Fiddle News

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.

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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 violinist.com. 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 Dremion.com, 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.

March 29, 2007

Bringing Along the Next Generation

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 8:45 pm

MidoriNow two stories about two of today’s violinsts helping to bring along the violinists of tomorrow. The first story is from the Savannah Morning News is about youngsters from grades 2 thru 6 attending Daniel Hope’s “Secrets of the Practice Room Revealed,” part of the Savannah Music Festival of which Hope is associate music director. The second story comes from Laura Ritter of the Great Falls Tribune who writes about the Great Falls Youth Symphony and guest soloist Midori. Midori does two of these residencies each year as part of her Orchestral Residencies Program. Needless to say, the kids are pretty excited.

A Mixed Bag for Vadim Repin

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 8:30 pm

vadim repinVadim Repin has been playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor with NDR Symphony Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi. In Budapest an anonymous reviewer for the Budapest Sun wrote that Repin gave the piece “élan, lightness, and real joy”. However, reviewing the same piece performed at Carnegie Hall, Fred Kirshnit of the New York Sun said Repin “simply sounded like a machine.”

Chloë Hanslip Making her Mark

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 8:18 pm

Chloe HanslipIf you haven’t heard of Chloë Hanslip, you will. Check out this feature article written by Inge Kjemtrup of Strings Magazine. It has all the background you need on this talented young violinist. They just keep coming, don’t they.

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Vadim Gluzman in Concert

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 8:03 pm

Vadim GluzmanVadim Gluzman feels that it’s important to give modern composers a chance. In this interview with Mary Ellyn Hutton of the Cincinnati Post he talks about the Bernstein Serenade, his affinity for modern music, and his studies with Arkady Fomin. Speaking of Bernstein’s Seranade, Gluzman performed it with the Pavo Jaarvi and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and in her review for the Enquirer Janelle Gelfand called Gluzman’s sound “sweet and beatifully shaped, with a long effortless line”, and Mary Ellyn Hutton reviewing it for the Post said Gluzman played with “elegance, precision, and extreme tonal beauty.”

An earlier performance in Seattle of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under guest conductor Vasilly Sinaisky also earned a strong review from Melinda Bargreen of the Seattle Times, describing Gluzman as “all patrician elegance” with “well-rounded tone and beautiful legato lines.” R.M. Campbell of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer simply stated that Gluzman’s playing was “breathtaking in its effortlessness.”

Finally, performing Sofia Gubaidulina’s Offertorium for Violin and Orchestra with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey caused reviewer Alexander Varty of Straight.com to lead the audience in a standing ovation, while this blogger over at Stimuli.ca called it horrifying, but in a good way.

March 22, 2007

Leila Josefowicz Plays Prokofiev

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 8:46 pm

Leila JosefowiczMatt Heller is lucky enough to attend a violin masterclass with Leila Josefowicz, but his blog post a little sparse on the details. Things must have gone well because Lawrence Budmen reviews her performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with The New World Symphony under guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth, and states flatly that “Josefowicz has made a graceful transition from child prodigy to artist of the highest order.”

Joshua Bell Wins Avery Fisher Prize

Filed under: Interview,Music — tmyers2002 @ 8:25 pm

Joshua BellJoshua Bell is the latest recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. Some background on the prize can be found at Playbill. Bell recently talked to Martin Steinberg of The Associated Press. In the interview he talks about his plans for the $75,000 prize, and his future as a violinist and conductor.

Kavakos In Recital and In Concert

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:47 pm

Leonidas KavakosLeonidas Kavakos continues to impress on his east coast tour. Peter Dobrin of the Philadelphia Inquirer reviews his recital with pianist Peter Nagy, and Jay Nordlinger of the New York Sun reviews his concert with the Russian National Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski. Judging from the reviews, Kavakos is a violinist with a wide range and total mastery of his sound.

Jennifer Koh Says Aloha

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:28 pm

Jennifer KohTalk about a rough trip. Jennifer Koh made a trip out to Honolulu, Hawaii for a performance with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra under Rossen Milanov. Burt Burlingame wrote this background piece on Koh for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,  and  Valeria Wenderoth  reviews the concert, describing Koh as romantic and passionate but with precision and depth.

March 19, 2007

Anne Akiko Meyers On Fire

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 8:01 pm

Anne Akiko MeyersAnne Akiko Meyers blazed her way across Northern California in March. Making a stop in the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago, Georgia Rowe of the Contra Costa Times called her “seething” in her review of Meyers’ performance of the Barber Violin Concerto. Reviewing last weekends performance of Corigliano in San Luis Obispo, The Tribune’s John Cushing called Meyers “fiery” and said she “stared down the demons invoked by her fiery music.”

