Printer-friendly version

Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 69

August 29, 2007 at 4:51 PM

8/28/07 – In marking the second anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, many news sources are running articles on the effect of the aftermath on the city’s famed musicians. Here is a link to an excellent report by the BBC News.


8/27/07 – More on perfect pitch: Musicians and singers work for years to develop their sense of pitch, but few can name a musical note without a reference tone," writes Reuters reporter Julie Steenhuysen. "U.S. researchers on Monday said one gene may be the key to that coveted ability. Only 1 in 10,000 people have perfect or absolute pitch."

Dr. Jane Gitschier of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues conducted a three-year study "that led researchers to conclude that one gene, or perhaps a few, may be behind this talent. Gitschier said those with perfect pitch were able to correctly identify both piano tones and pure computer-generated tones that were devoid of the distinctive sounds of any musical instrument." The study also found that pitch perception goes sharp with age and "the most commonly misidentified note ... is a G sharp. That may be because G sharp is overshadowed by A, its neighbor on the scale."

Musician News

8/26/07The Scotsman profiled Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, noting that she has recently received the loan of a Strad. Her new Deutsche Grammophon album, Nicola Benedetti Plays Vaughan Williams and Tavener, will be released on September 24.

8/24/07 – Violinist Helen Nightengale performed Kodaly's Duo for Violin and Cello with her husband, Lynn Harrell, at La Jolla Music Society SummerFest's “An Evening With Lynn Harrell,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The circumstances weren't ideal – Nightengale had an injured finger. But the couple succeeded in conveying the rhythmic and harmonic adventurousness of the 1914 piece influenced by Eastern European folk music.”

8/23/07 - Johannesburg metro police on Thursday denied "laying a finger" on a violist who claimed they assaulted her, breaking a bone in her hand, reports the Independent Online of Cape Town, South Africa. “Petite Marjan Vonk, 49, said she was pulled over while driving on the M1 freeway shortly before 9am on Tuesday. She was talking on her cellphone at the time. A male officer allegedly pulled her out of her car, put her in their car, dangled handcuffs in front of her and asked her if she knew what the inside of Leeuwkop prison looked like. They gave her a R500 fine for talking on her cellphone and claimed she resisted arrest.”

8/23/07 – The Community Press in suburban Cincinnati notes that, “On certain occasions, patrons of the Chic-fil-A restaurant in Union Township may have had the pleasure of hearing classical music performed by a world-class violinist.” It turns out that violinist Emma Sutton, daughter of the restaurant’s owner, has been busking there since she was 11. Now a junior at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Sutton is currently in China performing at the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy.

8/23/07 – The Malaysia Star ran a brief profile of 7-year-old violin prodigy Zhi Tong. The article notes that the Malaysia Book of Records last year recognized the girl as the youngest violinist in the country to release an album.

Orchestra News

8/29/07 - The German orchestra Osnabrueck Symphony will perform in Iran this week, reports the CBC. Last year the Teheran Symphony performed in Germany. "’It's a very small step in improving relations between the people in the two countries’…As required in Iran, the female German musicians will wear headscarves — as the Iranian female musicians did when they visited Osnabrueck — and the program was submitted to Iranian authorities ahead of time.”

8/27/07 – The Toronto Globe & Mail offers more details on the lawsuit against six Saskatoon Symphony players, filed by the orchestra’s music director, no less. "With rehearsals for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra's fall season scheduled to begin on Sept. 8, conductor and artistic director Douglas Sanford and a group of orchestra members are embroiled in a bitter dispute. A report by the union steward earlier this year was highly critical of Sanford, alleging a long list of abuses from haranguing players to choosing wildly fast tempos. Sanford, in turn, filed a $200,000 defamation suit on Aug. 14, arguing against the allegations."

8/26/07 – The New York Times profiled Scotland’s "This hottest of hot tickets is an Edinburgh band called the Really Terrible Orchestra. And were you to ask what it does, the answer would be that with true Scottish candor it lives up to its name, or rather down to it: an orchestra that plays terribly."

8/25/07 – The Honolulu Symphony opened its season with Sarah Chang soloing in the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Conductor Andreas Delfs made his first appearance as the orchestra’s music director.

8/24/07 – A controversial new book, In ``Das Reichsorchester,'' or ``The Reich's Orchestra,'' is making the rounds, reports The Guardian (UK). “Berlin-based Canadian historian Misha Aster writes that the relationship between the Nazis and the orchestra was a complex one in which each side exploited the other - although Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels held the upper hand over the orchestra and its star conductor, Wilhelm Furtwangler. The Berlin Philharmonic became a privileged servant of Nazi propaganda after Adolf Hitler's 1933 takeover. The pact with the Nazi regime resulted from the terrible financial situation of the orchestra since the middle of the 1920s, a certain feeling of superiority on the part of the orchestra collective and Goebbel's vision of cultural propaganda."

From Albert Justice
Posted on August 29, 2007 at 5:03 PM
I was checking out some of the things on Katrina in the media elsewhere, and the following came to mind.

The backward slide of culture, economy and the ensuing human crisis in the mountains of central Appalachia though not effected by a hurricane, have been equally epochal and tragic--perhaps more so given national blinders.

'The War on Poverty has become real now--it's a war using poverty.'

From Samuel Thompson
Posted on August 29, 2007 at 5:51 PM
Darcy- Thank you for posting the BBC article.


From Scott 68
Posted on August 30, 2007 at 12:58 PM
i saw some Nicola Benedetti stuff on you tube that was really good
From Jack Krumbein
Posted on August 30, 2007 at 3:39 PM
My greatgrandfather was Hans Blechschmidt. He was Pablo Sarasate's accompanist, chief conductor of the Hamburg Opera and in 1932 conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. He was also known as Germany's greatest Wagner interpeter. When Hitler came to power the Nazi's tried recruiting him to become their state conductor in Berlin over Furtwengler. He hated the Nazi's... he organized a group to tour the United States and "defected" in San Francisco. Became the conductor of the San Francisco/Los Angeles Opera Association (their name at the time) and eventually made his way to Los Angeles. He died in 1954 and is buried in Santa Monica. Everyone has a choice... he chose to do the right thing over his career. Furtwengler and Karajan were wrong in closing their eyes as to what the Nazi's were doing in order to further their career's. This was on my Father's mother's side... on my Father's father's side it was a tragic story of German-Jewish persecutions and escapes, hunger and suffering I cannot even imagine... many Krumbein's were murdered during the war... there are no excuses for genocide... or for a population pretending not to know... or not bearing up arms against its governments when truth and righteousness demand it...
From Bill Rose
Posted on August 30, 2007 at 8:53 PM
Sign me up for the RTO - I think I might qualify.
From Patrick Hu
Posted on August 31, 2007 at 11:31 AM
The Sarah Chang concert was most exhilarating! The Symphony also headlined Tchaikovsky 5 which was absolutely stunning!

I took Sarah and Maestro Delfs out to dinner (along with some musicians etc) and I got to chat with Sarah about everything! She is an amazing personality!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine