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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 72

September 9, 2007 at 3:41 PM

Musician News

Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music reports that Steven Moeckel, DMA student and concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, has released Life Goes On, a recording of violin works by Don Freund, an IU composition professor. Freund, who performs as pianist on the CD, composed these works—ranging from folk to rock ‘n roll to classical-inspired—over a period of 25 years.

9/26/07 – Violinist Nicola Benedetti will solo in the world premiere of John Tavener's violin concerto Lalishri. Andrew Litton will the lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

9/24/07 - The Pacifica Quartet will perform the Beethoven String Quartet cycle over eighteen free concerts during the fall and spring at Columbia University in New York. Their first performance, on September 24, will be of Opus 18, No. 3. The concerts will be free and held during the lunch hour period.

9/7/07 – The Washington Post notes that the Kronos Quartet will perform a 9/11 memorial concert. "Kronos Quartet's ‘Awakening,' which the group will perform Friday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center [on the University of Maryland campus], premiered last fall, a sonic quilt inspired by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and woven from traditional and contemporary music from more than a dozen countries. “Violinist David Harrington muses: "Part of the work of Kronos all these years is extending what's available. ‘Awakening' is a good example, with music from Iraq, Iran, India and Uzbekistan."

9/4/07 - Violinist Anton Polezhayev has withdrawn the sex discrimination lawsuit he filed against the New York Philharmonic in July 2005, according to “Polezhayev, aged 29 when the lawsuit was filed, claimed the orchestra fired him in February 2005 for gender-biased reasons, as it granted tenure to or advanced at least seven female violinists. The Leningrad-born musician, who joined the orchestra's second-violin section in September 2002, told the Times that he failed his 17-month probation in spite of favorable assessments, including one in which, he claimed, personnel manager Carl R. Schiebler called his work ‘perfect’.''

Orchestra News

The Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association and Local 308 of the American Federation of Musicians have ratified a new contract that covers wages and work rules through June 30, 2010. Retroactive to July 1, 2007, it states that concert and rehearsal rates in the first year of the agreement will increase by 20 percent. In year two, concert rates will rise by an additional 8 percent and rehearsal rates by 10 percent. In the third year concert rates will go up by 7 percent and rehearsal rates by 10 percent. Pension payments will increase from 4 percent to 6 percent in year one, 8 percent in year two, and 10 percent in year three. The SBSOA has also agreed to begin contributing to the musicians’ Health and Welfare Fund. Travel compensation, which had not been adjusted during the last two contract cycles, will increase by approximately 100 percent.

9/7/07 - The New York Times reports that, when the Lucerne Festival Orchestra arrives at Carnegie Hall next month, the much-heralded Claudio Abbado will not be with them. “The Italian conductor said yesterday he had canceled all engagements in the near future because of poor health. ... Mr. Abbado, who is 74, gave no specifics about his condition but said he was following his doctors' advice." Abbado had surgery for cancer in 2000, and appeared fatigued at times during recent rehearsals in Lucerne, Switzerland, "but festival officials said he appeared stronger than in previous summers ... Mr. Abbado... had not conducted [at Carnegie Hall] since his last American tour, shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.”

9/7/07 – The Boston Symphony’s European tour is going very well, writes Jeremy Eichler in the Boston Globe. "I caught up with the orchestra in Berlin, where it played Monday night in the city's legendary Philharmonie and was broadcast live on German radio. I then followed the orchestra to Paris, where on Tuesday night, the musicians fanned out in crisp black tie across the stage of the city's Salle Pleyel in the fashionable eighth arrondissement…An electrifying reading of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra drew prolonged applause from the Berliners, who called [Music Director James] Levine back for seven curtain calls. ... In Paris, the program was Berlioz's ‘Damnation of Faust.' ... Five curtain calls later, the BSO was boarding large buses parked in front of the hall. Next stop: London."

9/6/07 – According to the
Detroit Free Press
, "Talks between musicians and management of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra continued past 10 p.m. Wednesday as the two sides tried to hammer out a new musicians contract that would prevent the players from going on strike for the first time since 1987... The parties, joined for the first time by a state mediator, had not spoken since talks broke off a month ago. The previous contract expired Monday."

9/6/07 – The Nashville Symphony has named 38-year-old Giancarlo Guerrero as its next music director, reports The Tennessean. “Guerrero, whose star has been rising in recent years, has served as music director in Eugene, Oregon, and was a staff conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra. Nashville has been without a chief conductor since the death of Kenneth Schermerhorn in April 2005.”

9/5/07 - The Tulsa Symphony is about to start its second season. But there's a sudden change of leadership, according to the Tulsa World. "The orchestra's founder, retired neurosurgeon Frank Letcher, resigned his positions as the orchestra's executive director and chairman Thursday."

9/2/07 - The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) notes that the Phoenix Symphony is celebrating its 60th anniversary. “In the beginning, "the 77 musicians held their first rehearsal Sept. 18, 1947, in the North High School band room. That season, orchestra members were paid $1.50 for each rehearsal, and $5 for performances. The first performance was a sellout ... The review in The Arizona Republic was a rave ... They came to Symphony Hall in 1972 with their first important conductor, Mexican-born Eduardo Mata." Subsequent music directors included Theo Alcantara and Hermann Michael before current Music Director Michael Christie was appointed in 2005. Nilsen points out that "with a budget of $11.7 million, the symphony is the largest performing-arts organization in the state, and it has run in the black for four straight years.”

Other Music News

9/4/07 – Hugo Chavez obviously believes in the power of the press, according to The Guardian (UK). "The Venezuelan leader announced the creation of 'Misión Música', a government-funded effort to give tuition and instruments to 1 million impoverished children. He made the announcement on his Sunday television show, Aló Presidente, after reading out rapturous British reviews of the youth orchestra's performances last month at London's Royal Albert Hall."

9/4/07 - The Los Angeles Times notes that all is not well at the Colburn School, a Southern California musical fixture, where the school "has a big, new building, a new president, 100 live-in students at its Colburn Conservatory of Music, and a fight on its hands. Parents of the 1,500-plus kids attending the Colburn's popular community-based School of Performing Arts division say they're being shortchanged as attention is shifting to professional training for the conservatory students."

From Linda L
Posted on September 10, 2007 at 7:31 PM
Woah, Anton Polezhayev... How the heck did he fail his probation?!

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