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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 66

August 20, 2007 at 6:19 AM

Musician News

8/18/07 - Violinist Philippe Quint will solo with the Queensland Orchestra in Bruch’s First Violin Concerto.

8/15/07 – Ralph Matson, concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, soloed with that orchestra in Spohr’s Violin Concerto No. 8, reports the Deseret Morning News. The paper notes that Matson takes an annual solo turn with the orchestra, where he has been one of four concertmasters for 22 years.

8/14/07 - The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) features an article about an envisioned rapprochement between classical music and surfing, a sport whose stereotypical accompaniment is the Beach Boys. Violinist Richard Tognetti, leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and an exponent of “what he calls friction-free surfing, in which the fins are removed from surfboards,” is also working on a “collaborative film project, Musica Surfica, exploring the intersection of so-called highbrow classical music with grassroots surf culture.” “For my generation,” says Tognetti, “there are a lot of us who do not feel the clunk of the gear change as we go from great pop to great classical. I’d much rather listen to great popular music than bad classical. But some people stubbornly stick to the worst 19th-century opera rather than go to a great Radiohead concert.”

8/13/07The Georgian Times, an English-language newspaper in the former Soviet republic, profiled Georgian-born violinist Lisa Batiashvili, who now lives in Germany. The piece includes a Q&A that touches on her feelings for her homeland.

8/13/07 – Violinist Sara Soltau, a recent high school graduate, was the Louisville Jazz Society's 2007 Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop Scholarship winner. As part of her scholarship, Sara got to attend one of two weeklong workshops last month at the University of Louisville. Here is the story.

Orchestra News

8/16/07 - The Detroit News speculates about Leonard Slatkin as the next music director for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “His two recent appearances in Detroit, leading Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony at Orchestra Hall in May and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony at Meadow Brook Music Festival in July, excited everybody -- Slatkin, the musicians, audiences.” Slatkin would not be available until the 2009-10 season at the earliest. He recently began a three-year tenure as music advisor to the Nashville Symphony, and wraps up his long-running term at the helm of the National Symphony Orchestra in 2008.

8/15/07 - The Philadelphia Inquirer reports "In a surprise reversal of what appeared to be a deteriorating relationship between the Philadelphia Orchestra management and outgoing music director Christoph Eschenbach, the orchestra announced late yesterday that Eschenbach will have extended residencies in Philadelphia through the 2009-2010 season."

8/15/07 – The Australian Chamber Orchestra has had another windfall, reports the Adelaide Times. “….A $1 million 1729 Giueseppe Guarneri filius Andreae cello has been bought by an anonymous benefactor and is on loan to the ACO. To be played by principal cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, it is a close relative of the $10 million Carrodus violin, made by Guarneri's son Guarnerius del Gesu, which was bought by a benefactor last year for the use of ACO leader Richard Tognetti.”

8/14/07 - The government of North Korea has extended an invitation to the New York Philharmonic to give a performance in the nation's capital city, according to "We have just very recently received an inquiry about the possibility of [the orchestra] performing in Pyongyang," Philharmonic director of public relations Eric Latzky told the Reuters news agency yesterday. "It came from an independent representative as an official invitation of the Ministry of Culture."

8/14/07 - The Guardian (London) reports that, via the popular Second Life online digital world, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic “has created a virtual, 3-D version of its concert hall and on September 14 users of the website will be able to attend a concert led by the orchestra’s chief conductor, Vasily Petrenko.” The ensemble will be the first to perform a professional concert on Second Life. On the site, users from around the globe interact and purchase goods and services, just as in the real world; in this instance, 100 tickets to the Royal Liverpool concert will be available to the site’s 8 million users by lottery. “Users will sit in the virtual concert hall and watch a live video and audio stream of the event, after which they will be able to go to the bar for a live Q&A session, at which the conductor will be represented by his avatar (animated character).

8/14/07 - The Modesto Bee reports that the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, which has long performed at local high schools and colleges, has a new home: the Gallo Center for the Arts, in the orchestra’s California hometown. “The venue will showcase homegrown talent with its four resident companies. The Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Townsend Opera Players, Central West Ballet and the Modesto Community Concert Association have been a part of the city’s cultural life for decades. … The groups helped build audiences for the arts and generated support for the dream of the arts center.” The Modesto Symphony opens the new Gallo Center with a September 27 gala concert featuring Broadway diva Patti LuPone; the symphony then launches its own season on October 5 & 6.

8/12/07 – The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on the increase in African-American musicians in classical music: “[N]ewly compiled evidence shows that black musicians doubled their ranks in the Top 25 American orchestras from 1995-2005. Yet blacks still comprise just a little more than 2 percent of those orchestras.” The article discusses the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s new program, the Orchestral Training Program for African-American Musicians, “which aims to bring more blacks into the highest echelons of classical music,” as well as the “Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which was created 10 years ago to help black and Latino musicians break into classical music.” The article relies heavily on data provided by the American Symphony Orchestra League that charts the changing demographic in American orchestras. Additionally, interviews with black musicians offer more personal perspectives on the scene and the challenges that affect the number of blacks participating in classical music.

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