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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 30

April 15, 2007 at 4:51 PM

4/13/07 – I happened across a blog called the Long Con: Business, Marketing and the Art of Exacting Confidence from Strangers. What makes it relevant on is that its author, Steve Morris, seems to think that the reason Joshua Bell’s Washington busking experiment “failed” was because neither Bell nor the Washington Post used even rudimentary stagecraft or a huckster’s spiel to entice viewers to linger: “I was in London on business a few years ago and happened to walk through Covent Garden during the annual street performers festival. The contrast between the way these professional street performers went about their business and the usual ply your trade and wait for coins subway violinist was an important business lesson.”

If you do any busking yourself, you may pick up some interesting tips here.

4/12/07 – Scanning a review of a recent performance by Sarah Chang in the Santa Barbara Independent, I was surprised to see mentioned: “The Prokofiev Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94a was the evening’s highlight. This is why the message boards at are full of Chang fanatics offering slavish praise and unsolicited marriage proposals to the 26-year-old musician—because on this kind of piece, something that requires tremendous energy and strength, she may be the best young violinist in the world. This is the prettier of the two Prokofiev violin sonatas, the one originally composed for flute, and Chang made it absolutely roar.”

Who knew we were so noteworthy??


Just a reminder that the application deadline is near for the 6th Annual Orchestral Audition Workshop sponsored by International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. The seminar, to be held June 9-11 in Indianapolis, is limited to twelve violinists aged 21 years and older selected through an audition tape. It is designed for professionals and aspiring orchestral violinists, though an unlimited number of auditors, minimum age 14, are welcome to observe the class. Led by British violinist Rodney Friend, the three-day workshop will combine individual instruction with special sessions working as a group exploring the art of section playing and the leadership skills necessary for principal and concertmaster positions. Visit to apply.

Musician News

4/16/07 – Violinist Leonidas Kavakos, will perform as soloist in the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on their concert tour in California. The tour begins on Monday in Palm Desert and concludes next weekend.

4/15/07 - The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio celebrates 30 years together with a special concert at Carnegie Hall on April 15, according to “Violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson (husband and wife) met pianist Joseph Kalichstein in 1976 at the 92nd Street Y, where Laredo has been artistic director of the Chamber Music at the Y series since 1974. The three of them hit it off immediately, and not long after, when Laredo and Robinson decided to form a trio, Kalichstein was the first person they contacted.”

4/13/07 – The Indianapolis Star ran an overview story about violinist Augustin Hadelich launching his “Pure Gold” tour, the result of winning the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. In it, Hadelich is quoted briefly regarding his motivations for entering the competition and his long-term goals.

4/12/07 – Violinist Barnabás Kelemen performed concerti and chamber music in Finland for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra Spring Festival. His wife Katalin Kokas (performing on both violin and viola) will be one of his collaborative partners, as will Lahti Symphony Concertmaster Jaakko Kuusisto. All three have ties to the IVCI: Kelemen won in 2002, and Kokas and Kuuisto participated (2006 and 1994, respectively.)

Orchestra News

4/21/07 – The Nashua (NH) Symphony announced that its Music Director and Conductor, Royston Nash, will lead his farewell concert. Nash is stepping down after 21 years with the orchestra. A special farewell celebration for Nash the next day will be open the public.

4/15/07 – The Jerusalem Post notes that, on the eve of Holocaust Day, the Ra'anana Symphonette will perform at the Tel Aviv Opera House. The repertoire will consist of music that famed violinist Alma Ros led with her ragtag orchestra at Auschwitz, which was depicted in the 19890 television movie, Playing for Time. The orchestra will use the Ros’ orchestrations, made with the instruments at her disposal there: a string section, accordions and a mandolin. Nita Tzuri will play on a violin whose unknown owner was murdered in Auschwitz, and which was borrowed from violin maker Amnon Weinstein's collection of instruments whose owners died in the Holocaust. The bulk of the article summarizes Ros’ life and achievements.

4/13/07 - The Washington Post reports that Iván Fischer will become the principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of the 2008-2009 season. “It is an interim appointment, slated to last two years while the search continues for a full-time music director to replace Leonard Slatkin, who will step down at the end of the 2007-2008 season. Fischer will not serve as music director.” The article adds: “Fischer, 56, who made his debut with the NSO in 1997, is currently the orchestra's principal guest conductor.”

4/11/07 - The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has selected Vladimir Ashkenazy as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The paper’s article, while overall quite favorable to the appointment, expressed concern that Ashkenazy will only be in Sydney for eight weeks versus the 10-16 the orchestra is accustomed to, and that his contract is only for three years, rather than the usual five.

Other Music News

Beginning this fall, Northwestern University School of Music will provide full tuition for all entering doctor of music students (17 new students per year) and the same for 20 entering master of music students. Each award covers two years of study, the normal timeframe needed to complete required coursework. All Ph.D students in the School of Music already receive full tuition support.

4/12/07 – In the wake of the most recent Strad auction, the Wall Street Journal takes its turn at exploring “why these old instruments command such hefty sums.” The article quotes an April 200 article published by Colin Gough in “Physics Web” that states: “Science has not provided any convincing evidence for the existence ... of any measurable property that would set the Cremonese instruments apart from the finest violins made by skilled craftsman today.” Toby Faber, author of Stradivari’s Genius, tells the WSJ: “If science has not been able to find the difference, then that is simply because science does not yet know where to look.” Scherer notes: “Violinist Lynn Chang, who teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston University, and who plays a 1739 Carlo Bergonzi, says: ‘A great performer will sound good on any instrument, but the Cremonese violin helps the performer go beyond the instrument.’ ” Violin maker Samuel Zygmuntowicz observes that “the name ‘Stradivarius’ conveys a wealth of meaning to people: as a cultural icon, as a collectible, as a beautiful luxury item.”

From Armand Allégre
Posted on April 15, 2007 at 5:15 PM
Hmmm, anyone know where I can buy tickets to the Leonidas Kavakos performance?
Google is not availing me.
From Sheila Ganapathy
Posted on April 16, 2007 at 12:19 PM
My friend just bought me a book about Samuel Zy....? I haven't started it yet, but thought it was pretty cool.
From Eugene Chan
Posted on April 16, 2007 at 4:36 PM
How many orchestras does Ashkenazy conduct now, anyway?
From Richard Conviser
Posted on April 16, 2007 at 5:49 PM
Can you provide a hot link to the WSJ article? Thanks.
From Patrick Hu
Posted on April 17, 2007 at 7:57 AM
From Darcy Lewis
Posted on April 19, 2007 at 3:21 AM
Dear Richard,
I'm sorry--the WSJ archives are subscription only and I'm not a subscriber.


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