May 29, 2007 at 2:55 AM
5/25/07 – From the Top has been getting quite a bit of press lately. The latest installment is to be found in the Boston Globe, and ponders the social pressures facing serious young classical musicians. The article quotes Charles Yang, an 18-year-old violinist from Austin, Texas who has been featured on the show: “The classical image is that whoever’s in orchestra right now is a geek or something ... I think we should do something about that, like Hendrix revolutionized the guitar.”
"If anyone could, it's Yang. In his spare time, he goes off-roading, sings in a band, and plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star. His high school buddies had apparently never seen him play violin, and in one segment from an early episode of From the Top: Live From Carnegie Hall--the show's new television series -- Yang's mother plays the friends a home video of her son tearing through the Tchaikovsky Concerto as a soloist in front of an orchestra. Yang hides his face in embarrassment, but his friends are absolutely stunned.”
5/22/07 – According to San Francisco Classical Voice, the 22nd annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition will be held June 7-10 at San Francisco State University's McKenna Theater. The final round will consist of performances with the Marin Symphony, conducted by Alasdair Neale.
This year, 65 young musicians entered the competition, coming from 15 countries, and ranging in age from 15 to 23. Among the nine semifinalists are six violinists and three cellists, from the U.S., South Korea, and Canada. The 2007 Klein Competition semifinalists are:
Andrea Segar - 20, a California native studying with Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory of Music.
David McCarroll - 21, another California native studying with Weilerstein at NEC.
So Jin Kim - 21, from South Korea, studying at the Juilliard School with Cho Liang Lin and Naoko Tanaka.
Jing Wang - 21, a Canadian citizen born in Guilin, China, studying with Sally Thomas at Juilliard.
Siwoo Kim - 17, born in South Korea, and now attending high school in Westerville, Ohio.
Lydia Hong - 19, from Chicago, studying with Itzhak Perlman at Juilliard. Three years ago, she advanced to the semifinalist stage of the Klein Competition.
Alice Yoo - 22, from Syosset, N.Y., studying with Paul Katz at NEC.
Madeleine Kabat - 20, from Cleveland, studying with Norman Fischer at Rice University in Houston.
Paul Dwyer - 23, from Indiana, studying at Oberlin Conservatory. His teacher, Amir Eldan, won fourth place at the 1997 Klein Competition.
5/25/07 – Violinist Gidon Kremer performed the Bartok Violin Concerto on its home turf, Budapest. He was accompanied by the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
5/25/07 – The Times of London gave four out of five stars to violinist Julia Fischer’s new release of the Brahms Violin Concerto and the Brahms Double Concerto. Regarding the opening passage of the Violin Concerto: “With the sweetest of sighs she eases herself into the principal theme, a violin acrobat delicately treading the high wire with a hushed orchestra waiting below, and she never falls off. It’s a magical, lyrical moment, one of many in the performance here.”
5/25/07 - Violinist Calvin Dyck performed a concert in Nanaimo, BC, that follows the theme of the CD he released last November, The Dancing Violin, according to the Nanaimo News Bulletin. “Dyck, the concertmaster for the Vancouver Island Symphony, produced six sold-out multimedia concerts called Songs Strings and Steps in Abbotsford with pianist Betty Suderman. They’ve also toured internationally with The Golden Violin and From Moscow to Madrid. …Dyck said, ‘There’s a tendency to think all dances are upbeat when really there’s a whole range of emotion expressed, like humour in Peggy the Rubber Duck, sarcasm in Golliwog’s Cakewalk, intimacy in Liebesleid (Love’s Sorrow), and celebration in Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms’.”
5/24/07 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports: “Peter Otto, assistant concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, will become first associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra in September. In the new position, Otto will be first in line to fill in when concertmaster William Preucil is absent. The German-born Otto won the post last month, when the orchestra held auditions for first associate concertmaster and associate concertmaster, the position Ellen dePasquale will relinquish at the end of August after eight seasons. The associate concertmaster post has yet to be filled.” The article adds: “Otto, 32, joined the first violin section in St. Louis in 2001 and was promoted to assistant concertmaster in 2005. He holds a bachelor of music degree from the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Rostock, Germany, and a master of music degree from the Juilliard School.”
