As my summer finally starts about three weeks late, I thought I’d post a few items that caught my eye (and ear) recently.
-The Seattle Symphony appointed Maria Larionoff as Concertmaster, officially ending the four-CM concept used during the 07-08 season. But as many have pointed out, the announcement also stated that the other three (myself included) “will continue to lead the orchestra for various performances” and “the model of using rotating concertmasters will continue.” Local Seattle press here, Robert Levine writes about this and other interesting issues here.
-Some Dutch guys think that the “secret” to the violins of Stradivari and Guarneri (del Gesu) might lie in wood density. I’ve played quite a few over the years, and am playing one now; I can state with confidence that maybe that might have something to do with it. Or maybe not. And that’s pretty much the conclusion of the study itself (which involved CAT scans of the wood plates)- for you wonky types with a few hours to kill, here’s the actual paper itself. Maybe they’ll eventually do another study about the 5000 other things that might be involved.
– The musicians of the Columbus Symphony have continued playing anyway, despite being locked out by their management. They will keep the proceeds, as they attempt to pay for basics like the health insurance they lost when the Board shut down the orchestra at the beginning of June. Defying tradition, even the Dispatch had something positive to write about these concerts. It has also been reported that the “Trustees” of the orchestra (finally) began mediated talks with the musicians last week. Let’s hope a bolt of common sense somehow strikes “Buzz” and some of the others responsible for this mess.
-Maybe don’t bring the kids to this one: read Alex Ross’s review of Zimmermann’s amazing (and alarming) opera Die Soldaten, performed as a highlight of the recent Lincoln Center Festival.
I’ll try and post a bit more often this summer; fair warning…..