Fiddle News

April 26, 2007

Leonidas Kavakos in California

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:55 pm

Leonidas KavakosLeonidas Kavakos performed the Brahms Violin Concerto in San Diego with Cincinatti Symphony under Paavo Jarvi. In his review for, Kenneth Herman found “little compelling about this performance”, describing Kavakos as “too calculating and buttoned down.” In her review, Valerie Scher of the Union-Tribune described Kavakos as virtuosic, but without projecting much passion. Kavakos got a more favorable review up north from Timothy Mangan of the Orange County Register, describing his performance of the Brahms as “unusually penetrating.”


Midori Extends Her Reach

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:36 pm

midoriMidori has selected Elgin, Illinois for a weeklong residency as part of her  Orchestra Residencies Program. She’ll be working with both the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Rob Phillips has more details in this article published in the Daily Herald.

Midori and pianist Robert MacDonald also gave a recital at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. On the program were works by Beethoven, Rautavaara, Hindemith and Richard Strauss. Steve Smith wrote the review for the New York Times (registration required).

Sayaka Shoji to be Featured in Tokyo

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 7:24 pm

sayaka shojiAbout 700,000 classical music fans are expected for the “La Folle Journee au Japon” festival in Tokyo. Violinist Sayaka Shoji will be a featured artist, and she talks briefly to Mariko Kato in this feature published by the Japan Times. Among other things, Shoji discusses how she prepares for her performances and her expectations for the year ahead.


April 24, 2007

Julia Fischer Can’t Please Everyone

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 8:05 pm

julia fischerFred Kirshnit of the New York Sun certainly had his ax sharpened and ready for this hatchet job on Julia Fischer’s performance of the Brahm’s Violin Concerto with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic. Kirshnit called Fischer’s performance “excruciatingly dull”, and thought the night would have been better served if the concertmaster had played the concerto rather than Julia Fischer.

Meanwhile, Vivien Schweitzer of the New York Times (registration required) seemed to be having a much better time. In her review she called Fischer’s playing “burnished” and “richly sweet”. Mhaithaca was also in the audience and posted his thoughts on his blog, saying Fischer gave a “spectacular” performance.

April 23, 2007

Augustin Hadelich – The Next Joshua Bell?

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 7:22 pm

augustin hadelichAfter winning the gold medal at last September’s International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Augustin Hadelich is a hot property. In this audio story by Andrea Shea of WBUR, we learn about Hadelich’s comeback from a severe burn injury and hear him talk about the injury and the pressure of performance. Hadelich recently returned to Indianapolis to give a recital with pianist Yingdi Sun. Whitney Smith of the Indianapolis Star has the review.

Maxim Vengerov in Toronto

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:58 pm

maxim vengerov In this interview with John Keillor posted at, Maxim Vengerov talks about Shostakovich, Mozart and playing and conducting with the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. “I’ve been gradually maturing toward Mozart”, he says. “It took a long time to really grasp his music.”

Reviewing the concert for the Toronto Star, John Terauds said that “this particular assignment shows Vengerov’s humbler side.”

April 16, 2007

Quick Hits – Christian Tetzlaff and Nicola Benedetti

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:21 pm

christian tetzlaffAnnette Morreau reviews Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Alexander Lonquich performing a cycle of the Beethoven violin sonatas. She describes Tetzlaff’s playing as “exuberant” and Lonquich as “radiant”. Over on this side of the pond, Elaine Schmidt of the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reviews Nicola Benedetti playing a recital of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy and Ravel with pianist Julien Quentin. Schmidt raves “Benedetti gave a performance that meshed technical brilliance, musical depth, and a gorgeous, ringing sound.”

Rachel Barton Pine in Wisconsin

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 6:59 pm

rachel barton pineTom Strini of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviews Rachel Barton Pine’s performance of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy with the Milwaukee Symphony under guest conductor Junichi Hirokami. Strini finds the Scottish Fantasy hopelessly corny, but thought Barton’s performance was the type that “makes you feel better about the human race.” Barton Pine also gave a performance of Paganini’s violin concerto no. 2 in Ripon, Wisconsin, which Jeff Lindsay reviewed for the Appleton Blog. He was impressed by her “incredible control of her instrument”, and even more impressed by the credenza which she wrote the piece.

