Violin and fiddle stuff


Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Successful funding drive averts threat of orchestras closure. The London Mozart Players, one of the UKs oldest chamber orchestras, has staved off the possibility of closure after a drive to raise urgent funds was a success. Two months after news emerged that the chamber orchestra was on the brink, its funding appeal is on track to reach its target of £50,000 by the end of July. The orchestras managing director Simon Funnell said that individual donations to the appeal had ranged from a few pounds to more than £5,000. The London borough of Croydon, where the ensemble has been based for over 20 years, has agreed to continue its support until March 2013, committing £180,000 over two years from April 2011.

via The Strad – Appeal saves London Mozart Players – 11 July 2011.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Performers return old Italians after fears they may be seized overseas.

Czech musicians have had to return old Italian stringed instruments belonging to the Czech state to the vaults of the National Museum in Prague because of fears they could be impounded abroad. Among those affected are violinist Jan Talich and cellist Petr Prause of the Talich Quartet, who had to hand in their Stradivari violin and Grancino cello, although they will still be allowed to perform on the instruments in concerts within the Czech Republic.The move to recall the instruments and other valuable items of cultural heritage that are out on loan comes after developments in a long-running arbitration battle between the government and Diag Human, a blood plasma company. Courts in Vienna and Paris recently recognised a 2008 Czech arbitration court ruling that the government owed Diag Human $500m as compensation for claiming in 1992 that the company was suspected of illegal activities, resulting in it losing a government contract. In an attempt to enforce the claim, Austrian authorities seized two Czech paintings, together worth an estimated $877,000, from Viennas Belvedere Gallery. The Czech government, which refused to recognise the original 2008 ruling, is appealing the Vienna and Paris court rulings, but has moved swiftly to ensure that other valuable artworks and cultural assets cannot be used as collateral to force it to pay up.

via The Strad – Czech state recalls instruments – 23 June 2011.

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

How an exciting new social phenomenon has the power to transform classical music.A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire. Flash mobs are a recent social phenomenon. Some might say they go hand in hand with the fairly fatuous “planking” craze. Both have arisen from the ability to share something easily via technology – an act so seemingly random that it becomes entertainment.From mass public pillow fights to “silent discos” participants on the London Underground synced their portable music devices and silently danced for the unexpected viewing pleasure of bemused commuters, flash mobs have taken a variety of forms, but I would argue that they have an ability to serve a greater purpose. In particular I’ve taken an interest in the way classical music has been used in this context. It fits the bill perfectly; something that is widely perceived to belong in a concert hall, usually performed with a sense of formality to audiences who pay good money. Many people view classical music as a luxury. Taking it away from the revered theatres to the general public, free of charge and in a fun, surprising way is surely a good thing that’s bound to attract some attention.For us musos, there’s the thrill of being “in on it”. But interestingly, it’s not just amateur musicians getting into this social movement, and it goes far beyond busking. Professional ensembles around the world have seen it not only as a bit of fun, but a way of reaching the masses in a modern, relevant way.

via Classical flash mobs | Limelight Magazine.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Lafayette Specialty School

Lafayette Specialty School fighting to save its orchestra

CHICAGO — The violin isn’t pretty, but its scratched frame has been well-loved by the girl who cradles it now, and those who played it before her. Her mother calls it her daughter’s “soul mate.”The instrument doesn’t belong to Nidalis Burgos. It is on loan from her school, where the seventh-grader packs it up each weekday to bring it home.LINK: Resilience! Student Overcomes Cancer, Homelessness To GraduateLINK: Priceless! Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Jacket Up For AuctionLINK: “The Wire” Creator To Eric Holder: End War On Drugs, Get New SeasonShe practices anywhere she can – in her bedroom, in the kitchen, on her back porch so she can hear the sound reverberate off the brick apartment buildings that line the alley. Usually, she warms up with “Ode to Joy,” her mother’s favorite song, and a fitting theme for a girl who truly seems to love playing.“Music brings a little peace to the mind,” the 13-year-old says.Her own frame is so tiny that she plays a violin that is three-quarters the standard size. But when she plays it, she feels big, powerful even.That is a common feeling among the 85 students who play in the after-school string orchestras at the Lafayette Specialty School, a public school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, where more than 90 percent of the students come from poverty.Though gentrifying with occasional upscale condominium buildings, this is a place where it’s not always easy to be a kid, where gang members are often seen standing on street corners, and where too many students are witnesses to violence.“They live in one of the wealthiest cities and wealthiest nations in the world, and some of these students have barely anything,” principal Trisha Shrode says. “Some of them don’t have clean clothes. They don’t have items for school.”