Julia Fischer in DC

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:46 pm

Julia FischerJulia Fischer played Khachaturian last weekend with Emmanuel Krivine and the National Symphony Orchestra. Robert Battey of the Washington Post loved the conductor and the violinist, but hated the piece. In his review he called Fischer “an arresting talent, and one hopes we shall hear her soon in a more substantial work.” Ionarts had no such problem with the piece, and in their review said that the chance to hear Fischer play “should not be missed.”

Regina Carter Plays Chicago

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:32 pm

Regina CarterIn his blog post Peter Margasak wonders if violinist Regina Carter’s live performance will be better than what she’s shown on her recordings. According to John Litweiler of the Chicago Sun-Times, he must have been pleased. In his review of her performance at Symphony Hall he calls Carter a delight. While we’re talking about her, be sure to check out this audio interview at Jazzcat.com

March 15, 2007

Quick Hit – James Ehnes with the BSO

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

James EhnesCanadian violinist James Ehnes made and appearance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Gunther Herbig. Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun wrote the review and called Ehnes’ playing elegant with a “sweet, superbly controlled tone.”

Ashley MacIsaac a Married Man

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 7:59 pm

Ashley MacIsaacAnd the drama just continues for Fiddler Ashley MacIssac. Known for his drug use and racist remarks, MacIsaac has now tied the knot with his lover Andrew Stokes, a budding fiddler he met through his website. If you want the details you’ll find the story here.

Midori Goes to Michigan

Filed under: Interview,Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 7:50 pm

MidoriMidori plays Ann Arbor, and according to this review by Susan Isaacs Nisbett of the Ann Arbor News things got off to a slow start, but really picked up after the intermission with her performance of Hindemith and Strauss. Prior to the concert, Midori gives an email interview to Nisbett and talks about the program and her interest in school music programs.

March 14, 2007

Daniel Hope Featured in Savannah

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 8:14 pm

Daniel HopeViolinist Daniel Hope talks to Jim Morekis of ConnectSavannah.com about this year’s Savannah Music Festival, Bach’s St. Matthews Passion, his love for chamber music, Brahms and the Brahm’s Violin Concerto, and the future of classical music. Hope has been associate music director of the Savannah Music Festival since 2004.

March 13, 2007

No “Silent Period” for the Sibelius Violin Concerto

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 6:01 pm

Jean SibeliusThis year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Jean Sibelius’ death, and there seems to be no shortage of performances to commemorate his passing. In particular, last weekend saw three different violinists performing his violin concerto in various venues around the country. See the March 12 post for links to the Kavakos concert with the NSO, and the following reviews for the other two.

Sarah Chang performed the work last Friday with Eckart Preu and the Spokane Symphony. In his review, Travis Rivers of the Spokane Review called it “a gripping 25 minutes without a second’s letup.” For a further perspective, check out this heated discussion at violinist.com.

Meanwhile, a few hundred miles to the south, Hilary Hahn also played the Sibelius Concerto with the Utah Symphony under Keith Lockhart. Catherine R. Newton reviewing the concert for the Salt Lake Tribune notes that Hahn is more than just a teen idol, and played with “songfulness and vigor”, and in his review for the Deseret News, Edward Reichel  called her playing “gorgeously poetic.” And then there’s this from an enthusiastic fan.

March 12, 2007

Kavakos Plays Sibelius in DC

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 10:41 pm

Leonidas KavanskyGreek violinist Leonidas Kavakos impressed the critics in his performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Osmo Vanska and the National Symphony Orchestra. In his review, Charles Downey of DC1st.com called his Sibelius an “impressive tour de force.” Reviewing the same concert for the Washington Post, Robert Battey said “Vanska and Kavakos bring an especially deep, well-honed authority to the concerto.”

Violin Sale at NJSO

Filed under: Music — tmyers2002 @ 8:23 pm

NJSOHey, want to buy a used violin? According to this story from the New York Times, the New Jersey Symphony has got some fiddles for sale. A few Strads, some Guarneri’s, that sort of thing – all for less than what you’d pay for a 2 bedroom Silicon Valley condo. Well, pretty close. Anyways, if you’re interested then check it out.

March 8, 2007

Mullova – Love Her or Hate Her?

Filed under: Music,Review — tmyers2002 @ 8:55 pm

Viktoria MullovaMichael Tumelty of The Herald finds the audience a little puzzled in this review of Viktoria Mullova’s recent Bach recital in Glasgow, Scotland. The reserved Mullova may have been too austere for some tastes, but Tumelty finds the performance unforced and full of  subtlety.

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