September 2, 2007 at 7:23 PMHappy belated birthday to Itzhak Perlman, who celebrated his 62nd birthday on 8/31/07!
8/31/07 - The cello is becoming the preferred instrument among many experimental rock bands, forward-thinking composers, and promoters of avant-garde concert series, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor. “This past June, at the Bang on a Can Marathon, an annual festival of new music in New York, cellists were the backbone of several of the headlining groups including Real Quiet, a chamber trio consisting of cello, piano, and percussion; Odd Appetite, a cello and percussion duo inspired by Balinese gamelan and South Indian music; and the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the organization's house band, which features the amplified cello of Wendy Sutter.”
According to the article, “rock musicians are becoming more aware of the cello's range and see it as an alternative to the violin, with its folk fiddling or jazz associations. ‘Because it's not saddled with bluegrass, “le jazz hot,” or any of those things the violin has, you can put the cello into an indie-rock situation and it doesn't have baggage’, says [cellist Erik] Friedlander, who has performed with indie-rockers such as the Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice.”
David Torns has been named assistant conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. A San Diego native who holds degrees in violin performance and orchestral conducting from the Blair School of Music and West Virginia University, respectively, Torns came to Baton Rouge in 2003 as music director of the BRSO’s Louisiana Youth Orchestras.
The Amarillo Symphony has announced the appointment of twelve new musicians for 2007-08, including Daina Redpath, assistant principal second violin and Noah Littlejohn, assistant principal cello.
9/3/07 – Violinist Christopher Karp will perform in the traditional Karp Family Labor Day Concert that opens the concert season at the University of Wisconsin School of Music each year. But this year, he’ll be playing piano, not violin. The program includes Liszt's Second Elegy for Cello and Piano (cellist son Parry and pianist father Howard); the third movement from Georges Enescu's Sonata No. 2 in C major for cello and piano (Parry & Howard); Liszt's Grand Concert Piece on Themes from Mendelssohn's Songs without Words for two pianos (husband and wife pianists Howard and Frances Karp); Joel Hoffman's Cello Sonata (Parry and brother Christopher, who usually plays violin); and Ernest Bloch's Suite for Viola and Piano performed by son Parry and mother Frances. Part of the program is dedicated to UW violinist Vartan Manoogian, who died unexpectedly in July.
8/30/07 – This weekend, teen violinist Eugene Ugorski will play the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. In 2002, then a preteen, Ugorski played a single movement of the work with the orchestra.
8/30/07 - Internationally renowned violinist and recording artist Chee-Yun has been named Artist in Residence at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas, effective in August 2007. She served as Guest Artist in Residence at the Meadows School for the spring 2007 semester.
8/27/07 – The Associated Press ran a local interest story about a Michigan violinist, Julie Ann Code, and her journey toward finding the right violin. In her case, it was a 1914 violin by G.W. Palmer, a local luthier.
8/26/07 – The Scotsman is reporting the news that will “break countless male hearts”: “Nicola Benedetti has found love. Scotland's most famous classical musician has admitted in an exclusive interview with Scotland on Sunday that she is ‘not entirely single’. The glamorous 20-year-old has said in the past that she was simply too busy for any romance - she practises her violin for six hours a day - and speculated that boys might be intimidated by her fame and talent.”
8/30/07 – The San Antonio Express-News is reporting that neither side gave ground this week when contract talks resumed between the San Antonio Symphony's management and musicians. The current contract expires this weekend, and musicians have already authorized their leaders to call a strike at any time after that. In the short term, it appears that talks will continue, but little progress is evident. “Under the current contract, base salary this season is $1,000 a week for 26 weeks. Management's current offer would pay $1,040 a week for 28 weeks in the final year of a three-year contract.”
8/29/07 – According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has launched a new $400 million fund-raising campaign, "the largest in the organization's history. The campaign would pay for renovations at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and would boost the organization's endowment, which, at about $400 million, is already the biggest in the orchestra world." BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe "said …that the BSO plans to replace the Symphony Hall floor and to uncover and restore windows above the second balcony ... Social spaces ... will be renovated. Backstage, the cramped locker rooms for performers will be upgraded, and Symphony Hall's mechanical systems largely replaced.”
8/29/07 – PlaybillArts.com reports that the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is selling on eBay a bundle of tickets to its gala opener with Yo-Yo Ma next month, which has been sold out since April. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the orchestra's education programs. “The winning bidder will receive two tickets to the performance (valued at C$300), two tickets to the gala reception (C$350) and two backstage passes; bidding starts at C$350. In May, the orchestra auctioned off a similar package on eBay for over C$1,000. Bidding started at C$300 and included a pair of concert tickets, limousine service and a backstage pass for the same concert.”
And yes, the cello is definitely a rock-worthy instrument. Just check out Matt Haimovitz. I actually know two different guys who've formed their own rock cello groups. :)
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