Finally, Eric Godfrey posted this look at Barton Pine’s very busy schedule at

April 15, 2007

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Plays Brahms

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 4:22 pm

nadja salerno-sonnenbergThe Brahms violin sonatas, her record label, and other upcoming projects are some of the topics that Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg discusses in this interview with Rosemary Ponnekanti of the News-Tribune. At age 46, she also talks about how she looks differently at music now as opposed to when she was just starting out. In this review posted at the SlipperyKeys blog, the author is delighted by Salerno-Sonnenberg’s playfulness while performing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

April 12, 2007

Jean-Luc Ponty in Ankara

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 8:04 pm

jean luc pontyJean-Luc Ponty has been making records since the seventies, and will be releasing a new album called “The Acatama Experience” in May of 2007.  He talks to Izgi Güngör in this interview published in the Turkish Daily News about how he became and jazz violinst, and how the death of Ahmet Ertegün has changed the music business.


April 11, 2007

Daniel Hope Coast to Coast

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:43 pm

daniel hopeDaniel Hope was very busy at this year’s Savannah Music Festival. John Stoehr goes over some of the highlights in this blog post for Hope then left Savannah and joined his friends with the Beaux Arts Trio for recitals in Philadelphia and San Jose. On the program in Philadelphia were Turnage, Shostakovich, and Schubert. David Patrick Stearns, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote that “no single concert I’ve heard from the Beaux Arts offered so much, and on so many different levels.” In his review, he described Hope as intensely restrained. Reviewing a Shostakovich and Beethoven Beaux Arts recital in San Jose, Richard Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News characterized the Beaux Art’s Shostakovich performance as “life-changing” and Daniel Hope as an “exceptional player.”

April 10, 2007

Nicola Benedetti at the Gardner Museum

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:59 pm

Nicola BenedettiNicola Benedetti leads all other nominees at this years Classical Brits Awards, with nominations for Instrumentalist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Young British Classical Performer. But is the young Scottish violinist for real, or is she just the latest  in a series of over-hyped classical music sensations. David Weininger of the Boston Globe talked to Benedetti recently, and in this interview he found her to be a “serious, down-to-earth musician”.

Reviewing her Boston recital, The Globe’s Jeremy Eichler found her performance did not quite live up to the fanfare, perhaps because of nerves or perhaps because she just needs more time to grow and mature.

April 9, 2007

Sarah Chang At Work and Play

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:30 pm

sarah changWhat does Sarah Chang do when she’s not making music? Find out in this interview with Laura Stewart of the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Speaking of Chang, she was in the Bay Area recently for a pair of recitals. On the program were the Beethoven, Danielpour and Prokofiev pieces she’s been touring with lately. In his review, Richard Scheinin thought she played a memorable, if not perfect Kreutzer. Scheinin was even more impressed with the “clear-eyed lyricism” which she gave to the Danielpour, and the “clarity and shape…rhythmic keenness” and “burnished perfection” with which she played the Prokofiev Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2. Columbine C. Greyscott (is that her real name?) saw the Berkeley recital and made this post. She found the Beethoven a little boring, but really liked the 2nd half of the show.

The Art (and Science) of the Violin

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 6:48 pm

sam gmuntowiczHe’s made violins for Isaac Stern, Joshua Bell, and the Emerson Quartet. Now Sam Zygmuntowicz sits down with Newsweek’s Susan Szeliga for this interview about how he became a violin maker and what goes into the making of these prized instruments. A video is also included that shows some of the modern technology available to the modern instrument maker.


