May 7, 2007 at 2:31 AM
As many know by now, violinist Joshua Bell as joined the Indiana University violin faculty as a senior lecturer. The news was picked up throughout Indiana and by various wire services.
5/3/07 – The Indianapolis Star, in lieu of reaching Bell himself, chatted up his mother.
4/26/07 - Researchers at Manchester University claim to have a solution for all those string players who wish their cheap violins could sound like a Stradivarius. According to an article in The Guardian (UK), the researchers have developed an electronic device that takes the violin sound picked up by a microphone and changes it electronically to provide the famous Strad tone.
Violinist Claire Blaustein was recently named runner up in BBCMusic Magazine's first Michael Oliver Award for Young Classical Music Writers. An excerpt from her piece, "The Digital Revolution: How the Internet Can Save Classical Music," appeared in the May issue of the magazine.
5/31/07 – Indiana University Professor of Violin Mark Kaplan will play the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. In 2005, Kaplan stepped in at the last minute to replace Salvatore Accardo, in a performance of the Beethoven Violin Conerto that garnered four curtain calls, notes Scoop, an online news source in New Zealand.
5/5/07 – The documentary Circling Around: The Violin Virtuosi had two screenings at downtown Bloomington’s The Cinemat video store. The one-hour program, produced by RIAX in association with WTIU, documents the extraordinary life-journey taken by talented and dedicated young violinists from the Indiana University Music String Academy, which is directed by violinist Mimi Zweig.
5/4/07 – The Independent (UK) reports on the winners of this year’s Classical Brits. Violinist Ruth Palmer won the Young British Performer prize for her independently funded and released recording of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti was nominated in three categories but did not win.
5/3/07 – The Guardian (UK) profiled violinist Ruth Palmer just one day earlier: “Everything the 28-year-old has achieved so far -- and a nomination as Young British Classical Performer in tonight’s Classical Brits suggests she has achieved plenty -- has been down to sheer determination and a go-getting entrepreneurial spirit.” Palmer notes: “The idea of being snapped up by a management company or a record company and being handed a career on a plate is very old-fashioned. Artists are expected to come along a lot further before a major company is interested. It took me a while to realize, ‘OK, you've got to do it yourself’.”
5/3/07 – In the Washington Post’s profile of violinist Leila Josefowicz, one of the subjects is her short-lived modeling career. Modeling’s loss is clearly classical music’s gain.
5/2/07 – The New York Times profiled former Philadelphia Orchestra principal violist and new Curtis leader Roberto Diaz, referring to him as possibly the world’s best violist. In the article, Diaz expounds on how he sees his role unfolding at Curtis.
5/1/07 – “Inspired by Arts Journal blogger Drew McManus's "Take A Friend to the Orchestra" month, the staff critic at DCist decided to throw himself deeply into the spirit of the thing, inviting a sportswriter to accompany him to an Australian Chamber Orchestra concert. To make things even more challenging, the sportswriter was in a bad mood the night of the show, and in no mood for high culture. And then, the music started...”
5/8/07 - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first CD release on CSO Resound, its in-house record label, will be available in stores, though the live recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, featuring the CSO under Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink, has been available on iTunes since April 24. Under the CSO Resound label, the orchestra will self-produce at least six new CDs in the next three years, culled from live recordings of CSO concerts, and issue three to four digital-only releases per year.
5/3/07 - The Cincinnati Symphony has extended the contract of its music director, Paavo Jarvi, through the 2010-11 season, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. The orchestra added an unusual "evergreen" clause under which the contract will renew automatically in subsequent seasons by mutual agreement.
5/2/07 – The Elgin Daily Herald reports on the Elgin Symphony Orchestra: “Tuesday’s announcement that the orchestra will record a commercial album of Aaron Copland compositions next week for the classical music label Naxos means the fulfillment of a longtime goal ... Board member Joyce McFarland Dlugopolski and her husband, Ed, volunteered to underwrite the orchestra costs for a recording. Their commitment plus the contacts of a former Naxos staffer now employed by the ESO led to the fortuitous partnership. ‘This is pretty big for us,’ Music Director Robert Hanson said. ‘We’re excited about it’.”
4/30/07 – The Daily News (Newport News, VA) wrote about the Virginia Symphony’s “first-ever residency Thursday through Saturday” in the communities of Mathews, Urbanna, and Kilmarnock: “They played at churches, libraries and retirement homes, gave master classes to high school students and held free public concerts for anyone who wanted to attend. The project was supported by a $100,000 state grant designed to bring music to less populated areas.
4/30/07 – Edmonton Symphony Orchestra music director William Eddins, who on March 23-24 conducted a program of Gershwin, Bernstein, Stravinsky, George Antheil and Howard Brubeck, attracted the ire of a patron who disliked his "bum wiggling" podium antics. In a letter to the Edmonton Journal, anti-wiggler Jeanie Campbell wrote "But what is with Bill Eddins? He's not classy; he's rude! He shakes his body, wiggles his bum, kicks his legs out, a chain hanging off his back pocket." But other music lovers rallied to Eddins's defense….”
4/27/07 - At the second Mahler Conducting Competition three young candidates led the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra — and the jury declined to award the €20,000 first prize to any of them, reports PlaybillArts.com. Shi-Yeon Sung, a 31-year-old from South Korea, won the €10,000 second prize, which she received from Marina Mahler (the composer's granddaughter and patron of the competition) at the closing concert. The jury awarded a third-place prize, too.
"Part of it is plain old self-respect," the artist says in a backstage interview during her earlier visit to Washington. "I've worked so hard for so many years, why distract people with something that has nothing to do with my skill? It doesn't mean you have to be dowdy -- it just means don't throw a twist like that into the mix!"
I agree with her completely. I like it best when soloists dress plainly so that I don't have to fight the distraction.
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