Your personal musical highlights of 2007

January 1, 2008 at 06:20 AM · Which of your musical experiences of the last year were most memorable?

Here's my list, not in any order.

1. Re-starting violin after a break of 25 years.

2. Buying my own instrument after 9 months of renting. Two days ago I bought a lovely, dark-toned Eastman 305.

3. Changing teachers when I realized I had ourgrown my first one.

4. Discovering!

5. Playing hymns with my church's "family orchestra", which consists of whoever shows up. On a couple of occasions I was the only violinist, so I automatically became Concertmistress!

Replies (24)

January 1, 2008 at 05:58 PM · 1-finally, finally, finally, finally--did I say finally, getting my thumb space in place for vibrato; and, wrist loosened for a quickly maturing treatment.

2-finally, (ok I won't), finishing Suzuki 3, though I'm 4 months behind.

3-having to remedial everything almost because of change of bow hand and improved tone production.

4-encountering Todd Ehle, from Corpus Christi.

5-getting Simon Fischer's "Practice" for Christmas.

6-Seeing Hillary Hahn live in Greensboro.

7-getting much improved articulation and flow, because of Ron Mutchik and company.

8-simply persisting for another year, and looking forward with the same attitude for another.

9-putting some injuries away for ever and ever.

10-seeing that a lot of other people are now playing on Salvatore Callegaris on a pretty nice learning level.

January 1, 2008 at 06:26 PM · 1.Bought a new violin (2007 German Guarneri copy by Klaus Clement) and bow (1920 F. Wunderlich).

2.Developed a decent (but still improving) 4th finger!

3.Improving my performing by accepting my nerves.

4.Focusing my performance on musicality, not overcoming or repressing my nerves.

5.Began senior year in college, playing harder repertoire.

6.Achieved concertmistress in my university's symphony and kept it for this coming semester! =)

January 1, 2008 at 07:55 PM · (not in any particular order):

1. got a new violin.

2. started at Oberlin Conservatory with the amazing Milan Vitek.

3. Unexpectedly got made concertmaster of the orchestra and spent the next month enduring a torrent of invective, venom and general b*tching from the rest of the student body...not fun.

4. Heard the Takacs Quartet again and finally met my musical hero. Made up for all the past month's crap.

January 2, 2008 at 06:01 AM · Oh yeah, I forgot to add, my sight reading jumped through a few minor hoops.

And of course, getting to watch Josh Bell on PBS wasn't shoddy either... I had hear a lot about him, but never really seen/heard his performance.

January 1, 2008 at 08:24 PM · Take heart Mara! I was just in Chicago laughing with colleagues about the most frustrating sound a concertmaster has to deal with--- the sound of pencils slamming down on the stands behind you along with immature mutterings about the bowing being "uncomfortable". :-) I think it means you're doing something right, Mara! Keep it up!

January 1, 2008 at 09:21 PM · Haha! Sounds familiar...I think the biggest issue everybody had though was simply that I'm a freshman.

January 1, 2008 at 10:17 PM · Basically chronological:

1. Playing Symphonie Espagnole with orchestra

2. Going to Sound Encounters music camp, my favorite place in the world

3. First semester studying violin performance at University of KS

4. Master classes with the Ahn Trio and Gil Shaham

5. Seeing concerts by the Emerson Quartet, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, and Gil Shaham

And Mara - hang in there! :) As long as you're doing your job (which I'm sure you are), treatment like that is only a sign of the other players' immaturity. Good luck with orchestra next semester!

January 2, 2008 at 12:54 AM · Body armour to Mara!

January 2, 2008 at 02:52 AM · 1. Started with a new teacher

2. Started the year with Bach, then Bruch, then Bach, then Bruch again (I'm stuck on B's).

3. Joined an ensemble (started as a trio, ended as a quartet)

4. Managed a vibrato on most strings

5. Shifted beyond 3rd position, regularly

6. Played Moldau with my orchestra without getting lost.

7. Played Vieuxtemps Elegie with piano in front of many many people, and lived to tell about it!

8. Posted a recording of myself playing for the first time, ever.

9. Finally committed to practicing technical studies.

10. Entered a competition for the first time, ever.

11. Played the Messiah at my orchestra's Principle violist's church.

12. Marked my 30th year of playing the viola (with a 15 year break in serious study)

January 2, 2008 at 06:11 AM · Finally figured out, after all of these years, that the violin is really friggin hard!

January 2, 2008 at 07:35 AM · performing beethoven's 9th in the orchestra

January 2, 2008 at 03:07 PM · with full chorus no less?

January 2, 2008 at 09:29 PM · 1.Resumed my love affair with the clarinet (after a twenty-year divorce.)

2.Purchased a new mouthpiece that has the potential for me to produce a first-class sound (we clarinetists are fortunate, compared with fiddlers, in that it's possible with a $3000 instrument and mouthpiece, ligature, reed and barrel combo to achieve a level of sound for which you might very well need a strad, guarneri, amati or modern master instrument.)

3. Am making progress getting the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto under my fingers after having last studied it forty years ago.

4. Am listening to my favoriet fiddle recordings (among others), which include:

a. Szeryng's Bach S&P, Berg Concerto, Brahms Sonatas with Rubenstein, Mozart Sonatas with Ingrid Haebler,etc.

b. Oistrakh's Sibelius, Beethoven, Prokofiev #1 concerti,"Claire de Lune", etc.

c. Heifitz's Mendelsohn and Tchaikovsky concerti, "Girl with the Flaxen Hair", "Porgy and Bess", Beethoven "Kreutzer", Tchaikovsky, Mendelsohn and Ravel Trios with Rubenstein and Piatagorsky, etc.

5. Am enjoying participating in this website (and the clarinet equivalent) and sharing knowledge, memories and humor with others who love music.

