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All info related to players of stringed instruments

How to practice, in six steps

ImageI came across this article by Laurie Niles on - some excellent advice for student players to improve their practising.

"I think I forgot how to practice," said my student.

Well, I guess it's better than forgetting TO practice, but this is a problem that needs addressing. In fact, I'm finding that as my students get older, I need to take time to talk about practice strategies in a different way than I did when they were younger. Sure, I can identify their problem areas, but they need to start learning to do so on their own, and it isn't always obvious how to go about it. So let's say you are working on this week's etude, or a page of your concerto, or your orchestra music; here is a basic plan:


The Russian school of violin playing

ImageThe Russian school (later the Soviet school) of musicians formed a dominant force in classical music through the 20th century. From the studios of Leopold Auer in St Petersburg, Piotr Stolyarsky in Odessa, and Abram Yampolsky and Konstantin  Mostras in Moscow came great artists such as Elman, Heifetz, Milstein, Oistrakh, Kogan and many others. These iconic violinists had a profound impact on later generations worldwide.


József Lendvay plays Csárdás by Monti

This has to be one of the best versions of the famous Csárdás. Enjoy!


Tom Robbins on Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

Nadja Salerno-SonnenbergOne of my favourite violinists is Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, known for her fearless interpretations and passionate, electrifying performances. One of my favourite authors is Tom Robbins, known for his off-beat, highly original writing. When I came across this piece -- by Tom Robbins on Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg -- I knew that it has to be something special. You be the judge...

(This appeared in Wild Ducks Flying Backward, as well as Esquire, 1989)


Paul Dateh: violinist of the 21st century

ImageOne of the most interesting violinists currently is the jazz/hip hop phenomenon called Paul Dateh. He was planning to enrol in the violin performance programme at the Southern California Thornton School of Music, but switched to the Jazz course on his first day. He hasn't looked back - his youtube videos have drawn millions of views. Enjoy!


Wielding a Violin for Change in Afghanistan

William HarveyThe violin is one object that transcends cultures and ages like no other. Here is a heartwarming story that appeared in the AOL news today. It was written by Bina Shah

William Harvey is a slight young man with a shock of brown hair, glasses and a gentle, unassuming air. But when this Juilliard-trained violinist takes the stage, he's the biggest man in the room. And that's a good thing, given the monumental task he's taken on: using music to bridge cultural divides, both as founder of a unique musical outreach program and as a violin teacher at the newly inaugurated Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul.


Vanessa-Mae: I want to be an Olympic skier

ImageThis articles appeared in the Telegraph newspaper and was written by Olga Craig. It is true that she wants to ski in the Olympics, but the article also deals with her troubled relationship with her mother and the current state of her career.

Plonked on top of the modest piano in the lounge of Vanessa-Mae’s Swiss alpine apartment in Zermatt sits a somewhat battered ski helmet. “How hilarious is that?” she giggles. “But in a way it’s the perfect symbolism for my twin loves. Music, my life-long passion, and skiing, my life-long hobby.”


Play it again, Vieuxtemps. But for $18 million?

This article appeared in the NY Times recently and was written by Tom Hundley. The mind boggles...

After playing a few notes on the celebrated Vieuxtemps violin some years ago, Ruggiero Ricci, the American virtuoso, is said to have offered to trade his wife for the instrument.

After playing the Vieuxtemps, Mr. Quint said the instrument had “this ferocious power, this incredible beauty.”


Gidon Kremer on his Amati

This is from an interview Gidon Kremer conducted with Pamela Margles and appeared in The Wholenote in 2007. Amati violins and Amati model violins are not generally known for their big sound, and it is interesting that Kremer's experience is directly the opposite. Another side note is that this particular instrument was stolen and surfaced recently before Kremer acquired it.


Lee and Anichenko win in South Africa

Yura Lee and Georgi Anichenko won the violin and cello categories respectively at the Unisa International String Competition in Pretoria, South Africa. The 24-year-old Lee, from South Korea, played the Tchaikovsky Concerto in the final. Anichenko, also 24, from Belarus, won with his performance of the Dvorák Cello Concerto. Each winner was awarded a first prize of R200,000 (£16,500).

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