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Prone to Violins
violinhunter
About violinists, violins, and the violence that occurs between the two.
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Giuliano Carmignola is an Italian violinist, conductor, and teacher born (in Treviso, Italy) on July 7, 1951.  He is known for his career as an eminent exponent of Baroque music.  However, his repertoire encompasses works from the early Baroque to late modern.  His repertoire includes the Schumann violin concerto, a piece which has an interesting history.  Nonetheless, his discography is focused on the Baroque.  He first studied with his father.  His later teachers included Luigi Ferro, Nathan Milstein, Franco Gulli, and Henryk Szeryng.  Among the music schools he attended are the Venice Conservatory, the Accademia Chigiana (Siena, Italy – school of Salvatore Accardo, John Williams, and Daniel Barenboim also) and the Geneva Conservatory.  From early in his career, Carmignola has collaborated with many conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Roberto Abbado, Trevor Pinnock, and Christopher Hogwood.  He has regularly played and recorded with various chamber orchestras – the Virtuosi Di Roma (1970-1978), Mozart Orchestra, Il Giardino Armonico, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, and Venice Baroque Orchestra are among them.  A similar path has been taken by Vladimir Spivakov and Fabio Biondi.  Carmignola's best known recordings are probably his complete Mozart concertos, complete Haydn concertos, a number of Pietro Locatelli concertos, the Four Seasons (Vivaldi), and several two-violin concertos by Vivaldi with Viktoria Mullova.  YouTube has many videos of his playing, including one of the Brahms Double concerto.  You can hear one such video (of the Summer portion from the Four Seasons) here – it is played at the fastest tempo I have ever heard.  He spends almost all of his time in Europe and did not make his U.S. debut until 2001 at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.  Since 2003, he has been an exclusive artist for the Deutsche Gramophone label.  Carmignola has taught at the Advanced Music School in Lucerne (Switzerland) and at his old school, the Accademia Chigiana.  His violins include the Baillot Stradivarius of 1732 and a 1739 violin by Johannes Florenus Guidantus.  
3 years ago | |
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Hubert Leonard was a Belgian violinist, teacher, and composer born (in Bellaire) on April 7, 1819.  He is mostly remembered for having taught – for almost 20 years - at the Brussels Conservatory where Charles De Beriot, between 1843 and 1852, had also taught.  Leonard later settled in Paris where he continued to teach privately.  Among his most celebrated students were Henry Schradiek and Martin Marsick.  As a child, he began his studies with his father and even gave a public concert before entering  the Brussels Conservatory in 1832, at age 12.  From age 9, he had also been studying with an obscure teacher surnamed Rouma.  Leonard enrolled in the Paris Conservatory in 1836 where his principal teacher was Francois Habenek.  He was 17 years old.  Funding for his studies came from a wealthy merchant.  He left the conservatory in 1839 but stayed in Paris where he was employed by the orchestras of the Variety Theatre and the Opera Comique.  He toured through various European cities from 1844 to 1848.  A single source gives a different date for this event in Leonard’s life (1845.)  In Leipzig, he met Mendelssohn who briefly tutored him in composition.  Leonard also learned Mendelssohn’s concerto and played it on tour.  The concerto had just then recently been premiered in 1845 by Ferdinand David but Leonard was the first to play it in Berlin with Mendelssohn on the podium.  Leonard began teaching at the Brussels Conservatory in 1848 (Grove’s Dictionary says 1847), at age 29, but continued to tour sporadically, extending his tours as far as Norway and Russia.  After quitting the conservatory in Brussels in 1866, he again settled in Paris, where he spent the next 24 years.  Leonard’s compositions include five (or six) violin concertos, duos for violin and piano, a cadenza for the Beethoven concerto, fantasias, salon pieces, and etude books for violin, including a book entitled 24 classic etudes.  I am not certain but I’m pretty sure the concertos have never been recorded.  Supposedly, Leonard once said “The bow is the master, the fingers of the left hand are but his servants.”  Leonard died in Paris on May 6, 1890, at age 71.  He had owned a G.B. Guadagnini (1751), an Andrea Guarneri (1665), and two Magginis, one of which went to his widow, who sold it in 1891.  