READ MORE via Chicago School Fights To Save Its Orchestra | News One.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

It can be tempting to neglect your instrument and do something more enjoyable for the moment such as watching a movie, hanging out on Facebook, playing online games, or perhaps taking an unnecessary nap.

Here are a few tips to help you stay motivated.

  • Leave your instrument out in plain site>
  • Listen to great music and performances.
  • Read through new pieces of music.
  • Find play along recordings or music to jam with.
  • Plan a performance.
  • Find a friend to play duets with.
  • Find musicians to motivate you on a forum or other social network.
  • Enroll in a competition.
  • Plan a chamber music party or jam session.
  • Record yourself.Join a community orchestra.
  • Find friends with mutual interests.
  • Set specific goals for your instrument.
  • Get a teacher. If you don’t have time for lessons every week, maybe every other week.

via How do you stay motivated? | Fiddlerman.

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Brits Tasmin Little

Brits Tasmin Little



Violinists dominate Classical BritsTasmin Little and Vilde Frang among award winnersTasmin Little and Vilde Frang were among the winners at the Classical Brit Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Little picked up the Critics Award for her 2010 recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto. Norwegian violinist Frang, 24, won the Newcomer Award. There was also success for André Rieu, whose Moonlight Serenade album with his Johann Strauss Orchestra was named Album of the Year.

via The Strad – Violinists dominate Classical Brits – 13 May 2011.

Vilde Frang

Vilde Frang violinist

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Cleveland Orchestra

Cleveland Orchestra's residency in Florida very controversial.

Now closing the fifth season of its annual residency in Miami, the Cleveland Orchestra has brought Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to public school children, master teachers to the University of Miami and top-flight performances of classics to the Adrienne Arsht Center.Yet the residency has also vacuumed up scarce philanthropic dollars at a time when South Florida arts organizations are cutting back while giving Miami audiences a parade of lowest-common-denominator works like Bolero and Pictures at an Exhibition.For three weeks each winter, the orchestra escapes the blustery shore of Lake Erie for the palm trees, sand and sun of South Florida, playing a three-program concert series at the Arsht Center, putting on children’s concerts – some offered free for Miami public school students — and engaging in an intense round of master classes, side-by-side performances, recitals and other events at the University of Miami and other institutions.The residency, which holds its final concerts of the year this weekend at the Arsht Center, is one of several the orchestra has developed to expand its audience and donor base beyond its Ohio home in a city that has lost 17 percent of its population over the past decade, according to Census data released last month. The other residency cities are New York, Vienna, Lucerne and Bloomington, Indiana.Opinions vary widely on the impact of the Miami residency.“I think it’s been great for Miami,” said Hector Fortun, a Miami insurance executive who serves on the board of the Musical Arts Association of Miami, the fundraising arm of the Miami residency. “You have one of the world’s best orchestras performing in Miami, with high-caliber music, visits to local schools, making a fabulous contribution. It’s another happening like the Super Bowl and the boat show.“People fly in from Puerto Rico, Venezuela. How lucky we are to have an orchestra of that caliber in Miami. Otherwise you’d have to go to Vienna to hear an orchestra that good.”But even with the orchestra’s busy community activities, many local musicians still see the three-week residency as a drag on South Florida’s arts scene—-weakening the incentive for establishing a local orchestra to replace the defunct Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and crowding out the fundraising efforts of local arts organizations.“The consensus from the musical community is that a three-week residency in no way can replace a local orchestra,” said Jeffrey Apana, an oboist and secretary-treasurer of the South Florida Musicians Association. “The Cleveland Orchestra comes for three weeks a season, and the money they’re making has been taken back to Cleveland and not spent in the local community. An orchestra in residency is not a substitute for a local orchestra. A local orchestra is part of the community and gives back to the community.”A local orchestra, Apana adds, would provide a pool of high-quality professionals to serve as music teachers, chamber music players and performers in opera and ballet orchestras. It would also provide opportunities for freelancers to work as replacements. And any money that it raises, it spends in the community.In the first three years of the Miami residency, the orchestra raised a total of $8,107,256 in South Florida, counting multi-year pledges, according to publicly available tax forms. Fundraising from last year and the current season has not yet been reported. The money goes toward paying part of the orchestra’s annual budget, which includes — at the high end — music director Franz Welser-Möst’s salary of $1,124,033 and concertmaster William Preucil’s salary of $467,212, according to 2008 tax forms. Welser-Möst volunteered to take a pay cut in 2009, during financial difficulties for the orchestra. A spokeswoman declined to provide updated figures, saying salaries were a confidential personnel matter.