5/24/07 – Violinist Thomas Hu was selected as concertmaster of the National Association for Music Education's 2007 MENC All-Eastern Honors Orchestra, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “Hu, a violinist, beat out 54 other violin players from 11 states across the northeastern United States for that top spot. The orchestra meets every other year and performed this year in Hartford, Conn. …Thomas has played the violin since he was 6. His teachers have included Cyrus Forough at Carnegie Mellon University and Hong-Guang Jia, assistant concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.”
5/26/07 - The Gemini Youth Orchestra has raised $3,000 for the New Orleans String Project. A donation of six violas from Murphy’s Music in Huntington, New York was also presented. The New Orleans String Project, founded by members of the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, allows inner-city children to receive high-quality instruments and string instruction. The Gemini Youth Orchestra draws student musicians from across Long Island.
5/23/07 – The Boston Globe reports that a court hearing has been scheduled to determine whether either or both of the men involved in the now infamous Boston Pops brawl should be charged with a crime. At the time of the fight, both men were ejected from Symphony Hall, but not arrested. "A few days later the police department reversed its decision not to pursue charges and assigned a detective to investigate."
5/22/07 - As of this week, Chicago has a period-instrument orchestra for the first time in 16 years, as the brand-new Baroque Band gives its inaugural concerts, reports PlaybillArts.com. “Founder/director Garry Clarke, a Briton who moved to Chicago last year, has training as both musician and administrator. As a violinist, he has played (among others) with The Academy of Ancient Music, The Sixteen, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Les Arts Florissants. In 2001 in England's West Midlands, he founded the 18th Century Concert Orchestra, an ensemble of 12 musicians who perform by candlelight in period dress.”
5/22/07 - The Louisville Orchestra, which has been in severe fiscal trouble several times in recent years, seems finally to have turned things around, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. This week, the orchestra announced that it expects to finish the year with a healthy surplus, and will use some of the money to pay its long-suffering musicians a bonus. The organization also recently finished paying off more than $1 million in bank loans, and the board president celebrated by setting fire to the loan documents at an official ceremony.
5/21/07 - A concert by the Dubrovnik Symphony in Croatia was disrupted earlier this month when a nationalist member of the city council forced his way into the hall, threatened the guest conductor (apparently over his Serbian heritage,) then head-butted the orchestra's executive director, who was attempting to keep the assailant from the stage, according to PlaybillArts.com.
5/21/07 – The Buffalo News reports that the oboist alleging anti-gay discrimination in his dismissal from the Buffalo Philharmonic will have his case heard by New York's state Division of Human Rights. "Roach filed a state discrimination claim in December  and less than two months later, in February 2004, was denied tenure. Roach then filed a second complaint alleging retaliation by the BPO."
Other Music News
5/25/07 - The Juilliard Manuscript Collection is now available online at www.juilliardmanuscriptcollection.org. The collection includes working manuscripts, sketches, engravers' proofs, and other musical artifacts. Each page of the original manuscripts, sketches, and annotated first editions -- some with extensive composer markings, others with first-performance conductor markings – can be viewed with a zoom feature that allows images to be displayed in detail, showing original corrections, handwritten notes and instructions, and in the case of Beethoven, insults about his copyist. Forty-two composers are represented, with multiple works by Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, Wagner and others.
5/23/07 - It's been nearly 15 years since the acrimonious split between Spoleto Festival USA, based in Charleston, South Carolina, and its parent festival in Spoleto, Italy. But now, there are signs that the two organizations could be ready to partner once again, reports the Charleston Post & Courier.
5/23/07 – If you’ve ever wondered how the relatively small Naxos label holds its own against the Big Boys, read the Herald (Glasgow) profile of founder Klaus Heymann. "In the breadth, depth, ambition and prestige of its repertoire, Naxos has no serious rival anywhere in the world today, even among specialist labels."
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