The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the handful of orchestras for which musicians the world over will drop everything to scramble for a job, and the audition ranks among the world’s toughest job interviews. Mike Tetreault has spent an entire year preparing obsessively for this moment. He's put in 20-hour workdays, practiced endlessly and shut down his personal life. Now the percussionist has 10 minutes to impress a selection committee and stand out among a lineup of other world-class musicians. A single mistake and it's over. A flawless performance and he could join one of the world's most renowned and financially well-endowed orchestras at a salary of more than $100,000 a year. The Audition. [more inside]
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
"Will Marion Cook is a name to reckon with in the history of black American music." Many of us have never heard of him, but with a recent recording of his work available, along with a new biography, now would be a good time to catch up and swing along.
Her name was Courage & is written Olga "Olga" (.pdf file in main link) is Olga Rudge, violinist, first promoter of the Vivaldi Renaissance, and longtime companion of the poet Ezra Pound. Pound maintained a complicated and delicate balance between the two most significant women in his life, Olga and his wife Dorothy Shakespear (who, among other things, was the daughter of Yeats's mistress). ‘‘Paris is where EP and OR met, and everything in my life happened,’’ Olga (listen to her voice here) said later of the chance encounter with Ezra at 20, rue Jacob, in the salon of Natalie Barney. They were together for fifty years, through the dark-night years of Pound's madness (arrested in 1945 for treason, deemed unable to stand trial and sent to an American mental institution, he once suggested to the UPI bureau chief in Rome that the United States trade Guam for some sound films of Japanese Noh plays, asked Truman many times to make him Ambadassor to Japan or Moscow; Guy Davenport reports dining with him one evening and all Ez said was "gnocchi"), until the poet's death in 1972. She lived on for another quarter century, turning up at conferences of Pound scholars --as far afield as Hailey, Idaho, Pound's birthplace, where she gave a lecture in the local movie theater. "Write about Pound", she told publishers who asked her to write her autobiography. (more inside, with Cantos)
Jon Rose isn't your average Australian violinist. He builds his own violins and plays the hell out of them.
Extraordinary violinist Isaac Stern dead at age 81 An abridged biography can be found here. As a casual listener, I mourn his death and hope that the gap this has left in music education can be filled.