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Featured Blog Posts (264)

More Mostly Mozart from Montreal, the City of Music

The latest blog from Strings magazine contributor Laurence Vittes,

Added by Greg Cahill on August 20, 2013 at 1:47pm — No Comments

A Message from Montreal

Read blogger Laurence Vittes' latest missive from Montreal.

Added by Greg Cahill on August 15, 2013 at 12:42pm — No Comments

Overcoming Performance Anxiety, Strings Editor's 'Spin of the Week,' and more.

Strings Notes delivers your regular dose of strings-related entertainment, instruction, and inspiration. Check out this week's edition below.

To get Strings Notes delivered right to your inbox each and every week, sign up for free…


Added by Maura McElhone on July 19, 2013 at 3:29pm — No Comments

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival: Dalbavie, Mozart & Brahms


DATELINE: St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Thursday night, July 18


The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s 40th year opened with conventional concerts featuring the music of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Arensky played by a roster of young artists and veterans.


On Thursday night, the festival took on its characteristically Santa Fe mix of new and old music. And by…


Added by Greg Cahill on July 19, 2013 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Baroque Violoncello Piccolo - Ponticello

Now its time to relax a bit after the hard work of tuning the plates. I have cut the corner blocks and glued them to the back plate. Best to wait a day or so for the glue to dry, so one can either pace around the workshop, read a book, etc... or start work on some of the fittings that the violoncello will soon be needing.…


Added by Nate Tabor on July 8, 2013 at 11:30pm — 5 Comments

Baroque Violoncello Piccolo finishing arching and first stages of plate graduation

One can see now I have a general idea of where this baroque cello is headed. But the back arching is way too high!  This is on purpose, as I have a specific method of plate tuning which I shall explain. I want to have a lot of choices when creating the final arching, which means lots of wood to work with. At this…


Added by Nate Tabor on July 6, 2013 at 11:51pm — 2 Comments

The Poisonwood ... Peg?

While in New York, a friend, the violin maker Brian Skarstad, spoke highly of a new violin that had just reached his shop by a colleague of his, John Moroz of Salt Lake City. I wasn’t in the market for another violin, but was going to be driving right past Brian's shop in Pleasantville, New York, and so out of curiosity I stopped in.…


Added by Thomas Suarez on June 29, 2013 at 9:30pm — No Comments

A Case for the Menuhin Shoulder Rest

The physical relationship between the violin and one’s body must rank as one of Creation’s supreme mysteries. The instrument should feel like part of your body, we correctly tell our students, yet sometimes it seems like an alien, cancerous appendage. Thus like most violinists, over the years I have experimented with the myriad shoulder rests commercially produced, as well as a few…


Added by Thomas Suarez on June 21, 2013 at 10:00am — 12 Comments

Emerson Quartet: Reflecting on Change, Pt. 1

Violinist Philip Setzer, a founding member of the Emerson Quartet, offers the first of three blogs by members of the group, reflecting on the recent personnel change that saw Paul Watkins taking over for longtime cellist David Finckel. In this installment, Philip notes that the celebrated string quartet has come full circle from its initial meeting with David 34 years ago.

Added by Greg Cahill on June 17, 2013 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Where Do You House the World's Tiniest Violins?

This ain't no small-time enterprise. Check out this exhibit at the Mini Time Machine Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

Added by Greg Cahill on June 13, 2013 at 3:13pm — No Comments

Montreal Violin Competition, Pt. V—It's a Wrap!

Strings contributor Laurence Vittes delivers his fifth and final blog from the Montreal Violin Competition.

Added by Greg Cahill on May 20, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Montreal Violin Competition, Pt. IV, the Results

And the winner is . . . . Laurence Vittes reports on the results of the Montreal Violin Competition.

Added by Greg Cahill on May 16, 2013 at 2:04pm — No Comments

The Montreal Violin Competition, Pt. III, The Finals

Strings contributor Laurence Vittes is blogging this week from the Montreal Violin Competition:

Of the three finalists who played Tuesday night at the Montreal Violin Competition, Belgium’s Marc Bouchkov, 22 years old, born into a distinguished family of Russian and Ukrainian musicians, emerged as the apparent winner. He was a student of Boris Garlitsky and Claire…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 15, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Catch Up With Casey Driessen's Fiddle/Sticks Project

View the first two episodes of Casey Driessen’s innovative Fiddle/Sticks project. Fiddle/Sticks is a collaborative exploration of rhythm that pairs this Grammy-nominated fiddler—a leading voice in percussive fiddle/violin technique (known as the chop)—with a list of the landmark drummers and percussionists of our time.

It serves as an inspirational and instructional resource for drummers, percussionists, fiddlers and everyone in the music community interested in pushing the boundaries…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 14, 2013 at 10:49am — No Comments

Live from Montreal: The Montreal Violin Competition, Pt.II

Strings contributor and blogger Laurence Vittes is reporting this week from the Montreal Violin Competition:

After the midnight Saturday announcement of the six finalists in the Montreal International Music Competition (MIMC), devoted this year to the violin, the survivors were given three days in which to practice and rehearse for their trials by concerto on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.



Added by Greg Cahill on May 14, 2013 at 10:48am — No Comments

Making a Cello, Part II

Strings corresponding editor James N. McKean writes:

Before I begin work on the rib structure, I join the top and the back. I want to let the joint rest before subjecting the plates to the stress of arching and graduating, but I'll also be using the back as a leveling plate to build the ribs on.

After I’ve run the two parts of the back through the joiner planer to level and roughly join them, I finish the joint with a beautiful old jack plane that my parents found for…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 13, 2013 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Live from Montreal

Strings contributor Laurence Vittes reports on the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and the city's concurrent violin competition.

Added by Greg Cahill on May 13, 2013 at 11:56am — No Comments

Making a Cello: Part One

Luthier and longtime Strings contributor James N. McKean writes:

By the time I left college to go to violin-making school I had been playing the violin for well over ten years—and yet I had not the slightest clue how the thing was made, much less how it worked.

Now, approaching the 40th anniversary of that day in early October when I arrived in Salt Lake City, every time I pick up my tools I’m still amazed at the instrument’s beauty. And by its acoustical…


Added by Greg Cahill on May 8, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments

5 Myths of Baroque String Playing

5 Myths of Baroque String Playing

1. Don’t vibrate

2. Don’t sustain or play legato

3. Swell on long notes

4. Play out of tune

5. Get a student violin, put gut strings on it, remove the chinrest, borrow a baroque bow and…


Added by Elizabeth Field on May 7, 2013 at 5:30pm — 2 Comments

Remembering Master Cellist & Teacher Janos Starker, 1924–2013

Even at an age when other string virtuosi have long since retired or continued to perform past their prime, master cellist Janos Starker could still astound audiences with his near-perfect intonation and impeccable phrasing, Strings contributor Robert Battey, who studied with Starker in the 1970s, wrote in a 2005 review of the cellist’s autobiography The World of Music According to Starker.

Death silenced that famous bow April 28, when Starker, 88, died in Bloomington,…


Added by Greg Cahill on April 29, 2013 at 2:32pm — No Comments

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