra and the region's largest classical group, the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. The merger, designed to make both organizations financially stronger by combining resources, was rejected in December by the Allentown Symphony amid disagreements over finances and music directors. The Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra -- the Valley's other major classical ensemble -- dropped out of merger talks in July…LVCO’s announcement means an end to an orchestra known for its famous guests -- pianists Emanuel Ax and Lang Lang and violinists Joshua Bell and Sarah Chang, to name a few -- the premieres of 31 new compositions, a contest with the Julliard School of Music and the first collective-bargaining agreement for a local classical ensemble.”

3/7/07 - The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has signed music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya to a three-year contract extension that will keep him in the post through June 2011.

3/2/07 – According to the Summit (CO) Daily News, the executive director of the Colorado-based National Repertory Orchestra (a prominent training program for young musicians) has been told that her contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of this season. Terese Kaptur took over the NRO program in 2002 after serving for three years as the orchestra's artistic director.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on March 11, 2007 at 5:25 PM
I don't know about Newsday's conclusions, but I wonder what happened to the German women of the '80s. They would have chained themselves together and refused to let anyone pass. They were some militants!
From Peter Kent
Posted on March 12, 2007 at 1:46 PM
Heard a recording of the Vienna Phil just the other day...could have sworn I heard a female or two playing in the group.
From Peter Kent
Posted on March 12, 2007 at 1:46 PM
Heard a recording of the Vienna Phil just the other day...could have sworn I heard a female or two playing in the group.

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