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Laurie Niles

Violin Community News 2011, Op. 8

October 19, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Former New York Philharmonic Music Director Lorin Maazel is putting his 1783 Guadagnini up for online auction on Nov. 10 through Tarisio. Maazel has owned the violin for 66 years, first playing it when he was 15. Proceeds will benefit The Castleton Festival, which Maazel launched in 2009. More on that story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Earlier this month, conductor Gustavo Dudamel was named Gramophone's Artist of the Year. Dudamel is Music Director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, and he frequently conducts the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Venezuela, home to the "El Sistema" program where Dudamel honed his incredible conducting chops. Here is his acceptance speech for the Gramophone award. Better yet, here he is, conducting!

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Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra accepted major cutbacks in a contract agreement that was approved last week between the orchestra's labor union and management. The agreement reduces musicians' salaries, cuts the size of the orchestra and, according to the American Federation of Musicians, allows the orchestra to back out of $35 million that it owed the AFM pension fund on behalf of its musicians. The orchestra had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, and the new contract is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court. Here is more on the story.

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Are you interested in composing for viola? The American Viola Society has announced its Second Biennial Maurice Gardner Composition Competition, with a submission deadline of December 15, 2011. Compositions must be new, unpublished works; a maximum of 15 minutes in length; written for solo viola, viola and piano, or viola and electronic media. The winner will receive $1,000, and the winning composition will be performed at the 40th International Viola Congress, which takes place May 30 through June 4, 2012 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. For more details, click here:

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Violinist Hilary Hahn premiered 13 of the encore pieces that she commissioned as a part of her project In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores in a recital with pianist Valentina Lisitsa last week at the new Constella Festival in Cincinnati. About 300 people attended, according to an article in, in which reporter Janelle Gelfand also wrote, "More than just 'encores,' which are often viewed as trifles or 'bonbons,' they ranged from reflective to joyous and unfolded like mini-tone poems, each evoking vivid imagery."

Here is a list of the pieces Hilary premiered:

"Speak, Memory" by Lera Auerbach

"Thin Blue Line" by Tina Davidson

"Memory Games" by Avner Dorman

"Levitation" by Søren Nils Eichberg

"Coming To" by Christos Hatzis

"Echo Dash" by Jennifer Higdon

"Solitude d’automne" by Bun-Ching Lam

"Blue Fiddle" by Paul Moravec

"Two Voices" by Nico Muhly

"Whispering" by Einojuhani Rautavaara

"Mercy" by Max Richter

"Bifu" by Somei Satoh

"Torua" by Gillian Whitehead


From Christopher McGovern
Posted on October 19, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Awesome! Wish I could hear these pieces now before the 2013 or 2014 release--She said one of those years the CD would be released. I don't know if they are planning to bring the recital back over to the east other than the PA and VA gigs this week (VA one is tonight), so it may be a while before I have the pleasure.

From Jason Hurwitz
Posted on October 20, 2011 at 3:32 AM

One of my classmates is the festival manager for the Constella Festival and asked me to turn pages for Hilary Hahn's recital last week. Unfortunately, the performance was at the same time as one of my tougher classes this quarter, so I had to turn down the opportunity; however, I recommended member Nancy Illman for the job. She accepted and did an OUTSTANDING job. And, apparently, not only was she turning pages for pianist Valentia Lisitsa, but she was also running around the piano to turn pages for Hilary as well! It heard it was incredible to see, and Hilary thanked her by name from the stage.

I also heard that the concert was absolutely incredible.

From Christopher McGovern
Posted on October 20, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Great! That must have been exciting!

I guess Hilary still needed to work off of the scores for some of these, huh? She was just explaining in Laurie's interview that she works best without them onstage because of her sight issues.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on October 20, 2011 at 9:26 PM

 Probably just the pianist needed a page turner. It's a nerve-wracking job, actually, but also a fun way to experience a recital. Can't let your attention flag for a moment!

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