3 years ago | |
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Lorand Fenyves was a Hungarian violinist and teacher born (in Budapest) on February 20, 1918.  He is known for having spent much of his career in Canada and is credited with helping establish an entire generation of musicians in that country.  His teachers in Hungary included Jeno Hubay and Zoltan Kodaly, internationally known violinist and composer, respectively.  Though he made his professional debut at age 13, he graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy in 1934, at age 16.  Two years later, having been recruited by Bronislaw Huberman, he left Europe for Israel to become a founding member of the Palestine Symphony (Israel Philharmonic.)  He soon became its concertmaster.  He was 18 years old.  In 1940, he helped found the Israel Conservatory and Academy of Music in Tel Aviv.  He also organized the Israel String Quartet, originally known as the Fenyves String Quartet.  He moved to Switzerland in 1957 (at age 39) where he was concertmaster of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and violin professor at the Geneva Conservatory.  He visited Canada in the summer of 1963.  The following year, he accepted a one-year position at the University of Toronto.  He actually remained there until his retirement in 1983.  In 2003, the University gave a recital in honor of his 85th birthday – a common thing for universities to do for their revered music professors.  After his retirement from the University of Toronto, Fenyves began teaching (in 1985) at the University of Western Ontario.  Nevertheless, he also gave masterclasses at music centers around the world and performed as violin soloist with well-known conductors and orchestras numerous times.  You can listen to Fenyves play a Bach Sonata in this YouTube audio file, recorded when he was about 70 years old.  Among his pupils are Tasmin Little, Elissa Lee, Scott St John, and Lynn Kuo.  Fenyves died (in Zurich, Switzerland) on March 23, 2004, at age 86.  The 1720 (circa 1720) Stradivarius violin which he owned – now known as the Fenyves Strad – was sold at auction in 2006 for about $1,500,000 USD.  Fenyves had purchased it in 1961.  
3 years ago | |
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Lynn Kuo is a contemporary Canadian violinist, teacher, and lecturer with a very successful and versatile career.  In the orchestral world, she is the Assistant Concertmaster of the orchestra of the National Ballet of Canada.  It is a prestigious position.  Not too many people know that Joseph Joachim was assistant concertmaster in Leipzig under Felix Mendelssohn, Zino Francescatti was assistant concertmaster with a French orchestra prior to dedicating most of his career to touring, and Arnold Steinhardt (first violinist of the Guarneri Quartet) was assistant concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.  In the concert world, Kuo has already toured Europe, including Austria, Hungary, Wales, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine, both in recital and with many major orchestras.  As most concert violinists do, she also performs with many chamber music ensembles and has frequently programmed the works of several modern composers, whom she champions.  She has also served as guest concertmaster of Pinchas Zukerman’s orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, one of the premier orchestras of Canada.  Her music studies began in her native St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, at age 7.  However, her first instrument was not the violin – it was the piano.  Among her first teachers were Mark Latham, Nancy Dahn, and Eileen Kearns.  Kuo later attended summer music festivals in Aspen (Colorado), Kent-Blossom (Ohio, USA), Quebec, Banff, and Schleswig-Holstein (in Northern Germany.)  Her later teachers in Toronto included Erika Raum, Mayumi Seiler, and Lorand Fenyves (pupil of Jeno Hubay and one of the original members of the Israel Philharmonic, having personally been invited by Bronislaw Huberman.)  As do other contemporary violinists – Nigel Kennedy, Itzhak Perlman, Alexander Markov, and Miranda Cuckson among them - Kuodoes not limit herself to purely classical music.  Her collaborations with artists in other genres are well-known.  Many of Kuo’s performances have been broadcast on radio and television as well, in Canada and overseas.  She has also been chosen to present world premieres of several new works.  She has recorded for the NAXOS label and her new CD – simply titled LOVE: Innocence, Passion, Obsession - is scheduled to be released soon.  Critics have written that “her technique appears flawless and her playing is dramatic, both rousing and melancholy.”  You can hear for yourself here.  She also has a Facebook page here where she documents some of her career events - she recently received her DMA degree from the University of Toronto.  Kuo plays an 1888 Vincenzo Postiglione violin.  
