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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 44

June 3, 2007 at 5:23 PM

Last night, I had the pleasure of hearing Siberian violinist Vadim Repin perform the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. On all levels, it was a thoroughly satisfying performance—Repin’s playing was alternately sinuous and athletic, where appropriate.

In the evening’s other work, the Brahms Symphony No. 1, concertmaster Robert Chen’s solo in the second movement was all it should be: a clear, sweet tone soaring over the orchestra.

Musician News

A posting on RWD Magazine’s website profiles Adaggio, a British/Guyanese violinist and composer. “By now, the crowd of rowdy revellers inside London’s CC Club are standing still. Their gaze is firmly fixed toward the stage as a young man begins his performance. …Resting on the 24 year-old’s chin is a pristine Italian violin that seems just as foreign in a place like this as does to its owner, who is dressed in baggy jeans and polo shirt. Bowing away over instrumentals from Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo and Jammer proves to be the winning formula and people at the popular nightspot go ballistic.”

6/10/07 – Speaking of Chicago Symphony concertmaster Robert Chen, he will close out the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis’ 2006-2007 concert season with a recital. Chen was a semi-finalist in the 1994 IVCI. This Concertmaster Recital is an annual feature of the Laureate Series, bringing concertmasters from the world's top orchestras to Indianapolis to perform.

6/3/07 – The Aurora Beacon News reports that violinist/violist Drew Lecher, will lead a master class and book signing at 2 p.m. Sunday at Sapp Violins in Montgomery, Ill. He will also sign copies of his new books, Violin Technique: The Manual and Viola Technique: The Manual. Lecher is the Director/Founder of the Stradivari Ensemble of Chicago

6/3/07 - Violinist Joshua Hong, concertmaster of the Conejo Valley (Calif.) Youth Orchestra, will solo with that orchestra. The 17-year-old lives in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

6/1/07 - Violinist John Lambros, who served as concertmaster of the West Virginia Symphony for 55 years, composed a work to be performed today by the orchestra, reports the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail. Although Lambros composed his Inaugural March 45 years ago, he only recently submitted it to the orchestra’s conductor, Grant Cooper, for consideration. Even at age 88, Lambros maintains a vigorous schedule that includes teaching 30 students.

5/31/07 - Violinist Alec Hou and his daughter, violinist Yi-Ja 'Susanne' Hou, are the subjects of a short documentary by the CBC. Called Shanghai Sensation, the 17-minute video tells the story of Alec and his flight from China almost three decades ago in the face of Mao's Cultural Revolution. The Mississauga News reports that Hou eventually fled to Canada and settled in Mississauga. The documentary also captures Hou’s first concert in China in 25 years, which included his daughter performing with him as soloist. Susanne Hou now performs on a 1729 ex-Heath Guarneri del Gesu violin that she received from the Canada Council For The Arts' music competition. To watch the video, visit
An interview on CBC Radio One can be heard by visiting

5/25/07 – Violinist Joshua Bell wrapped up his three-year stay as a St. Paul Chamber Orchestra artistic partner. His final performances included performances of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 and stints leading the orchestra from the concertmaster’s chair.

Orchestra News

6/19/07 - The Oakland (Calif.) Youth Orchestra will depart for a five-concert tour of Crete and Greece, with concerts scheduled in Heraklion, Chania, Delphi, Athens, and Patras. Performances will be under the baton of OYO Artistic Director Michael Morgan. The Oakland Youth Orchestra includes 82 students from more than 30 cities throughout the Bay Area.

6/4/07 - The Chicago Sinfonietta’s contributions in the area of diversity will be honored during the third annual World Diversity Leadership Summit, taking place June 4-6 at the United Nations in New York. The summit gathers senior corporate executives, experts, and policymakers focused on global and local diversity management practices. This year’s conference, “Globalization and Diversity: Unleashing the Power of Diverse Workers, Suppliers and Customers,” will consider the impact of diversity in areas such as academia, global supply chains, major international cities, customers, and the arts.

6/1/07 – The Times of London reports: “Orchestras may be asked to rehearse and even to perform more quietly under new health and safety regulations ... Regulations controlling the amount of noise permitted in workplaces came into force last year for most industries. They limited the daily average exposure to 85 decibels. Music and entertainment were given an extra two years to adapt and a working party was formed to draw up guidelines for the sector. It includes English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Association of British Orchestras, Equity, the Health and Safety Executive and the Musicians' Union. Public consultation on their recommendations will begin next month.” The article adds: “Thorben Dittes, projects manager at the Association of British Orchestras, said: ‘The most important issue is that we get to protect our players’ hearing. There are a whole range of measures in which this can be achieved.’ ”

5/31/07 – The Capital Times in Madison, Wisc., reports on an unusual fundraiser for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras: “What can you do with old, unplayable violins? Give them to visual artists who can transform them into art objects to raise money so young people can play real violins - and other instruments.”

