Browsing: Strings

Imagine attending an entire year of recitals at Carnegie Hall or Der Musikverein. At either concert hall you will no doubt encounter the pianists András Schiff, Barry Douglas, Richard Goode, Evgeny Kissin, Yefim Bronfman, Daniil Trifonov or Yuja Wang. Your listening path would also include at least one of the leading violin virtuosi of our time, perhaps Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos or Janine Jansen. You may also add to your annual subscription the experience of hearing Pablo Ferrandez, George Li, or Daniel Lozakovich, three rising stars of their generation. And, as an opera lover your radar will meet Esa-Pekka Salonen…

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July 24, 2017 – It is with bittersweet excitement that the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) wishes to announce the impending departure of RSO concertmaster, Simon MacDonald.  Simon has accepted a prestigious position as the Department Head for Strings at the Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM), and will complete his position as concertmaster as of July 31, 2017. For the past three seasons, Simon has been a valuable member and leader in the RSO family. In his role as concertmaster, he has made a significant contribution artistically and within the organization. He inspired his colleagues – both on stage and off stage -…

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Any new recording of the Walton concerto will always be measured against Jascha Heifetz, who commissioned the work in 1935, edited the solo part and gave the first performances, throwing down a challenge to all others to do it better, or different. Ida Haendel and Yehudi Menuhin were able to soften the granitic contours but few others have suggested that there is more to the piece than the mighty Heifetz mined out of it. Now along comes Anthony Marwood and turns our ears around. From first utterance, he finds an expansive, Elgarian colour to the piece, a breadth of phrase…

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The second concerto for cello by Dmitri Shostakovich is the least ingratiating of the six he wrote, two for each major instrument. Opening with a gloomy, growling monologue, the solo part is matched in misery by the orchestra. The concerto was written in 1966 and first performed by Mstislav Rostropovich at a Moscow concert to mark the composer’s 60th birthday. Knowing that public pessimism was an offence in the Soviet Union, Shostakovich held nothing back. The four-minute middle movement is friskier, though no less morbid than the opening Largo. Only in the finale does the composer express some relief and gratitude…

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Never heard of Carbonelli? Don’t feel too bad about it. The Vivaldi scholar Michael Talbot writes that he ‘has remained unknown, even to specialists’. Listen to the music, though, and you will wonder how work of such quality and intricacy could vanish so comprehensively into the mists of history. Carbonelli was a star violinist in London during Handel’s time. Born in Livorno in 1694 and possibly half-French, he becomes concertmaster at Drury Lane Theatre at the age of 25 and a much sought-after soloist. The Duke of Rutland paid for the publication of 12 sonatas and Carbonelli seemed well set…

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Victor Julien-Laferrière has won the 2017 Queen Elisabeth cello competition! The winner of the International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize – Queen Mathilde Prize receives 25.000 EUR and numerous concerts in Belgium and abroad. The prizewinners First Prize : Victor Julien-Laferrière Second Prize : Yuya Okamoto Third Prize : Santiago Cañón-Valencia Fourth Prize : Aurélien Pascal Fifth Prize : Ivan Karizna Sixth Prize : Brannon Cho The six unranked laureates, in alphabetical order : Sihao He, Seungmin Kang, Maciej Kulakowski, JeongHyoun Christine Lee, Yan Levionnois and Bruno Philippe. An overview of the prizes is presented on the competition’s website in the Cello 2017 menu. Ivan Karizna has won both prizes of the public (Prix Musiq’3 and Canvas-Klaraprijs).…

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“Classical music is a music of details. The more we advance in our musical learning, the more we become a looking glass, and this, to eventually learn how to forget.” Vincent Bélanger’s album Pure Cello is above all else a vision. It questions the essence of music, surpassing the borders of a musical culture too often standardized, even imprisoned by a restricted mindset. “I wanted each work to be unique,” the musician states. “If it’s done honestly, if it’s done well and the details are there, people will like it. Do it with honesty. And present your work to the…

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The Rolston Quartet are riding the crest of the wave they caught last September, when they won the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition. Winning that competition has propelled them toward a promising professional career, thanks, in part, to the support they are receiving from the Banff Centre, which runs the triennial international contest. Barry Shiffman, BISQC’s executive director, outlined some of the benefits that come from being a BISQC laureate in an interview from his office at Toronto’s Glenn Gould School, where the Rolstons were born in 2013. Three of the four current members – Luri Lee (first violin),…

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“It’s 2017!” is the new ­benchmark expression of ­disapproval for antiquated modes of thinking and doing, and we need only to look at the success of Marina Thibeault’s debut album Toquade to recognize that the viola has a voice ­autonomous from its petite counterpart and that henceforth all viola jokes must be met with exclamations of the date rather than laughter. They’re just not relevant anymore,” says Thibeault. “They’re like the embarrassing jokes that your uncle tells.” Reaching the top four Classical albums on iTunes on the day of its release, Toquade is but the cherry on the top of…

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Toquade Marina Thibeault, viola; Janelle Fung, piano ATMA 2017. ACD2 2759, 66 min 58 s. With the first recording of her career, violist Marina Thibeault strikes a balance ­between spirited and sentimental, tradition and innovation, accessibility and abstraction, leaving us with a clear and compelling understanding of the breadth of both the repertoire and the instrument itself. Thibeault has a sensitive but firm touch, painting long lines in which sounds become ideas. The disc opens with the Valse sentimentale from Tchaikovsky’s Six Pieces Op. 51. The transcription of the piece, originally written for piano, highlights the thematic binaries – the…

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