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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 63

August 8, 2007 at 11:27 PM

8/6/07 – The Orlando Sentinel ran an interesting letter that recounted a performance Jascha Heifetz gave at the writer’s high school in the late 1930s. He recounted how Heifetz, partway through the program, broke the violin he was playing over his knee, then carried on, this time playing his Strad.

There’s no elaboration as to why Heifetz did this, though the writer’s point was that interesting young people in classical music is an effective tool for diverting them from criminal pursuits.


8/5/07 - Why is no one commemorating the death anniversary of Joseph Joachim, wonders the Boston Globe.

"Composers of any era can be immortalized through their scores, but posterity is not as kind to performers who lived before the advent of recordings. The Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim was arguably the most important fiddle player of the 19th century, and Aug. 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of his death. But don't worry if you've made other plans and can't attend the centenary tributes. There are virtually none, at least not in this country. Almost no one seems to have remembered."

Musician News

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of three new violinists: Fatima Aaziza, a native of Poland currently pursuing graduate work at The Juilliard School; Wendy Y. Chen, who holds a performance certificate from Shanghai Conservatory in her native China as well as a bachelor’s degree from Florida’s Harid Conservatory and a master’s from The Juilliard School; and Maya Shiraishi, a native of Japan with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tokyo National University and prior experience in the Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Opera Theatre. Upstage Magazine offers more complete biographical details.

Violist Christoph Huebner has joined Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. The New York-based conductorless orchestra announced that it plans to hire an additional violin and viola within the fairly near future.

8/9/07 – According to the Nhan Dan newspaper in Vietnam, violinist Bui Cong Duy will perform at the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House. A graduate of the Tchaikovsky Music Institute in Moscow, Duy now teaches the violin at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music and is a member of the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1997, he won the Tchaikovsky International Music Competition for violinists under 18.

8/5/07 - Violinist Stefan Jackiw, who made his New York Philharmonic debut last month in the annual Concerts in the Parks, replaced violinist Janine Jansen at the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky Memorial Concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Music Center in western Massachusetts. Jackiw is a Boston native.

8/3/07 – Violinist Hilary Hahn performed at Ravinia with folksinger-songwriter Josh Ritter. The Chicago Sun-Times reported an interesting story behind their collaboration: her aunt and his parents are both neuroscience colleagues who introduced them.

Orchestra News

8/7/07 – The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the former finance director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra admitted to stealing $160,000 from the group, “in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence and paying $24,000 in restitution... Robert David Lee, a 14-year symphony employee who had earned $42,500 a year, stole the money from July 2001 through September 2005."

8/5/07 – The Orange County Register looked at the offerings in Orange County's upcoming season and notes that, "for the most part, the new music that is being played isn't all that challenging (not that it has to be). But there is, and always has been, a huge lacuna in the modern repertoire that is performed here in O.C., and it makes it difficult for listeners to hear any new music with a perspective that will allow them to comprehend it or place it in some sort of historical continuum." Specifically, the writer examined the offerings of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Symphony.

Other Music Issues

7/31/07 – The New York Daily News reports from the New York Jets training camp: “Instead of blasting hip-hop, rap and hard rock on their sideline speakers . . . the Jets have altered their playlist, mixing in classical music - namely Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - with their old standbys. It makes for an almost surreal setting: 300-pound men crashing into each other, with gentle melodies in the background.” Apparently, head coach Eric Mangini, “always looking for a psychological or physical edge” took inspiration from reports that listening to Mozart can stimulate learning. “The Jets usually play Mozart during the low-intensity drills, when the team splits up into individual units and the coaches are stressing mental work over physical.” The article adds, “It's no secret what music the players prefer. ‘Mozart, Beethoven, guys aren't feeling that,’ linebacker Jonathan Vilma said, smiling.”

From Bill Busen
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 2:38 AM
Heifetz is also the only performer I can think of who once had his violin broken over his head for laughs after his performance. (It was a famous benefit concert at which many other legendary artists committed similar shenanigans. Heifetz was dressed as a hillbilly. If memory serves, he was supposed to be auditioning for the music school being benefitted.)
From Bill Rose
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 2:11 PM
The link to the Orlando Sentinal for the Heifitz story links to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette theft story instead.
From Darcy Lewis
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 4:11 PM
I've corrected the Orlando Sentinel link. Thanks for pointing it out!


From Jim W. Miller
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 4:41 PM
I don't believe the smashing the violin story. There's a combo of too much info and too little. Plus, for what reason? It rings false.

The movie he mentions, I think it's that one, a gentleman started a blog here saying he was a body double stand-in for Heifetz in some of the scenes. He was a college student at a college some of it was filmed at. He'd seen clips of the movie somewhere and wanted to get the whole thing. I said put the question in the main discussion section for more responses. The blog disappeared, and discussion sec. post never appeared. He's sent me two or three emails over the last couple years that to me sound vaguely confused, mainly confused by technology. I told him to get in touch with the Heifetz Society Laurie mentioned in a blog once. I think he's a retired architect in Atlanta, but I'm not sure.

From Mara Gerety
Posted on August 9, 2007 at 6:36 PM
Wow, I remember playing foosball with Stefan Jackiw in the basement game room at Encore.....
From Bill Busen
Posted on August 10, 2007 at 1:16 AM
Toscanini, An Intimate Portrait by Samuel Chotzinoff, pg 119
From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on August 10, 2007 at 11:38 AM
Even 100 years after his death the 1th violinconcerto has never been recorded. Only his 2th has been recorded 3 times, Rachel Barton Pine, Elmar Oliveira, Aaron Rosand and his 3th once, Takako Nishizaki for Naxos. So after 100 year a good reason to record the 1th (Rachel Barton Pine perhaps? who also recorded the 2th). Perhaps the 1th is not the best, but now we can not compare those 3.

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