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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 31

April 19, 2007 at 3:25 AM

Musician News

The cover story of April’s International Musician profiles Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Gregory T.S. Walker. “In the spring of 2006, Newport Classic released his groundbreaking electronic violin interpretation of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.” Walker played the Vivaldi on a “state-of-the-art MIDI” violin: “With the knowledge of how to program a MIDI instrument, you can play the instrument so it evokes the written images. In the second movement of ‘Spring,’ there is a mosquito sound. I spent almost a week programming that ugly thing. And it fits—it’s what Vivaldi described.”

4/22/07 - Violinist Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra will perform at the Eastman School of Music.

4/17/07 - NBC's Today Show featured a segment about From the Top with a performance of the Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor. Performing were program host and concert pianist Christopher O'Riley, along with violinist Caroline Goulding, violist Vicki Powell and cellist Kevin Olusola. The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a piece on local resident Caroline Goulding.

4/15/07 – Violinist Phillip Ruder played his final concert as concertmaster of the Reno Chamber Orchestra. He appeared as soloist (with violist and RCO Music Director Theadore Kuchar) in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364. Ruder, a member of the University of Nevada faculty and the chamber group Argenta, was awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2004. Prior to becoming the RCO’s concertmaster he served for 21 years in that capacity at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, having earlier served as concertmaster with orchestras in New Orleans, Dallas, and Santa Fe.

4/14/07 – Violinist Yuko Honda has died, reports the Seattle Times. “She taught thousands of young violinists during her lifelong career as a music teacher, once assembling 800 fledgling players onstage for the opening of Benaroya Hall in 1998. Ms. Honda died Monday at her home in Bellevue after a four-year battle with cancer, continuing to teach her students until a month before her death. She was 61.”

4/11/07 – Edwin Paling is retiring as concertmaster of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra after a remarkable 34-year tenure, and he has a few choice words for those in charge of the ensemble, reports the Glasgow Herald. "Paling's criticisms, which sound like an indictment of the organisation, boil down to this: successive principal conductors were interested only in their own concerts, in what was going on in their own backyard... Matters of artistic policy and the direction of orchestral development were of no interest to them. Everything became, in that sense, short term. Therefore, any long-range strategy or structure was scarcely tenable. There was no artistic head of the RSNO."

Orchestra News

The Phoenix Symphony has announced the ratification of a “catch-up and move forward” contract revision. Highlights of the agreement include increased base salaries for musicians, the addition of musician “relief services” to provide more recovery time between concerts, and clarification of the various ensembles within the orchestra. According to the board, the base salary has been set at a new high of $36,000 and will reach $47,000 in 2011. The new contract extends the labor agreement adopted by the Phoenix Symphony Association board of directors in June 2005 through 2011. The “evergreen” contract will enable musicians to renegotiate work rules and salary increases annually.

The Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico has engaged Carlos Miguel Prieto as music director. He will retain music directorship of the Louisiana Philharmonic, Huntsville Symphony, and Orquesta Mineria, and will reside both in Mexico City and at his new home in New Orleans.

4/11/07 - For decades, the Boston Symphony's summer home at Tanglewood has depended on the labor of a small army of volunteer staffers, who toil on the grounds in exchange for free passes to the concerts. But now, with the BSO battling deficits, the organization is demanding that all "volunteers" donate at least $75 to the orchestra, reports the Berkshire Eagle (MA). The orchestra is also yanking the privilege of "companion passes" volunteers could use to get guests in for free.

4/8/07 - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra returned to the national airwaves for the first time in six years with the launch of the new BP Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series. Syndicated to more than 160 markets across the country, the two-hour weekly broadcasts, hosted by Lisa Simeone from NPR’s “World of Opera,” will feature both commercial and live concert recordings from the CSO. The first broadcast highlighted the CSO’s yearlong Silk Road collaboration, with segments featuring Yo-Yo Ma and Betty Xiang. Further series programming will include interviews with CSO musicians and guest artists.

Other Music News

4/18/07 – The Columbia State (SC) reports that Converse College in Spartanburg has hired Miles Hoffman as dean of its music school. Hoffman, “has been a commentator on classical music for National Public Radio’s ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘Performance Today’ for a dozen years. He's also the author of ‘The NPR Classical Music Companion’ and founder of the American Chamber Players ... Hoffman plans to continue his commentaries after moving to S.C. with his wife, Susan Boykin, a retired singer and North Carolina native, and their two children. He starts the job in August.”

4/11/07 - A horn player in New Zealand's Christchurch Symphony has been arrested and charged with possession of illegal military-grade explosives, according to the Christchurch News. "Police say the cache included five military flares, two anti-personnel mines, eight sticks of Powergel and two cans of black powder."

From Ben Clapton
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 1:21 PM
4/11/07 - A horn player in New Zealand's Christchurch Symphony has been arrested and charged with possession of illegal military-grade explosives, according to the Christchurch News. "Police say the cache included five military flares, two anti-personnel mines, eight sticks of Powergel and two cans of black powder."

I was half expecting that to read "five military flares, two anti-personnel mines, eight sticks of Powergel and a French Horn"

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