3 years ago | |
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Daniel Hope is a British violinist, writer, teacher, and conductor, born (in Durban, South Africa) on August 17, 1973.  Besides his concertizing, he is known for his varied interests and is also identified with his extended promotion (more than 17 years) of the music of composers who perished in concentration camps in World War II.  Those composers include Gideon Klein, Pavel Haas, Erwin Schulhoff, and Zigmund Schul.  As a violinist and advocate for various causes, he follows in the footsteps of Bronislaw Huberman, Arthur Hartmann, Joseph Achron, Vladimir Spivakov, Ivry Gitlis, and Shlomo Mintz.  Hope began his violin studies at age four in England as a result of his (indirect) close association with Yehudi Menuhin, whose secretary was Hope’s mother.  He later studied at the Royal Academy of Music (London) with Zakhar Bron (teacher also of Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin) until graduation.  However, by age 11, he was already playing concerts with Yehudi Menuhin, with whom he collaborated artistically more than 60 times, including Menuhin’s final concert on March 7, 1999 – Menuhin died five days later.  At age 29, in the midst of an established concertizing career, Hope joined the famous Beaux Arts Trio (Menahem Pressler and Antonio Meneses) in 2002 and played with them until they disbanded (after a 53-year career) in 2008.  Of course, he has already played in most of the major concert halls with most of the major orchestras in the world.  He has for many years also been engaged by some of the top music festivals.  Hope has written a fascinating book entitled Family Album but it is written in German – I don’t know whether an English translation is available.  His recording catalog is not extensive but it includes the original version of the Mendelssohn concerto.  Thanks to this recording, we can better appreciate Ferdinand David’s contribution in making the concerto more Romantic in style – the original version sounds a little archaic; in places, as if it had come from Viotti or Spohr.  The recording is not available on YouTube but this one is - it's a more modern concerto.  The New York Times has stated that Hope “puts classical works within a broader context – not just among other styles and genres but amid history, literature, and drama – to emphasize music’s role as a mirror for struggle and aspiration.”  Among other violins, Hope has played a 1769 Gagliano (purchased from Menuhin) and a 1742 Guarnerius – the Lipinski Guarnerius – on loan from a German family.  
3 years ago | |
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The latest news about happenings in the music industry includes plenty of articles regarding the financial troubles the Minnesota Orchestra, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony (among others) are experiencing.  This comes on the heels of bankruptcy declarations by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Syracuse Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra, the New Mexico Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony in 2011.  The Detroit Symphony musicians’ strike last year was also well-publicized.  It’s like an epidemic.  The situation is so dire that orchestra musicians are not even being given the option to strike – the management is simply locking them out of their working venues before any threats of strikes are uttered by the musicians union – the American Federation of Musicians.  That is truly unfair to the musicians.  I won’t go into where you can find the various sites where you can read detailed reports – they are in all the major news journals.  Just google orchestras in trouble and you’ll find as many as you have time for.  Many professional experts (and other people “in the know”) have opinions as to what might be to blame for the mess although, logically, there is really only one culprit: the Board of Directors.  The union shares a little blame, but not much.  Among other things, the Board is responsible for fiscal oversight – their function is not all that different from the function of any other business board.  Whatever else they do, fiscal soundness is their most important responsibility.  It is serious business, but it’s as simple as running a household – you either live within your means or you don’t.  It’s as simple as balancing an equation: X (expenses) must equal Y (income.)  X cannot be greater than Y.  Reading a financial report is not rocket science.  Even I can do it.  In any case, Boards typically hire CPAs who take care of analyzing budgets for them.  If an important and culturally significant enterprise like a world-class orchestra goes under, the blame can only be laid at the feet of the Board which has been appointed (or, in many cases, volunteered) to make certain that these problems don’t suddenly catch up to them.  We are not talking about an ENRON situation, where bankruptcy might be largely due to malfeasance, to put it politely.  We are talking about numbers on a sheet of paper which send clear distress signals (warning bells, if you will) far in advance of any peril.  If an orchestra suddenly finds itself in precarious circumstances, that can only mean that the Board ignored the warnings which were visible to them.  They failed to act.  It cannot mean anything else.  Commentators who are looking for other answers – failures in planning, failures in marketing, failures in programing, in audience building, in communications, in education outreach, in personnel policies - are dancing around the real problem. Arts organizations are not expected to turn a profit.  Since time immemorial, artists – composers and performers alike - have turned to the Church or to wealthy and generous patrons for assistance – Bach, Vivaldi, Wagner, Prokofiev, etc.  This is especially true of orchestras because they are so expensive to maintain.  There have been very few exceptions to the need for subsidies (at some point) in any artist’s career, but only in the case of individual artists.  