READS MORE via South Florida Classical Review » Blog Archive » After five years, the Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami residency remains both prized and controversial.

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra fearful of radiation risk from Japan

The Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra has cancelled a visit to South Korea amid concerns over the radiation risk from Japan. The orchestra was due to give two concerts at the Tongyeong International Music Festival, including tomorrow’s opening concert. Despite assurances from Korean authorities that radiation from Japan would not affect Korea, the orchestra announced midweek that it was pulling out of the festival. A spokesperson for the orchestra cited the changing situation in Japan and Austrian memories of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster’s radiation impact as reasons behind the cancellation.

via The Strad – Orchestra cancels Korea visit – 25 March 2011.

Friday, March 18th, 2011 has added yet another game to his collection.

Violin Fingering Game

Violin Fingering Game

People with absolutely no knowledge of playing the violin or fiddle can now learn to read music and use the violin fingerboard with the help of a simple game. Fiddlermans new game, VIOLIN FINGERING GAME,  also has an interactive finger pattern chart in 8 of the most popular key signatures which can help students familiarize themselves with the most popular finger patterns.

The new game consists of 3 levels. The first level is more for the beginner reader. It begins with one string at a time, ten guesses per string from the G to the E string. The correct string is even highlighted to help the learning process for the beginner.
The intermediate level is much more difficult and intended to help the eye to finger associate as well as correct position for correct string. Mistakes are sounded by a buzzer and game points reduce as time goes by for each guess.
To get a real high score one must be fast and able to see the key signature, notes and fingerboard at the same time.
The final level is extremely difficult when tempo increases to its maximum and difficult even for the professional. The game does not reflect ones real capability to read music but will help those with other type of reading problems.

Also check out Fiddlermans INTONATION GAME which can prove to be very challenging when the pitch differences are as little as 5 cents on some of the advance level challenges.

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Alina Ibragimova

Alina Ibragimova, violinist

Filmmakers will collaborate with Alina Ibragimova at Manchester International FestivalAlina Ibragimova is teaming up with influential filmmakers and animators the Brothers Quay for a programme of solo violin music at this years Manchester International Festival. Ibragimova will play works by Berio, Bach, Biber and Bartók in a promenade performance, leading audiences of 100 around the Chethams School of Music building. A specially commissioned stop-motion animated film by the Brothers Quay will accompany Ibragimovas playing of the Bartók Solo Violin Sonata.Eighteen performances of the programme are scheduled between 1 and 17 July.Ibragimova last played at the Manchester International Festival in 2009, when she performed solo Bach in an auditorium installation by Zaha Hadid Architects.

via The Strad – New Quay brothers film for violinist – 18 March 2011.