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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 68

August 26, 2007 at 5:10 PM

Hello all—After a week’s relaxation exploring Arizona and the craziness of filing columns in advance or via a shaky Internet connection, sitting at my own desktop in my own office feels like a luxury!

Sedona was charming, the Grand Canyon astonishing, the Mogollon Rim refreshing and Hopiland and Navajoland austerely beautiful. But it’s always good to come home to get the cold shoulder from the cats, at least for a few hours. Then the snuggling begins….

Musician News

Maya Bogdanovic, a 25-year-old Serbian cellist, has won the first annual Aldo Parisot International Cello Competition. Bogdanovic was awarded a cash prize of $30,000, a solo concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and several concerto performances in South Korea. The competition concluded the fourth season of the Great Mountains International Music Festival and School in Gangwon Province in South Korea, where Parisot has been teaching.

The August issue of The Roving Report, the From the Top newsletter, notes that the radio show’s first-ever alumni get together was held this month in Aspen, Colorado. Twenty three alumni attending the Aspen Music Festival and School, along with 17 parents and siblings, gathered with host Christopher O'Riley and crew for an afternoon of food and fun. Pianist Wei-Han Wu reflected on his April 2000 appearance, an episode that featured the late violinist Isaac Stern: "When I think of my experience on From the Top, he is what I remember the most. Hearing what he had to say and seeing him working with the young musicians on the show is something I'll never forget."

9/20/07 - San Jose State University will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a free performance by the Cypress String Quartet in the school’s concert hall.

8/24/07Violinist Philippe Quint is performing in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony. In The Age’s pre-appearance profile, we learn about his defection from Russia, that his mother is “the Russian Andrew Lloyd Webber” and that he relished Dorothy DeLay’s gentle teaching style, which did not include the corporal punishment common in Russia.

8/23/07 - The Los Angeles Times gave a positive review to 22-year-old Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan, making his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut playing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2. “Winner of the International Jean Sibelius Competition in Helsinki, Finland, in 2000 (the youngest in its history) and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2005, Khachatryan first played in the Southland with the Minnesota Orchestra last year at UCLA and in Orange County… Poetic, introspective, effortlessly virtuosic, Khachatryan mined the classical lyricism of the concerto’s first movement, the sweet and sour nostalgia of the glorious slow movement and the fiery gypsy rhythms of the last. His sound was vibrant and rich, and his interpretation was mature, although surely it will deepen.”

Orchestra News

8/29/07 - The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas will be on their way to a 13-concert European tour, beginning with Aug. 29-30 appearances in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. Other highlights include the Proms, Hannover, Cologne and Berlin. Their final performances will be at Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival on Sept. 13-14.

8/22/07 – According to the CBC, the conductor of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra is suing some of its musicians, “saying they accused him of abuse, stalking musicians, working under the influence of alcohol and intentionally sabotaging performances…Conductor and artistic director Douglas Sanford said he was defamed in a union report that was sent to the American Federation of Musicians and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. He's seeking more than $200,000 in damages, claiming his reputation has been seriously damaged and he has suffered distress and embarrassment. He also wants the courts to order an injunction on further publication of the allegations or similar words. The defendants named in the suit include six members of the symphony's players committee.”

8/22/07 – The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph profiled the new Ocmulgee Symphony Orchestra and its prime mover, Middle Georgia College Director of Instrumental Music Chuck Quinn. “‘People everywhere like classical music,’ said Quinn. ‘If you draw a circle around Hawkinsville for 30 miles there have got to be 30,000 people. If we can get just 1 percent of them to come hear us play, we will have a full house. We will find our audience, and they will find us.’…Hawkinsville is more noted for harness racing and high school football teams than turning out violinists. So this is a real leap of faith up the chromatic scale. ‘I can’t swear there’s not one out there somewhere, but I don’t know of too many towns the size of Hawkinsville that have a symphony,’ said Quinn. The first notes of the five-concert inaugural season will be played Oct. 13.” The new orchestra’s name “comes from the Hitchiti Indian words ‘oki’ and ‘mulgis,’ which mean ‘bubbling waters.’ ‘We won’t represent a single city or county,’ said Quinn. ‘We want to be heard by people from everywhere the Ocmulgee River flows.’ ”