January 3, 2008 at 05:26 AM · albert - yes, with full chorus and four soloists. it'd be a disaster without them :)

January 3, 2008 at 07:32 AM · Philip, there is a beautiful ridge in the ancient mountains of southern West Virginia, where we got our riots of passage by climbing both to the ridge, and down the rock faces to an equally ancient cave with sea shells about 1200 feet vertical.

One of my favorite eccentricities, is hearing Beethoven's 9th with full chorus resonate off that ridge while being inside that cave with my girlfriend chill'n. Actually his third would do quite nicely as well, but the original vision was the 9th.

I went on a couple Beet-Symphony festivals as a young man, and though the 9th and 5th are most recognizable, I simply fell in love with his 3rd.

January 3, 2008 at 07:41 AM · I guess this will be part of 2008's accomplishments, but I've started getting a sense when to push a little harder in getting up to speed rather than one click at a time vaguely.

January 3, 2008 at 03:32 PM · Getting my current favorite bow directly from the maker, William Halsey.

Getting my current favorite violin custom made for me by Edward Maday.

Surviving giving an all-unaccompanied recital.

Finally coming out with my first CD, "The Way You Look Tonight"

Surviving a surprizing encounter with Glenn Dicterow (who's really very nice), as I mentioned in another thread - "frozen on the spot":

/ Violin Discussion /

December 9, 2007 at 05:09 PM

Frozen on the spot

How have you handled suddenly being put on the spot to play something?

From Timothy James Dimacali

Has something like this ever happened to you...?

From Raphael Klayman

Posted on December 11, 2007 at 04:00 AM

Several weeks ago I had an interesting experience with Glenn Dicterow, with whom I briefly studied many years ago. He gave a public master class at MSM. I arrived a little late, but caught almost everything. All the students were excellent - and Glenn was amazing. Long retired from participating in such grueling events, I sat in the audience, minding my own business and thoroughly enjoying myself.

At the end I came up to greet my old erstwhile professor who hadn't heard me in more than 20 years. He was so nice and down-to-earth. He sincerely thanked me for keeping in touch with him throughout the years (with concert flyers, my CD, which I don't think he'd gotten to, etc.). Then he suddenly said "how would you like to try a nice fiddle?" He didn't mean the del Gesu he was almost through putting away, but the work of a contemporary maker who was there and probably earlier tried to interest Glenn in his work. (As far as the maker, himself, that aspect ended going awry and I detailed it on under "Who is Robert Meadow?") I sensed that I wasn't really being offered a choice. Sure. Without any physical warm-up or mental preparation, try an unfamiliar violin without even the kind of chinrest you're used to or the minimal suede covering that you use, and play in front of the CM of the NYP, his top students, and invited guests! No problem! Well at first I was so nervous that I could barely talk straight! Fortunately, I played better than I talked, and acquitted myself pretty well, and felt good about the experience. But that was quite a surprise!

I would say, in a situation like that, try to just go for it. There is a moment that can be paralyzing, or liberating. Try to quickly push through that moment to get from the former to the latter - if that makes any sense. It's kind of like those old cartoons, where a character runs off a cliff, and is able to continue running in the air as long as he doesn't look down, whereupon he'll remind himself that it's impossible to run air!

Should we talk about musical New Year's resolutions here, or make a separate thread?

Happy New Year to all!

January 24, 2008 at 09:00 PM · 2007 is actually one of my worst years, but it did have some good points.

1.Becoming more involved in playing music outside of school. (actually an extension from the previous year)

2.Finally realizing I cannot mope around much longer with my sister's violin (I have been using hers since mine was stolen in May (never was comfortable with it in the first place)-- which is one of the reasons why 2007 wasn't a good year) and decided to get a new violin within the first two months of 2008.

3.Experience and confidence continue increasing since starting college... which is a good thing!

January 24, 2008 at 09:29 PM · Elgar in Chicago on WFMT-FM, which I played - during that performance I actually felt like a "real" violinist...

January 24, 2008 at 10:23 PM · The camp Sound Encounters was so much fun and really inspiring for me. Performing in the Kennedy Center and a side-by-side with the NSO was AWESOME too!

January 24, 2008 at 10:30 PM · Finishing my master's and having my elbow problem taken care of and healing very quickly.

January 25, 2008 at 12:35 PM · Restarting lessons after a gap of 35 years!!

Joining the local orchestra and playing in my first real concert - nerve-wracking but thrilling.

Playing Dido's Lament with coaching from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (I'm cheating, that was last weekend).

Realising I have a wonderful, inexhaustible hobby for life.

January 25, 2008 at 06:37 PM · 1. Watched Nodame Cantabile (Japanese drama)

One of the main character was playing Beethoven's Spring in a very, hmmmmm, lets say, unconventional way, but I was in love with this song, I immediately downloaded the score and played the piano part, but you know what, the violin sounds much better... started to wonder if I should learn the violin.

BTW, I highly recommend this drama. Lots of good music, very light hearted and funny!

2. Watched Orange Days (japanese drama again)

The main character became deaf, she was playing Bach partita Gavotte en rondeau. I was hooked.

3. Went to craigslist and look for a cheap violin thinking how hard it is to learn this thing, it's one line melody anyways... (i don't think i've ever been this wrong....)

4. Tried to play Spring, wait, how the hell you hold this thing (the bow)....

5. Went back to craigslist, found a violin teacher and began my violin learning journey.

January 25, 2008 at 09:46 PM · 2007 was quite a good year to me. I made some instruments I liked a lot, some of them can be seen here:

I also travelled to new York with 4 violas I made and met Michael Tree, Toby Appel and violists from the NY Philarmonic, quite a good year!!!

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