The Road to Happiness in Music

Violinist Holly Mulcahy has written an interesting and insightful post about finding happiness and keeping perspective while pursing a competitive career in music. Holly is the concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and the author of the popular blog, Neo Classical. If you’re a young musician enduring the rigors of the audition circuit in the hopes of winning the “big job,” Holly’s post is a must read. Even if you’re not a musician, you’ll find …

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The "Lipinski" Strad Has Been Recovered

This morning some great news came out of Milwaukee. The “Lipinski” Stradivarius, which was stolen from violinist Frank Almond following a concert on January 27, has been recovered and is in good condition. The three alleged thieves are in custody. Learn more details here. It’s important that great violins are played, not just displayed behind glass. In fact, a violin needs to be played regularly to sound its best. Let’s hope audiences …

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The Violin: A Cross Between Art and Technology

Last week the music world was shocked by news of a well coordinated theft of the priceless 1715 “Lipinski” Stradivarius. The violin was on loan to Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Following a concert, the thieves used a stun gun to incapacitate Almond, who was not seriously injured. A $100,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the safe return of the instrument. You can read a statement from the violin’s owner …

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"Alive Inside" Highlights the Power of Music

The new documentary film, Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, debuts this week at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The film demonstrates the ability of music to awaken otherwise unresponsive Alzheimer’s patients, unlocking distant memories. It follows social worker Dan Cohen’s campaign to bring iPods and music therapy to nursing homes. The film is written, directed and produced by Michael Rossato-Bennett. Learn more about it here and here and keep an …

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Remembering Claudio Abbado

Renowned Italian conductor Claudio Abbado passed away yesterday at the age of 80. You can read about his life here. The greatest conductors know exactly what they want the music to sound like. Through unwavering conviction, they inspire the musicians of the orchestra to share their vision. Great conductors don’t practice in front of a mirror to put on a show. Every gesture embodies the essence of the piece in an honest …

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Nutcracker Season

Nutcracker season is in full swing here in Richmond. My orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, will perform Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker thirteen times through December 23. Richmond Ballet’s long-term dedication to live music in the orchestra pit is commendable and elevates their already excellent productions. There is no replacement for the power and emotional punch of live music. Canned music has a “deadening” effect, while live music unleashes a creative energy which propels all other aspects of …

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Vibrating Strings

Have you ever wondered what a vibrating violin string looks like in slow motion? Here is an interesting demonstration from the Discovery Channel. Notice that the E and G strings are vibrating sympathetically with the bowed A and D strings. As string players, our goal is always to draw the most resonant sound from the instrument. It’s possible for the bow to slip and slide on the surface, never fully catching the …

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