Today especially, for instance, top violinists depend on benefactors to provide fine instruments for them to use.  If that’s not a sudsidy, I don’t know what is.  I have never known any orchestra to subsist entirely on ticket sales.  It could be done, but every ticket would have to be priced in the stratosphere where, in fact, nobody could afford one. Not only that, but every seat would have to be sold for every concert.  If you look at it another way, the arts patron – private or public – is really subsidizing the average concert goer, by as much as 60% of the cost of attending any given concert.  Without the benefactors, there would be no art, except for the wealthy, as in days gone by.  This formula however, does not absolve the Board from its responsibility of looking after the fiscal health of the orchestra.  When funds are lacking, it must sound the alarm, but never after the building has gone down in flames.  If the union – having received due notice of impending doom - balks at renegotiating a contract which by its weight may soon kill the whole enterprise, the union should be shut down because at that point, it is getting in the way of sound fiscal planning.  Nevertheless, it seems like that’s already a moot point in the cases cited above.  Management is frequently asked to enter into iron-clad contracts (containing salary guarantees, etc.) which are unrealistic in income projections; they do so hoping for best-case scenarios which usually don’t materialize.  They also do so to avoid nasty confrontations with the union.  When these contracts result in deficits, the Board then goes begging for extra funds to make up the shortfall.  Even wealthy Foundations and patrons get tired of the same old routine and sometimes close their purse strings; when that happens, a crisis results, especially in hard economic times.  Then, the finger pointing begins, after which a seriously adversarial relationship between Management and musicians develops.  Usually, the enterprise collapses and then is almost inevitably re-started under a cloud of bad feelings.  Contingency funds should therefore always be in place to help during hard times and contracts should be written with plenty of contigency clauses to cover unintended emergencies, regardless of what the union demands.  It beats having to shut the doors.  Will things ever change?  I doubt it.  Ask the New York Philharmonic if it has a surplus – or ask the Boston Symphony or the Chicago Symphony or the Cleveland Orchestra.  I hope so.  
3 years ago | |
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Adolph Brodsky (Adolph Davidovich Brodsky) was a Russian violinist, teacher, and conductor born (in Taganrog) on April 2, 1851.  He is perhaps best known as the violinist who premiered Tchaikovsky’s difficult violin concerto after Leopold Auer turned it down because he found it unplayable.  Although he spent three years in the U.S., his career began and ended in Europe.  His grandfather and father (David) were both violinists and he is said to have begun his lessons at age 4 in his hometown.  At age 9, he played a concert in Odessa (Russia-Ukraine) and was subsequently sponsored by a wealthy patron, to continue his studies in Vienna, at the Vienna Conservatory, with Joseph Hellmesberger (the elder.)  For a time, Brodsky played second violin in the Hellmesberger Quartet, said to be the first string quartet that actually bore a specific name.  In addition, from 1866 to 1868, Brodsky played in the Imperial (Vienna) Court Orchestra.  He was 15 years old.  In 1870, at about age 20, he left Vienna to tour as a concert violinist.  He settled in Moscow in 1873 where he obtained a teaching position at the Moscow Conservatory in 1875.  He held this post until 1878.  On December 4, 1881, he premiered the Tchaikovsky concerto in Vienna with Hans Richter conducting.  He was 30 years old.  Although initially dedicated to Leopold Auer, the dedication was re-assigned to Brodsky.  Nevertheless, Auer subsequently learned the concerto and taught it to his young pupils, one of which was Jascha Heifetz.  Tchaikovsky was not present at Brodsky’s premiere performance although he later attended a concert in Leipzig (in 1888) in which Karl Halir was the soloist and was extremely pleased with the concerto.  From 1883 to 1891, Brodsky taught at the Leipzig Conservatory.  It was here that Brodsky formed the Brodsky String Quartet with Ottokar Novacek, Hans Sitt, and Leopold Grutzmacher.  It was also at Brodsky’s home that Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, and Johannes Brahms met (all at once) for the first time.  Though Brahms advised against it, in 1891, Brodsky accepted a position as concertmaster of the New York Symphony (for which Carnegie Hall was built), playing under Walter Damrosch.  Brodsky returned to Europe in 1894.  Some sources say he returned in 1895.  He was 43 years old.  After spending some time in Berlin, he was invited to England (by Charles Halle) to teach at the Royal Manchester College of Music and to lead the Halle Orchestra as concertmaster.  It was here that he changed his name from Adolf to Adolph.  From 1895 until his death in 1929, Brodsky taught and was Director at the Royal College.  He also occasionally conducted the Halle Orchestra.  It is said that he was one of the first automobile owners in town.  While in Manchester, Brodsky re-established his string quartet with Rawdon Briggs, Simon Speelman, and Carl Fuchs.  In 1919, Edward Elgar wrote and dedicated his Opus 83 string quartet (in e minor) to this new Brodsky Quartet.  In 1927, Brodsky played the Elgar violin concerto with the Halle Orchestra with Elgar on the podium.  He was 75 years old.  For 17 years (1880 to 1897) his violin was the LaFont Guarnerius of 1735, for many years now played by Nigel Kennedy.  Brodsky, who was also a chess player, died on January 22, 1929, at age 77.  I don’t know if he had any famous pupils.   
