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Featured Blog Posts (312)

Andrew Wan Plays and Records Saint-Saëns's Three Violin Concertos With the OSM in Montréal

Dateline: Maison Symphonique de Montréal, Wednesday night and Thursday morning, November 26 and 27, 2014

Over the course of four live concerts at the end of November, in the shining new Maison Symphonique at the Place des Arts, Andrew Wan, the Orchestre Symphonie de Montréal (OSM) of which he is…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on December 29, 2014 at 8:11am — No Comments

Lara St. John's Letter from Turin—the Odd One Out

From our friend the violinist Lara St. John:

A few days before appearing with the Rai Orchestra, with Steven Mercurio conducting John Corigliano’s Red Violin Concerto, I started to realize I was in one of those puzzles where One of These Things Does Not Fit. It was the first homecoming of my 1779 Guadagnini in over 150 years, playing a concerto by an Italian-American dedicated to his Calabrese father on that father’s bow, with an Italian-American conductor doing an…

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Added by Greg Cahill on December 3, 2014 at 10:30am — No Comments

Spruce tone wood harvested ca. 1800

Lovely material in the workshop. I am just starting to cut into it, and this spruce, which is used for the tops of instruments, has a golden brown patina all the way through it. Normally, wood is aged by the tone wood seller for a number of years, and some sellers bake the wood in the sun, giving then of…

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Added by Nate Tabor on October 10, 2014 at 1:30pm — 5 Comments

Day Five Part One at the Fifth International Chamber Music Festival of Kaposvár: The Arrival of Kirill Gerstein

Dateline: Hall of Art and Culture, Kaposvár, Hungary, Sunday August 17, noon, 2014

August 17 was once again a provocative day at the Fifth International Chamber Music Festival of Kaposvár, a festival without any recognized limits of where the musicians are allowed take the music they play

Each night and each morning, the venues were packed with kids, music students…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 21, 2014 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Saguaro Trio Scores With Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on Music Guild Summer Series

Dateline: The Music Guild Summer Fest 14, University Synagogue, Brentwood, California, August 24, 2014, 2 p.m.

With a large, enthusiastic crowd at University Synagogue in Brentwood ready to hear what Music Guild impresario Eugene Golden had up his sleeve for the fifth and final concert of the Summer Fest 14 season, the Saguaro Trio gave everything they had, which was a lot, in Beethoven's Piano Trio Op. 1 No. 1 and brought rare notes of intimacy to Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 30, 2014 at 9:52am — No Comments

In Search of Ole Bull

For four days in Bergen, Norway, violinist and researcher Peter Sheppard-Skaerved pursued the essence of Norway’s most famous fiddler.

Added by Greg Cahill on September 2, 2014 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Elephants Dancing to Violins, Naturally

Another reason not to kill elephants for their ivory: they're fans of violin music. Watch the video

Added by Greg Cahill on August 28, 2014 at 1:01pm — No Comments

Introducing Teen Strings Tip Sheets

A new tool for string teachers--keep your students engaged with these monthly practice tips, instrument care advice and inspirational notes on their peers. Check it out here.

Added by Greg Cahill on August 23, 2014 at 8:00pm — No Comments

How to Prevent, or Even Cure, a Violin Hickey

t begins as an itch or a chafe. Friends giggle, families gape, and perfect strangers won’t stop staring at it—that red spot on the left-hand side of your neck. It has many names in many countries—fiddler’s neck, violin hickey, or mark of greatness.

Dermatologists call this spot—where a violin or viola contacts with the player’s neck—“acne mechanica” and proceed further with such technical terms as “lichenification,” “erythema,” “scaling,” and good-old “scarring.” No…

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Added by Greg Cahill on August 21, 2014 at 6:47pm — 1 Comment

Jazz Violinist John Blake Jr., 1947-2014

Sad to hear of the passing of jazz violinist John Blake Jr. 

Read a 2011 interview with Blake from Strings magazine.