8/16/07 – Breaking with American tradition, the Seattle Symphony has announced that it has chosen not one, but four, concertmasters, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "'There's no such thing as four (concertmasters) at one symphony in the U.S. or even two,' said Gerard Schwarz, SSO music director. 'In Europe, it's the opposite.' The four are Frank Almond, who is also concertmaster at the Milwaukee Symphony; Emmanuelle Boisvert, concertmaster at the Detroit Symphony; Ani Kavafian, solo violinist and music professor at Yale University and Maria Larionoff, a Seattle Symphony violinist who has served as acting concertmaster since Ilka Talvi was fired three years ago. He sued for breach of contract and the case was settled out of court. Schwarz said he didn't believe working with four different part-time concertmasters would be confusing for an orchestra used to working with one. "They (concertmasters) all play in a similar style, and they're all great," Schwarz said. "I think it will be refreshing.” Apparently, the three outside concertmasters will continue with their present obligations.

Other Music News

The Colburn School, the performing arts institution located across from Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, celebrates the official opening of its expanded downtown campus in September. The expansion -- which more than doubles the size of The Colburn School’s facilities and features a new 200-seat concert hall, student housing, and public spaces that include a music library, plaza, and café -- will allow the school to grow its programming, serve additional students, and offer more public performances per year.

8/24/07 – The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle warns its readers not to expect more pop music at Tanglewood. “‘We have an artistic mission, we have a pedagogic mission, out here,’ said Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, responding to calls by some Berkshire residents for more Popular Artists Series concerts. ‘The principal activity,’ he said, ‘is going to remain the Boston Symphony and the Tanglewood Music Center,’ the BSO’s internationally recognized school. The facilities are in use full-time for classical music, and ‘I would never violate the sanctity of the BSO’s eight weeks,’ he said. Tanglewood, Volpe declared, is also ‘at an enormous competitive disadvantage’ if it should want more pop than James Taylor’s annual concert and a July Fourth event, both of which occur outside the eight-week classical season. Because of pop artists’ financial demands, he said, most pop concerts don’t even earn money for a place like Tanglewood.”

8/23/07 - The first annual Grafenegg Music Festival will take place through September 9 on the estate of the 17th-century Grafenegg Castle near Vienna. Its first artistic director is pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, who will also perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. Also participating are the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta, the Czech Philharmonic under Zdenek Mácal, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Philippe Herreweghe, and the Tonkünstler Orchestra under Krzyzstof Penderecki, this year’s Grafenegg composer in residence.

8/21/07 – Bard College Conservatory of Music in Upstate New York announced that it is launching a preparatory division for children ages 5-18. The curriculum consists of weekly lessons, musicianship and chamber music training. Preparatory students and their families receive free admission to concerts and master classes at Bard, and are allowed to use the college’s athletic facilities. In this first year, enrollment is limited to violin, cello, flute, piano and guitar.

8/21/07 – The Pensacola News Journal included a report on a one-week summer music camp at the University of West Florida, which completed its first season with a Student Showcase on July 27. “Professor Kyle Marrero, director of fine and performing arts and chairman of the music department and the artistic director of Pensacola Opera, founded and directed UWF’s High School Music Camp. …This was the camp’s first year, and Marrero said a second summer music camp will be scheduled for next year. ‘We’re toying with the idea of expanding it to two weeks next year because the kids love it so much.’ ” UWF Director of Bands Richard Glaze “was one of 12 instructors provided by the college and Pensacola Opera. ‘We covered everything from Renaissance music to modern-day pop,’ Glaze said. ‘But we concentrated mostly on classical music.’ He said classes included music theory, technology and history, choir, orchestra and jazz.”

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