3 years ago | |
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William Kroll was an American violinist, teacher, and composer born (in New York) on January 30, 1901.  As were violinists Joseph Achron, Christian Sinding, Benjamin Goddard, Otakar Novacek, and Arthur Hartmann, he is famous for a single composition, Banjo and Fiddle, which most concert violinists learn and play at one time or another.  He began his violin studies with his father (a violinist) at age 4.  At age 9 or 10, he went to Berlin to continue his studies with Henri Marteau, Joseph Joachim’s successor at the Berlin Advanced School for Music.  He returned to the U.S. after World War I broke out in 1914.  In New York, he studied at Juilliard (Institute of Musical Arts) with Franz Kneisel from 1916 to 1921.  He actually made his public debut in New York at age 14.  One source describes his debut as “prodigious.”  Although Kroll concertized as a soloist in Europe and the Americas, he dedicated a great deal of time to chamber music as a member of various chamber music ensembles, well-known in their time: the Elshuco Trio (William Kroll, Willem Winneke, and Aurelio Giorni, 1922-1929), the South Mountain Quartet (1923-), the Coolidge Quartet (William Kroll, Nicolai Berezowsky, Nicolas Moldavan, and Victor Gottlieb, 1936-1944), and the Kroll Quartet (William Kroll, Louis Graeler, Nathan Gordon, and Avron Twerdowsky, 1944-1969.)  The Coolidge Quartet was being paid $400.00 per concert in 1938, a good sum in those days – the equivalent of $6,550.00 today.  From a very early age, he taught at several music schools, namely Juilliard (1922-1938), Mannes College (1943-), the Peabody Conservatory (1947-1965), the Cleveland Institute (1964-1967), and Queens College (1969-)  Kroll made very few commercial recordings but an interesting one is a recording of three Mozart Sonatas available here for about $120.00.  It includes the famous K454 sonata which Mozart wrote in 1784 for Regina Strinasacchi, one of the very first female concert violinists.  You can listen to a short Kroll recording on YouTube here.  Among his violins were a 1709 Stradivarius (the Ernst Strad, aka as the Lady Halle Strad, owned and played by Heinrich Ernst, and, later, by Wilma Neruda) and a 1775 G.B. Guadagnini.  Kroll died (in Boston) on March 10, 1980, at age 79.  
3 years ago | |
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Mischa Mischakoff was a Russian (Ukrainian) violinist, teacher, and conductor born (in Proskurov, later known as Khmelnitzky) on April 16, 1895.  His year of birth is also given as 1897.  He is known for having been concertmaster of many orchestras but especially the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini, the well-known and ill-tempered conductor.  In fact, Mischakoff may well have been concertmaster of more orchestras than any other violinist in history – ten that I know of, not counting the St Petersburg Conservatory student orchestra.  For the record, those include the St Petersburg Philharmonic (1913), the Bolshoi Ballet (1920), the Warsaw Philharmonic (1921), the New York Symphony (1923), the Philadelphia Orchestra (1927), the Chicago Symphony (1929), the NBC Symphony (1937), the Chautauqua Symphony (during summer off seasons), the Detroit Symphony (1952), and the Baltimore Symphony (1969.)  He was a gifted artist who nonetheless (unjustly) became less recognized as time went on.  That is one of the disadvantages of playing in an orchestra.  However, even at age 75, Mischakoff was a phenomenal player.  You can hear for yourself here.  As a child, Mischakoff studied with Konstantin Konstantinovich Gorsky, an obscure but highly accomplished Russian violinist.  At about age 10, he entered the St Petersburg Conservatory where he studied under Leopold Auer’s assistant, Sergei Korguyev.  He made his orchestral debut on June 25, 1911, playing the Tchaikovsky concerto.  He was either 14 or 16 years old.  Upon graduation (1912), he played very briefly in Germany (Berlin - 1912) and then became concertmaster in St Petersburg.  Some sources have him playing in Moscow as well – for the Moscow Philharmonic and the Moscow Grand Opera.  He also served in a music regiment during World War One – 1914 to 1918.  He joined the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra as concertmaster in 1920.  He was 25 years old.  In 1917, he supposedly gave the world premiere of Prokofiev’s first concerto in Russia with Prokofiev conducting.  His name should therefore be very closely associated with the concerto but it isn’t.  A different source states that the world premiere was played in Paris on October 18, 1923, followed three days later by the Russian premiere by Nathan Milstein.  