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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 51

June 28, 2007 at 2:57 AM

Musician Newsa

6/26/07 – In an interview with the Korea Times, violinist Joshua Bell shares the news that he is drawn to composition and, in fact, his first solo violin sonata will come out in 2008.

6/25/07 – The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Constantino Scudiere, a longtime lawyer for the state and a talented violinist, has died at 99. “Music was among Scudiere's first loves. Before embarking on a legal career, he played violin in a pit band - a group of musicians that provided music for silent movies. But when dialogue was incorporated into motion pictures, Scudiere was suddenly looking for a new career. ‘He lost his job because they came up with this newfangled thing called “talkies”,' said P aul Scudiere, Constantino's only son.”

6/23/07 – Violinist Dara Morales will be heading to Philadelphia from Salt Lake City to assume the post of assistant principal second of the Philadelphia Orchestra, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Her husband, cellist Jesus Morales, will become principal cello of Philadelphia's Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and will take care of the couple’s infant daughter. The pair just performed “Morales vs. Morales,” a farewell recital that acknowledges Jesus’ love of boxing.

6/22/07 – The Boston Globe reports: “Efrain Guigui, 81, a former conductor of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, died Monday in Los Angeles from complications of cancer, said his son, Martin. Mr. Guigui led the orchestra from 1974 to 1989, notably taking the orchestra on a tour of all of Vermont's 251 towns to celebrate the group's 50th anniversary. During his tenure, Mr. Guigui, a clarinetist, was honored with the Alice Ditson award from Columbia University, which is considered to be the conductors' equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. In 1989, the Vermont Council on the Arts presented him with the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts ... After leaving Vermont, Mr. Guigui did guest conducting in South America and started a youth orchestra in Mexico, his son said. He was invited to conduct in many places, including the Juilliard School in New York.”

Orchestra News

6/25/07 - Musicians of the Pasadena Symphony are protesting plans by the orchestra to merge with the Pasadena Pops Orchestra. The musicians union charges of unfair labor practices and grievances, reports the Los Angeles Times.

6/23/07 - The dispute between musicians and management of the Omaha Symphony is ratcheting up, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The musicians claim that the salary of the orchestra's CEO rose an average of 20% over the past three years, as the musicians were held to a 2-3% bump over the same period. The orchestra management acknowledges that its CEO's pay is nearly twice that of some comparable ensembles, but says that much of the raise came through incentive pay.

Other Music News

6/26/07 – The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: “Classical music disappeared from Milwaukee radio today as WFMR-FM (106.9) flipped to smooth jazz. It's part of a chain reaction that started with WKTI-FM (94.5) dumping its morning show to target younger listeners, which led WJZI-FM (93.3) to drop smooth jazz to target disenfranchised WKTI listeners. Now it's WFMR's turn. General manager Tom Joerres explains that the switch came because of the ‘opportunity’ presented by WJZI's format flip. ‘We gave it a 10-year run,’ says Joerres of the classical music format, a rarity for commercial stations. ‘The average audience on ‘FMR is 60-plus.’ ” The article adds: “In the first-quarter Arbitron radio ratings, among the 25-to-54 group, WFMR was in 22nd place, tied with sports-talker WSSP-AM (1250), while WJZI was in 14th. Among all listeners 12 and older, WJZI was tied for 11th place with WQBW-FM (97.3), better known as ‘The Brew.’ WFMR was in 17th.”

6/24/07 – But the radio news in Washington is much better, reports the Washington Post: "WETA's return to classical this January after a two-year experiment with news and talk is looking like a ratings winner: The station (90.9 FM) saw its audience more than double in the first Arbitron report since the format change. And, equally important for perennially cashapped public radio, the size and number of listener donations to the station soared with the switch back to classical."

6/24/07 – The Dallas Morning News contained a profile of Kris Chesky, a trumpeter and scholar who studies hearing loss and stress injuries in musicians. “At the University of North Texas Center for Music and Medicine, he helps musicians with playing-related health problems like hearing loss. He's published studies on the wrist impairments of clarinet players, the painful hands of pianists and the damaged mouths of trumpeters. And he's using technology to measure the exact sound levels classical musicians expose themselves to. As many as 50 percent of music professionals suffer at least some hearing loss, according to a UNT survey. A recent Northwestern University study found that almost all incoming freshman music majors already have a playing-related physical ailment, Dr. Chesky says.” The article adds: “Part of Dr. Chesky's mission is to inform the music education industry – from elementary music teachers to graduate programs – that it isn't too late. The human ear can withstand 85 decibels of sound, about the volume of a factory, for eight hours at a time. By contrast, 100 decibels, or about the sound of a subway car, can start to damage the ear after only 15 minutes. Then the ear needs rest.”

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on June 28, 2007 at 5:35 AM
Jesus Morales and his wife performing "“Morales vs. Morales,” a farewell recital that acknowledges Jesus’ love of boxing" is strange to read all the way around.
From E. Smith
Posted on June 28, 2007 at 1:35 PM
The pair just performed “Morales vs. Morales,” a farewell recital that acknowledges Jesus’ love of boxing.

I had to read that three times before I got it.

I live in Philly and I've never heard of the Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, although their website says they're in their 15th years...!

From Richard Conviser
Posted on June 28, 2007 at 1:34 PM
Thank you for running the story of Efran Guigui's passing. I had the great pleasure of playing under Guigui (which is what he wanted us to call him) in the Vermont Symphony from 1981-1989. In addition to our playing the standard repertoire, we each year had a composer in residence for a concert series, allowing us to work with each on a (contemporary) work--such luminaries as Alan Hovahness, Eileen Tafee Zwilich, and David Diamond. This was a great opportunity for an orchestra that was small and out of the way that drew its musicians from throughout New England. I felt immediately welcomed by Guigui's warmth and humor. I'll miss him.

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