[24 Feb 2009 | No Comment | 3,126 views]
Mikhail Simonyan - Prokofiev Sonatas For Violin And Piano

In his early twenties Mikhail Simonyan has already achieved much attention as one of Russia’s most promising violinists.  From Novosibirsk in Russia he moved to Philadelphia to study at the Curtis Music School under Victor Danchenko, a student of David Oistrakh.  So it is only fitting that Simonyan has recently released Prokofiev’s Sonatas for Violin and piano which were written for David Oistrakh.  Listen to exerpts from the cd or check out Mikhail Simonyan’s site for more info and audio of his music or watch the following documentary.

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Journal »

[16 Feb 2009 | No Comment | 1,888 views]
Starting Over - Missing The Value of a Teacher

The violin is difficult enough to learn.  Trying to learn and improve without the benefit of a teacher is a daunting task indeed.  I wouldn’t say it is impossible, but  without a teacher it is not efficient or optimal and bad habits are sure to form.  I have been back at the violin now for almost two years and since September I have been going it alone without a teacher.  Until now I have felt engaged and challenged, but aware enough of areas to work on and things to do …

Composers »

[8 Feb 2009 | No Comment | 2,517 views]
Gorecki Sonata For Two Violins

Gorecki is most famously known for his 3rd Symphony of “Sorrowful Songs”  and for what has been termed holy minimalism: simply, austere and serene.  But in the 60’s Gorecki was an avant garde  contemporary composer writing quite different pieces.  The work in the following video is his Sonata for two violins.  It is not a billboard chart topper like his 3rd Symphony, certainly with less mass appeal,  but it is a contemporary piece well worth checking out.

Books, Education, Pedagogy »

[7 Feb 2009 | 2 Comments | 3,333 views]
Simon Fisher Basics and Practice

Simon Fisher’s violin exercise books Basics and Practice are a treasure trove of focused excercises and a worthy addition to any violin student or teacher’s library.  One amazon.com reviewer says “the sort of book you would wish for if it didn’t already exist.”  I have included the amazon.com link but you would probably get it cheaper and easier from Edition Peters.  Basics Practice

Artists »

[6 Feb 2009 | 2 Comments | 4,453 views]
Hilary Hahn - Grammy Winner, Tweeter, Americas Best

Hilary Hahn is an amazing violinist who plays with such meticulous intelligence, grace, power and emotion.   She is the Gramophone magazine Artist of the year for 2008 and won a grammy in 2001 for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) .  Her latest cd featuring Schoenberg and Sibelius violin concertos debuted at number 1 on the Classical Billboard chart, a first for a Schoenberg recording.
She has been playing for almost her whole life, starting before 4 years old.  She studied with Jascha Brodsky at the Curtis Institute of Music in …

Journal »

[4 Feb 2009 | 2 Comments | 4,924 views]
Starting Over - Allemande from Bach’s Partita #2

For a few months now I have been grinding away trying to learn to play the Allemande from Bach’s Partita #2 for solo violin.  I suppose it is one of the easiest pieces in the set but I am certainly challeneged and extended trying to learn it.   I seem to have a habit of trying to learn pieces that are a bit beyond my capability to play well, and quite honestly I usually don’t get them to a refined enough position where I can claim to play them well.  I …