September 27, 2007 at 3:51 PM
9/25/07 – The Seattle Times notes that it has been a month since the Seattle Symphony announced that it would become the first American orchestra with four permanent concertmasters. And now the season has begun. "Will it be a season of musical chairs, with inconsistent leadership and a series of communications challenges? Or one in which the four violinists energize the strings and the orchestra as a whole with new musical leadership?"
The article offers more insights into the four: noted chamber musician and teacher Ani Kavafian, Detroit Symphony concertmaster Emmanuelle Boisvert, Milwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond and the Seattle Symphony's Maria Larionoff. Kavafian, who played the season opener, has a son who just graduated from an area university, so she was already fairly familiar with the city, for example.
The article also addresses the theory that the ultimate goal is to make Larionoff the sole concertmaster eventually. Music Director Gerard Schwarz refutes this suggestion.
9/25/07 – The parent of Minnesota Public Radio has bought a radio station in Miami. The question on everyone’s mind is whether they will convert the station to a classical format. "Miami is the largest city in the country that doesn't have a classical music service. It's also a larger city than most, and since we are one of the major classical music and arts producers in the world, and the largest in the United States, making sure we can get our programming out to people is key, and this was an opportunity to enhance our ability to send our programming to the major cities."
10/4/07 – For the first time, From the Top will visit Bozeman, MT, to do a taping, which will also benefit the Classics for Kids Foundation.
9/26/07 – Violinist Vadim Repin performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Here is a link to hear Music Director and violinist Pinchas Zukerman talk about the concerto.
9/25/07 – Now that a new crop of MacArthur “geniuses” has been announced (including soprano Dawn Upshaw), the Chicago Tribune decided to check in with the Class of 2006, including jazz violinist Regina Carter. She is at work on several projects and says she's put her money away, but she's also "had to deal with people from her past trying to put the touch on her and show presenters trying to knock down her usual fee." The award consists of $100,000 per year for five years.
9/21/07 - The 9th International Pablo Sarasate Violin Contest was held in Pamplona, Spain last week. Here are the top prize winners:
First place - Yuki Manuela Janke (Germany),
Second place - Nadir Khashimov (Uzbekhistan), and
Third place - Roman Patocka (Czech Republic)
The list of special prize winners is online at the contest’s website. Vladimir Spivakov was the judges’ chairman.
9/19/07 – Violinist Daniel Hope of the Beaux Arts Trio is releasing his first solo CD for Deutsche Grammophon this month, the world premiere recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in its original form. He is also releasing a book this month, a German-language family memoir, reports PlaybillArts.com. The same item notes that Midori is a celebrity participant for First Book, an organization that encourages reading among low-income children by giving them books. Five hundred books will be donated in Midori’s name.
The Japan Art Association has awarded its annual Grant for Young Artists to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, an organization co-founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said with the goal of building mutual understanding between Israel and Arab countries. The association also named Barenboim as the music recipient of its prestigious Praemium Imperiale Arts Award, a prize of 15 million yen (approximately $125,000).
9/21/07 – According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "The management and musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra have a new two-year contract, reached a year before the old one expired. The players ratified the agreement in a 62 to 24 vote Thursday afternoon, just in time for Saturday's season-opening concert. ... The new contract is a supplement to the present one, which was to expire Sept. 7, 2008. The supplement deals only with economic issues. It grants the musicians wage increases of 1 percent a year, with somewhat more generous provisions for health insurance and pension payments." The new deal was completed in 90 minutes without a lawyer, and after meeting on Tuesday the musicians voted on Thursday. "The season will, as in recent years, be 42 weeks long. The new agreement also provides for a pension contribution of 5 percent of the base salary in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Management also agreed to increase the pay rate and pension contribution for replacement musicians who provide support throughout the concert season."
9/16/07 – The Modesto Symphony Orchestra is holding a Young Idol competition, reports the Modesto Bee. “More than 100 contestants who took the stage, competing for a chance to perform at the Holiday Pops concert Dec. 7 at the Gallo Center for the Arts." After a second round of 25 contestants, the judges pick 10 finalists whose demos and bios are posted on modbee.com, the newspaper's website. "Readers then can vote for their favorites, with one hopeful being eliminated each week, similar to the Fox TV show ‘American Idol.' The winner will be announced Nov. 17."
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