April 4, 2007

Three Reviews in Brief

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:51 pm

viviane hagnerHarriet Cunningham of the Sydney Morning Herald reviews german violinist Viviane Hagner performing Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, calling it “intellectually and emotionally satisfying.” David Fanning of the Telegraph reviews Henning Kraggerud playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and finds him “superbly assured, yet without the need for the overkill.” Finally, another rave review for Joshua Bell’s performance of Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky with the Academy of Saint Martins in the Fields. This one is from Steve Smith of the New York Times (free registration required) who described Bell as “polished and assured.”

Sergiu Schwartz – Performer and Teacher

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 6:37 pm

sergiu schwartzFamed Israeli violinist and professor of violin Sergiu Schwartz talks about selling his violin and establishing roots in this interview with Sandra Okamoto of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. He also talks about why he chose to teach at Columbus State University,  finding balance in his life, and the toughness needed to make a life as a musician.

April 1, 2007

Leila Josefowicz and John Adams

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:21 pm

Leila JosefowiczComposer John Adams talks to Mark Stryker in this interview published by the Detroit Free Press. Among other things, he takes special note of violinist Leila Josefowicz who performed Adams’ Violin Concerto (1993). How does Adams feel about the Josefowicz? He rates her very highly, and praises her “Olympian majesty of expression.” Says Adams, “she’s an incredibly serious and painstaking performer.”

The critics seem to agree. Lawrence B. Johnson reviewed the performance for the Detroit News and said Josefowicz gave the concerto “a glittering turn”.  In his review for the Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker called Josefowicz “a force of nature”. Finally Mark Freier, writing in his blog, wrote that watching Josefowicz “you could see and feel raw talent and sheer passion”.

Joshua Bell Directs The Academy

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:59 pm

joshua bellIn this interview with Cathalena E. Burch of the Arizona Daily Star, Joshua Bell talks about life on the road and how he feels about being guest director with the Academy of Saint Martins in the Fields. Says Bell, “it’s probably the most fun thing I do all year.” Reviewing Bell’s performance of Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky at the Tilles Center in Long Island, Justin Davidson of Newsday writes that the his performance was “elegant, assured, and impeccable”, while James Hennerty of the Time Union reviewed his Troy, NY performance and called the Vivaldi “solid”, but it was the Tchaikovsky that was truly “delightful”.

Hilary Hahn Makes Her Chicago Debut

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:45 pm

hilary hahnMaking her Chicago Symphony debut, Hilary Hahn played the Goldmark violin concerto and charmed critic John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune with her angelic Botticellian beauty. In his review he wrote that “there doesn’t seem to be anything that she cannot play beautifully. Andrew Patner reviewing the concert for the Chicago Sun-Times called Hahn as “lyrical as she is virtuosic.”

Over at the “Truth Makes Me Fret” blog, though, it doesn’t seem everyone was as won over as the critics. In this review the blogger says the Goldmark concerto left him “bored stiff”, and only Hahn’s sneeze during the third movement cadenza kept him from dozing off. Ouch!

Henning Kraggerud in Manchester

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 6:25 pm

henning kraggerudNorwegian Henning Kraggerud played the Tchaikovsky violin concerto at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, and Robert Beale of the Manchester Evening News wrote that despite a few sticky moments in the first movement, Kraggerud earned his applause by powering his way to the end. In his blog post, however, Atticus had no reservations about the performance, calling it “exciting, brilliant, sensitive” and “heartfelt”.

Quick Hit – Janine Jansen

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 6:06 pm

janine jansenJanine Jansen will be in the U.S. in April and sat down to talk with John Clare of WITF radio. In this audio interview she talks about live versus studio recordings, playing the viola, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, and what’s coming up next for the Dutch violinist.


Julia Fischer Leaves ‘Em Breathless

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 5:58 pm

Julia FischerJulia Fischer brought the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto to Minnesota, and David Hawley of the Pioneer Press wrote that it was a guaranteed crowd pleaser, played with a “lovely, singing lyricism” and a “great deal of heart.” Larry Fuchsberg of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (free membership pass required) gave her an even more enthusiastic review, praising her “poetic, unworldly aura”. Kurt Klussendorf saw the performance and in his review he said it was like watching “Valentino Rossi on the MotoGP circuit” (Fiddlenews is guessing that’s a good thing), while, Spartacus reviewing the performance for the Ken in the City Blog was not won over, saying Fischer’s performance was marred by constant “slowing down and speeding back up of the tempos.”

