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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 40

May 20, 2007 at 8:19 PM

5/15/07 - As musicians, we all know the power of music, to heal, to transform, to be a catalyst for many kinds of change. But sometimes, the power lies within the instrument itself, as shown in a remarkable essay that ran in the Annals of Internal Medicine last week, entitled “Dr. Wohl's Violin: A Family Doctor's Last Act of Kindness” by Sheldon H. Gottlieb, MD.

Dr. Gottlieb was called in to counsel the family of a young man who, in the end stages of leukemia, had just been declared brain dead. The grieving father was unable to process his son’s imminent death, and unable to authorize his son’s removal from the ventilator that kept his lungs functioning.

In a remarkable coincidence, when the father mentioned how much his son loved their original family doctor, who had died when the boy was just four, Gottlieb was shocked to learn that the boy's family doctor had been the previous owner of his violin. And now, that violin was able to help the grieving parents marshal their strength and say goodbye to their beloved son.

Musician News

5/18/07 – Julien Heller, a 17-year-old violinist, has fallen in love with a violin that exceeds his family’s means. So a local arts patron organized a benefit concert to help Heller raise the $10,000 necessary to buy the instrument, reports the Danbury (CT) News Times. The participants included Eric Lewis, Heller’s teacher and a member of the Manhattan String Quartet.

5/18/07 – According to a University of Delaware news release, The 1699 Stradivarius "Lady Tennant" violin, on loan from the Stradivari Society in Chicago to Xiang Gao, associate professor of music, has arrived on campus. The violin, which is valued at $3 million, made its Delaware debut during the sold-out “Xiang Gao and Friends” concert held May 18.

5/16/07 – According to, violinist Nikolaj Znaider recently acquired a Guarneri del Gesù violin once owned by the great Fritz Kreisler. “The Guarneri was purchased from an American collector by three Danish funds for Copenhagen's Royal Theater, which then lent it to Znaider. The instrument replaces the Stradivarius the violinist had been using; Znaider reportedly consulted with Daniel Barenboim and Valery Gergiev, among others, before deciding to make the switch.”

5/16/07 – also notes that Canadian violinist James Ehnes has joined the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival in the newly created position of associate artistic director. In his new role, Ehnes will help founder and artistic director Toby Saks choose musicians and repertoire. Ehnes has performed at the festival for years and will continue to do so.

5/16/07 – Violinist Ruth Palmer, fresh from being named Best Classical Performer at the Classical Brits, received a mixed review from the Telegraph (UK).

5/15/07 – Robert Chen, concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony, began a week of concerts as soloist with that orchestra of Lutoslawski's "Chain 2": Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra."

5/14/ profiled violinist Julian Rachlin. The Lithuanian-born violinist will solo with the New York Philharmonic on May 24-26.

Orchestra News

5/17/07 - The Dallas Symphony has canceled a planned performance of Britten's War Requiem because of money, reports the Dallas Morning News: "We were reviewing the budget for next year, and we determined the need to make a few programming adjustments. It's a very expensive piece to produce, and we just determined it would be prudent to postpone it."

5/16/07 - The Opera Orchestra of New York has announced a complete three-work season for 2007-08, having successfully weathered severe financial difficulties several months ago. Reportedly, many orchestra members donated money to the ailing organization.

5/16/07 - The Budapest Symphony is one of Europe's oldest orchestras, established in 1853 and playing concerts ever since in the celebrated Hungarian State Opera House. But this year, the Hungarian government declined to pay the usual subsidy that kept the orchestra afloat, and the organization finds itself scrambling to find new revenues to replace the public funds, reports the Budapest Sun.

5/15/07 – According to the Southwest Florida News-Press, the Southwest Florida Symphony has appointed 37-year-old Californian Michael Hall as music director. “One of seven finalists, Michael Hall signed a three-year contract with options for two more seasons ... Hall replaces Paul Nadler, who was credited with raising the orchestra to a higher level in 16 seasons as music director ... A native of Canada, Hall serves as associate conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony and music director of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra.”

5/15/07 - Oboist J. Bud Roach has filed a claim against the Buffalo Philharmonic for job discrimination. Formerly the orchestra's second oboist, he was fired in February 2004, and he claims that his firing was due to homophobia in the orchestra, reports

From Maura Gerety
Posted on May 20, 2007 at 9:02 PM
Ugh! TYPICAL of the current Hungarian government to slash funding to a cultural treasure like the Budapest Philharmonic!! >:(
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on May 21, 2007 at 5:12 AM
What a lovely endorsement of Gidon Kremer...
From jennifer steinfeldt warren
Posted on May 21, 2007 at 2:08 PM
Are our institutions of music (and orchestras specifically here) loosing financial security because of a loss of interest in the communities and public...or is it a matter of legislation? Do our governments of various countries easily loose sight of what is important when it comes to appropriating funds within a shrinking budget? Are the budgets "really" shrining, or are other funds increasing as the arts' funds shrivel?

This is becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Jennifer Warren

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