The truth might be found in one of Prokofiev’s diaries; unfortunately, I don't have access to them.  In 1921, greatly assisted by Polish violinist and conductor Emil Mlynarski, he fled Russia (accompanied by cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and, later, pianist Andre Kostelanetz) during a concert tour which took them very close to the border with Poland - Nathan Milstein too, later fled Russia while on a European tour with pianist Vladimir Horowitz in 1925.  Actually, the three musicians (Mischakoff, Piatigorsky, and Kostelanetz) spent about a year in Warsaw.  Twenty years earlier, Mlynarski had been a founder (as well as conductor) of the Warsaw Philharmonic and, therefore, still had considerable influence there.  An interesting fact about Mischakoff is that he sometimes used aliases.  In Poland, he was known as Michal Fieber.  In Germany he was known as Mischa Fibere and in provincial Russia as Mischa Mazia.  Most sources state that Mischakoff arrived in the U.S. (New York) in 1921 – a single (but very authoritative) source has him arriving in New York on Friday, September 22, 1922.  Mischakoff’s birth name had been Mischa Isaakevich Fischberg (or Fishberg.)  When he arrived in the U.S., his agent suggested he change it so he did.  He never had to change it again.  At the beginning, he had to do freelance work but he quickly established himself.  On November 9, 1924, he played the Tchaikovsky concerto with the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch at Aeolian Hall.  That may have been his first solo appearance in the U.S.  With the same orchestra, on March 11, 1926, he played the Brahms concerto in Carnegie Hall with Otto Klemperer on the podium.  On May 14, 1946, he performed the Tchaikovsky concerto with the New York Philharmonic (which had by then merged with the New York Symphony) at Carnegie Hall.  His longest tenure was with the NBC Symphony.  Mischakoff regularly performed as soloist with the NBC and many other orchestras during his 70-year career.  His many pupils include Ani Kavafian, Joseph Silverstein, Isidor Saslav, Leonard Sorkin, and David Cerone.  Among several other music schools, Mischakoff taught at Wayne State University (Detroit), Boston University, and the American Conservatory in Chicago.  He also taught at Juilliard from 1940 to 1952.  According to one source, he played four Stradivarius violins during his career but I could find no evidence of that.  Cozio – a usually reliable source – gives his violins as follows: (in chronological order) an 1829 Pressenda, a 1737 Gagliano, a 1731 Guarnerius, and a 1714 Stradivarius.  Mischakoff died (in Southfield, Michigan) on February 1, 1981, at age 85.  
3 years ago | |
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Alina Pogostkina is a Russian violinist born (in Leningrad) on November 18, 1983.  She began her lessons at age 4 with her father and gave her first concert one year later.  When she was 8 years old (1992), her family moved to Heidelberg, Germany.  According to one source, she and both of her parents - both are violinists – for some time made a living playing on the street.  Marie Hall did essentially the same thing in England, though without her parents.  Pogostkina is said to favor modern music.  She attended the Advanced School for Music in Berlin, studying with Antje Weithaas.  Along the way, she participated in several competitions, eventually winning the Jean Sibelius Competition in Helsinki in December of 2005, using a modern violin by Falk Peters.  She had already won the Louis Spohr Competition in 1997 (Freiburg, Germany) at age 14.  She also participated in the Queen Elizabeth and the Indianapolis Violin Competitions (2001 and 2002, respectively.)  Pogostkina now plays all over the world, accompanied by the best orchestras and the best conductors.  She also participates in quite a few music festivals around the world.  Her sound and technique is similar to Hilary Hahn’s – very crisp, emphatic, and clean with flawless intonation - but her musicianship is different.  YouTube has a few videos of her performances.  One is here, showing a complete (and spectacular) performance of the Sibelius concerto.  For a while, she was playing a 1709 Stradivarius violin, a loan from the German Music Instrument Fund.  Pogostkina now plays a modern violin by ChristianBayon.  Of course, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I absolutely favor modern violins over any old instrument.  The reason is that they are at least equal to any Amati, Strad, Guadagnini, Goffriller, or Guarneri and, in most cases, much better.  
3 years ago | |
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