Archive | Culture

Disney Hall

The Concert Hall as a Civic Icon

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall, the gleaming, iconic home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, designed by Frank Gehry. The hall is more than a monument to a world class orchestra in the middle of a world class city. It’s a reminder that, like sports, music is […]

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Remembering Douglas Lowry

As an alumnus of the Eastman School of Music, I was saddened to hear that Eastman’s Dean Emeritus, Douglas Lowry passed away yesterday. I never met Lowry, but I knew that he was a respected composer. He served as Dean from 2007 up until last week and presided over several significant building projects at Eastman. These included […]

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An Orchestra and Its Community

Great orchestras gradually develop a unique sound and style of playing. This process takes place over time as conductors come and go, leaving their mark and new players are gradually assimilated. In the days when I was traveling between many orchestras as a free-lance violinist I could sense the “soul” of each organization. The ongoing […]

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Cheapening Broadway

Ticket prices and the profits generated by Broadway shows continue to soar but how does the experience compare with what audiences were getting fifty years ago? This question came to mind after a recent conversation I had with a student, following her attendance of Troika Entertainment’s touring production of West Side Story. Initially excited to see a live […]

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Jack Benny and the Violin

Here are a few of Jack Benny’s classic comedy routines featuring the violin. In his performances, Benny was know for his “bad” violin playing. In reality, he was a competent violinist and the owner of a Stradivarius. Through the years, Jack Benny’s guests included Isaac Stern and Jascha Heifetz. His show broke racial barriers in the […]

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James and the Giant Peach

Last week, one of my students pointed out that there is a violin playing grasshopper in James and the Giant Peach, the 1996 film based on the book by Roald Dahl. Here is a scene from the movie. If you’re familiar with this scene and you’ve always wondered what the grasshopper is playing, it’s the Gavotte en Rondeau from […]

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Janos Starker

Remembering Janos Starker

            Cellist Janos Starker died yesterday in Bloomington, Indiana at the age of 88. You can read about his extraordinary career as a performer and teacher here and here. You may also be interested in this documentary. Here is his recording of the opening movement of Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello, […]

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The View From The Stage: Real Life in a Professional Orchestra

A few years ago an enthusiastic audience member approached me after a concert. “I used to play a little clarinet in high school,” she said.  “How do I get  into the Richmond Symphony?” I explained the long, hard road I had traveled to become a professional musician. Then, with a look of confusion she said, […]

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Insights of a Great Humanitarian

Quotations from Nurtured By Love by Shinichi Suzuki: About Children: They have no thought of self-deception. They trust people and do not doubt at all. They know only how to love, and not how to hate. They love justice and scrupulously keep the rules. They seek joy, live cheerfully, and are full of life. They know […]

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Timothy Judd, violinist

Take A Friend To The Orchestra

In 2006 Drew McManus asked me to contribute an article to his annual Take A Friend To The Orchestra series. Widely regarded as an industry expert, Drew is a respected orchestra consultant and the author of the popular blog, Adaptistration. Soliciting ideas from a wide range of perspectives within the music business, Take A Friend […]

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The Listeners' Club

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