Added by Greg Cahill on August 17, 2014 at 9:20am — No Comments

Getting Curioser and Curioser: Day Three at the Fifth International Chamber Music Festival of Kaposvár

Dateline: Szivárvány Kultúrpalota, Kaposvár, Hungary, Wednesday noon and evening, August 14

A curious series of events–particularly curiou to non Hungarian speakers–unfolded on Day Three of the 5th International Chamber Music Festival of Kaposvár.

After risky Beethoven, glamorous Ravel, superb Saint-Saëns and dashing Mendelssohn at the noontime concert, a troop of Hungarian actors presented potted versions…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 16, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Learn to Strengthen Your String Quartet's Voice

These expert tips, with video instruction by the award-winning Del Sol Quartet, can help kickstart your chamber-music career. Learn more here.

Added by Greg Cahill on August 15, 2014 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Festival of the Future: Day 2 at the 5th Kaposvár International Chamber Music Festival

Dateline: Szivárvány Kultúrpalota, Kaposvár, Hungary, Wednesday morning and night, August 14

If the best classical music festivals are as much about discovery, friendship and even love as they are about entertainment, Day 2 at the 5th Kaposvár International Chamber Music Festival was no exception. During two sold-out concerts at the Palace of Arts—a wonderful…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 15, 2014 at 8:00am — No Comments

The Pablo Casals Festival in Prades: Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven

Dateline: Abbaye Saint Michel de Cuxa, Prades, France, Tuesday evening, August 5, 2014

Although Pablo Casals has long been most famously associated with the Six Solo Suites of Bach and the music of Bach generally—he began each morning by playing one of Bach’s preludes and fugues on the piano—he had an equally long and profound relationship with the music of Beethoven.

In 1928 he made…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 11, 2014 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Adult Beginners Tap Their Passion for String Playing

Wayne Booth, emeritus professor of English at the University of Chicago, was so bitten by the music bug that, not only did he take up the cello at the relatively advanced age of 31, he also passionately pursued cello and chamber music for the next four decades, devoting the book For the Love of It: Amateuring and Its Rivals (University of Chicago Press, 1999) to the subject.…

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Added by Greg Cahill on August 11, 2014 at 4:54pm — No Comments

Are U.S. Conservatories Preparing Strings Players for the Job World?

The new initiatives at conservatories come as the classical-music industry is becoming tougher and students need to be fully prepared for what lies ahead. Teachers and administrators say that despite students’ enthusiasm for broad careers, they still need to be prepared for some of the harsher realities of a career in music, including the notion that some may eventually have to relocate to small but low-cost towns. 

“We do have that conversation,” says Nathaniel Zeisler, instructor in…

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Added by Greg Cahill on August 11, 2014 at 3:09pm — No Comments

Pablo Casals in Prades: The Beat Goes On

Dateline: Abbaye Saint Michel de Cuxa, Prades, France, Monday night, August 4

It has been 60 years since Pablo Casals, violinist Szymon Goldberg and pianist Rudolf Serkin gave a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 70 No. 1 that…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 6, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Talich Quartet Celebrates Its 50th Birthday at the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades

DATELINE: Abbaye Saint Michel de Cuxa, Prades, France, Friday night, August 1

The Talich Quartet (Jan Talich Jr., Roman Patočka, Vladimír Bukač, Petr Prause) celebrated its 50th birthday and the indomitable Czech spirit by playing Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Smetana for a sellout crowd at the 62nd Pablo Casals Festival in Prades. It was a striking emotional intersection with the spirit of Casals himself that was not lost on the musicians, the students from…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 3, 2014 at 2:00am — No Comments

Pop Goes the Cello . . . .

. . .  2Cellos, in fact! Read all about it here.

Added by Greg Cahill on August 1, 2014 at 11:23am — No Comments

The Artis Quartet and Friends Reward an Intrepid Casals Festival Audience in an Audiophile Grotto

Dateline: Grottes Des Grandes Canalettes, Corneilla De Conflent (above Prades), France, Tuesday night, July 29

The Grottes des Grandes Canalettes, located on a spur of the Pyrenees above Prades, consisting of chambers rich in stalactites and helictites which defy gravity, and filled with immense pillars and wonderfully colored columns, made this a perfect environment for a…

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Added by Laurence Vittes on August 1, 2014 at 5:30am — No Comments

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