5/31/07 – According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra has tapped Boston-based musician Jeffrey Rink to lead the orchestra as its first fulltime conductor and music director in its 20-year history. “Rink is currently the music director of Chorus pro Musica in Boston and of the Newton Symphony Orchestra, as well as director of orchestral activities at the Longy School of Music, where he conducts the Longy Chamber Orchestra. He is also on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Previously, he was conductor of the New England Philharmonic for eight years.”

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 3, 2007 at 6:54 PM
It's interesting Robert Chen was a semi-finalist at Indy, not even a finalist. I can think of a couple other similar examples. Personally, if I wasn't a finalist, maybe even if I wasn't the winner, I'd be so down on myself that I wouldn't have the ability to go on and achieve the way he has. Clearly not a good personality trait for a classical music career I have to think, but serves well in other arenas. So, from my perspective there are lots of people who win competitions, but a truly much more amazing thing from my perspective is what Chen's done. Something to ponder.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 3, 2007 at 7:17 PM
P.S. I think that's partly due to my not being allowed to come up short in a healty manner, even though the good intentions were there, I think. Coming up short was always be a rock to be thrown at me later.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 3, 2007 at 11:27 PM
Your note about John Lambros, concertmaster emeritus of the West Virginia Symphony orchestra, brought back memories. In the mid 70s I played in the orchestra (its predecessor the Charleston Symphony) and the West Virginia Opera Theater Orchestra where he was also concertmaster. I took a few lessons from Mr. Lambros. Like many violinists of his era he is quite short and he had a basement studio with a very low ceiling. I couldn't play without my bow touching the ceiling.

It was good to see the link to his picture and see that he is in good health with still the same cheery disposition. Viva John Lambros.

From Eric Godfrey
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 1:43 AM
Corwin, I can go you one better - I studied with John Lambros in Charleston, WVa in the 1950's! (I was in junior high & high school). I occasionally played chamber music with him later on when I visited my parents in Charleston in the 1960s and I think later (my mother was a cellist). I am delighted he is still teaching. I have never seen him in other than a cheerful mood, and he was quite a fixture in the Charleston Symphony for all my youth and then some.
From Sydney Menees
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 4:32 AM
hahaha! There's someone in my orchestra named Robert Chen!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 8:07 AM
The new London sound regulation is disturbing. What, does an alarm go off when an orchestra exceeds 85 decibels? And how loud is 85 decibels, anyway? Next they will fine the ocean for roaring too loudly, and the waterfalls for causing ear damage. Shut down the airline industry. Put a halt to all construction sites. Destroy all crying babies.

"Honey, you're simply going to have to stop raising your voice, or I'm going to call the noise police."

From William Wassum
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 12:41 PM
Congratulations and all the best to John Lambros! I remember Mr. Lambros when I played with the Charleston Symphony in the late '70s and the West Virginia Symphony in the '80s. I always admired his leadership and beautiful spun tone! I hope that I will still be teaching and mentoring when I am in my 80's. Wish I could have been at the concert!
From Scott 68
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 2:55 PM
repin and ehnes are the best on the planet for me right now and repin really has the tone thing goin on - they both need to record the brahms i cant wait, really cant
From William Eisenbarth
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 3:09 PM
Emily, perhaps you are too young to realize how serious loud sounds can handicap a musician. I have played in orchestra and played violin for 50 years, sitting in front of high-pitched piccolos and louder trumpets and now suffer from tinnitus. Now any loud noise makes my ears ring for hours and I often have to tell my wife “Honey, you're simply going to have to stop raising your voice.” It is about time someone steps in and protects us from damage that won’t show up until our later years and handicap us for the rest of our lives.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 4:16 PM
Sorry to hear about your ears, William. I've only played in an orchestra a short while, and I'm glad they have those plastic sound barriers up in front of the brass and percussion. Earplugs also seem like a good idea. I was upset at the thought of not being allowed to perform loudly. This still bothers me.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 4, 2007 at 11:24 PM
As you probably looked up, 85 decibels is about lawn mower at mowing position volume. "Hello royal sound marshall here, to be a royal pain. Where can I plug in her majesty's sound pressure metre?" I have a theory that proof taxes are too high is when you find yourself buying yourself a nanny.

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