Speaking of blogs, here’s a post from Racine of the “Still trying to figure it out” blog. She saw Fischer play the Khatchaturian concerto in Washington DC and noticed at one point that she wasn’t breathing. Hope she’s ok, and if so she might want to check out this blog post from It’s an excerpt from Fischer’s newly released Brahm’s CD.

Gidon Kremer at Wigmore

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 4:24 pm

gidon kremerViolinist Gidon Kremer teamed up with pianist Oleg Maisenberg for a recital at Wigmore Hall. Hilary Finch reviewed the program of Schubert, Bartok, and Kurtag for the London Times, and wrote that in the Schubert, Kremer makes us “wonder at the beauty of a simple chromatic scale”, while in the Bartok Kremer proved that “red blood still coursed freely” in his veins. Reviewing the recital for the Guardian, Andrew Clements wrote that all the works were “treated with affection and consummate musicality” with “never anything self-regarding or attention-seeking about his playing.”

Kremer might love the reviews, but would he love this blog posting? It comes from, a site dedicated to dream, insomnia and nightmare products. Are they touting Kremer’s Insomnia CD as a cure for sleeplessness?

Shaham’s Chamber Group Goes Flat

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 4:06 pm

gil shahamAn evening of Brahms chamber music from violin legend Gil Shaham and friends got less than enthusiastic reviews. Newsday’s Justin Davidson reviewing the performance given by Shaham, violinist Cho-Liang Lin, violist Cynthia Phelps, cellist Lynn Harrell, and pianist Akira Eguchi (filling in as a last minute replacement for Yefim Bronfman) said the musicians “never really melded”. A less forgiving review by the New York Sun’s Fred Kirshnit called the whole affair “simply awful”.

According to Donald Rosenberg of the Cleaveland Plain Dealer, though, Shaham fared much better performing the Beethoven violin concerto in Cleveland. In his review he felt that Shaham achieved “the kind of suspended time few artists realize.”

Benedetti Delights in Des Moines

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 3:46 pm

Nicola BenedettiNicola Benedetti wants to get by on more than just her looks. In this article published in the Kettering-Oakwood Times we learn a little about the rising Scottish violinist, her playing and her expectations. Michael Morain of the Des Moines Register reviewed her recent Iowa performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor and found that Benedetti played with “genuine passion”.

Ilya Gringolts Down Under

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 3:26 pm

ilya gringoltsRussian violinist Ilya Gringolts talks to William Dart about playing underplayed works, revisiting previously performed works, and making mistakes in this interview published in the New Zealand Herald. In an earlier concert in Perth Australia, Mark Coughlan of The Australian reviews Grigolts’ performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and finds it “disappointingly bland”.

Sarah Chang in Recital

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 3:13 pm

Sarah ChangSarah Chang has been performing Danielpour, Beethoven and Prokofiev to mixed reviews. In her Daytona Beach recital Chang impressed reviewer Laura Stewart of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, who wrote that the Beethoven “Kreutzer” Sonata was “urgent and vital”, the Danielpour tone poem “River of Light” was “lucid and cerebral”, and the Prokofiev Second Violin Sonata was given the “dynamism that it demanded”. In his review for the Washington Post, however, Andrew Lindemann Malone thought the Danielpour felt “remote and impersonal” and the Kreutzer lacked “dramatic arc”, while the Prokofiev fared better. Paul Horsley reviewing Chang’s Kansas City recital for the Kansas City Star thought her performance of the Danielpour had a “limber sweetness” and the Prokofiev had “poise and drama”, but her Beethoven had “difficulty finding focus”.

On a completely different note, the Truth, Justice and Peace blog posted this nice video of Chang performing Massenet’s Meditation from Thais. Enjoy.

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