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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 37

May 10, 2007 at 3:54 PM

5/5/07 - Musicians have been decrying the use of "electronic orchestras" in opera and Broadway pits for years. But can even expert listeners really tell the difference between the digitally generated orchestra and the real thing? The Wall Street Journal reports on new technological advances in the field and notes that even some prominent musicians have guessed wrong to their four sample passages.


5/6/07 – Now that Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel has been named the next music director of the LA Philharmonic, Venezuela's dynamic music education system is being recognized as a virtual factory of orchestral talent, reports the Los Angeles Times. "So far, the Venezuelan music education system has not produced a generation of young composers on par with Mexico's. Yet it's indisputable that its musician training program produces top-notch orchestra players."

Musician News

Benjamin Sung has been named concertmaster of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University and a bachelor’s from the Eastman School of Music. In addition to his concertmaster duties, Sung will serve as adjunct professor of violin and viola at North Dakota State University and at Minnesota State University in Moorhead.

Violinist/conductor Taras Krysa has been named director of orchestras at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and music director of the Henderson (Nev.) Symphony Orchestra. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, he began his studies as a violinist at the Moscow Conservatory and subsequently earned master’s degrees in violin performance and orchestral conducting from Indiana and Northwestern universities. Krysa has conducted and performed as a violinist with the New World and Saint Louis symphonies, and has conducted numerous other orchestras.

5/5/07 - Violinist Stefan Jackiw received Harvard University’s Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. Jackiw is completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard this spring, which he did concurrently with his work in New England Conservatory's Artist Diploma program. Harvard's Sudler Prize recognizes outstanding undergraduate talent and accomplishment in the arts. Additionally, the Harvard Crimson just profiled Jackiw this week, too.

4/30/07 – Young Armenian violinist Serge Khachatryan made his Carnegie Hall recital debut, followed by his Boston Symphony debut on y Khacha May 3. ran an in-depth Q&A with Khachatryan.

4/27/07 - The Charlotte Observer ran a Q&A with violinist-turned-conductor Andrew Grams when he guest-conducted the Charlotte Symphony as a last-minute stand-in: “I never wanted to be a solo violinist. But symphonic music is something I've always been incredibly passionate about. When you're a violinist in there (playing in the orchestra), it's great. It's wonderful to be wrapped up in that sound. But you're of course at the whim of the conductor. And there's a part of me that wants the piece to go the way I want it to go.” The program included soloist Vadim Gluzman playing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

4/24/07 - Rachel Barton Pine recently performed the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Missoula (Mont.) Symphony, reported the Missoulian: “Dressed in a copper-colored evening gown, her brown hair flipping this way and that with every accent she played, Pine amplified the romance and drama of Bruch's music with an aggressive performance. Playing one of the most famous violins that isn't a Stradivarius - a 1742 instrument built by Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu, one so rich and throaty in tone that it sounds at times more like a viola than a violin - Pine's melodious playing soared out over the MSO's tastefully subdued accompaniment, wowing the audience time and time again. Pine, too, here and there pulled against Spain's tempos, leading to a few hiccups in the music's momentum; but by the end, none of that mattered, so convincingly did she and the orchestra sing the praises of Bruch's famous concerto.” Pine, a new member of, can be contacted through her directory page.

Orchestra News

5/8/07 – According to San Francisco Classical Voice, the San Francisco Youth Symphony Orchestra is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. Famous alumni include: Annie Li (concertmaster of Symphony Parnassus), Zacharias Grafilo (first violinist with Alexander String Quartet), cellist Matt Haimovitz (records for Deutsche Grammophon), and Jeff Zeigler (cellist with Kronos String Quartet).

5/7/07 – New England Conservatory reports that a new chamber orchestra, a far cry, is launching a concert series in Cambridge, Brookline, and Montpelier, Vt. Fourteen of the 17 players are NEC students or alumni. Donald Palma, the founding member of New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra who created and coaches the NEC Chamber Orchestra, has served as their mentor.

5/4/07 - The Hong Kong Philharmonic faces a public relations problem, reports The HKP’s music director, Edo deWaart, is moving his family out of the city and back to his wife's family home in Wisconsin. The major reason for the move: Hong Kong's notorious air pollution is sickening deWaart's children, including his four-year-old asthmatic son.

From Mischa S.
Posted on May 10, 2007 at 4:52 PM
Der Spiegel brought the same story today, I already started to submit this story with some links, but now it's unnecessary. Check out some samples on the Vienna Symphonic Library site (Vienna Instruments, Horizon Series etc.) you'll find some real trash, really bad made plastic-orchestra recordings, but some sound samples are scary well done. Test the Zapateado once, you'll feel something is wrong, but hearing it the first time, you don't know what. At the second time you'd bet on an ineloquent average violinist with a spectacular left hand pizz and a flageolet-technique like god. Maybe my computer-boxes are too bad. Indeed they are bad. The company worked on this project for seven years now, it's awful to imagine, how far this technology will be in ten years.

Pavarotti is said to have frozen his high notes in dozens of vocal combinations at a recording studio. Whenever he made a new recording the last years, he defrosted some of them.

From Julie C.
Posted on May 10, 2007 at 7:36 PM
Is Taras Krysa related to Oleh Krysa, Eastman School's professor of violin?
From Anne Horvath
Posted on May 10, 2007 at 11:14 PM
I'd like to say congratulations to Ben Sung on his new job. He has held the Concertmaster Fellowship of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra for two years. He is a terrific musician, and a wonderful concertmaster. I know, as I sub in Montgomery all the time. He also soloed on Sibelius, and Mozart A Major, and he played so well. I am going to miss following his PERFECTLY cued pizzicatos!
From Richard Conviser
Posted on May 11, 2007 at 2:06 PM
The conductor for Rachel Barton Pine's concert with the Missoula Symphony was Anthony Pine, the last of five candidates for the Symphony's music director position. The others were Morihiki Nakahara, Arthur Post, Darko Butorac, and Adam Flatt. A decision will be announced soon.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on May 11, 2007 at 8:05 PM
Mischa, the Zapateado could be more convincing now. You can already adjust every parameter of every note. It's just extremely labor intensive and also requires somebody to know what do with every parameter of each and every note:) It's a human factors problem, not a technical one.

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