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DIY: Making a Case for My Violin

September 30, 2022, 6:54 PM · In this a story, I sing of my adventures in replacing my violin case. It was about time anyway. My previous one was made on the 70's, cardboard, no padding. When the handle broke, I decided it was time for a change.

When window shopping, I came across some fancy Italian case makers. Boy, they were gorgeous (the cases. the makers are meh)! But, man, they also be very expensive (again, the cases)...

Perhaps I should give it a go in making one myself?

Well, there was only one issue: I am not an incredibly talented person with wood (or talented at all, for that matter). For this reason, I scrapped my plans, and decided to buy what I could afford. This was a few years ago. I decided to go with a Tonarelli, with a big USA sticker on the top.

Unfortunately, on the end of year one, I accidentally dropped it on the floor. All the foam padding got unglued from the bottom (no pics of that, sorry).

Around this time, I also moved to a colder country. My violin was feeling the dry weather. I had read somewhere that it would be a nice idea to have natural, moisture-adsorbing fibers inside the case (instead of plastic and hot glue only).

This is when I decided to rehouse my violin again. Keep reading...

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For the Record, Op. 213: Lara St John; Elena Urioste; Daniel Hope; James Ehnes; Escher Quartet; Wu Man

September 29, 2022, 2:43 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Lara St John, violin

Lara St John's latest album is part of her larger ongoing mission to fight for women's rights and historically marginalized groups. The album features 17 original solo violin compositions written by 12 composers, including Laurie Anderson, Valerie Coleman, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jessica Meyer, Jessie Montgomery, Milica Paranosic and more, including five world premiere recordings. "As someone who is only too well aware of how the cards are stacked against women in music, I have spent a lot of time listening to works by those who have historically – and more recently – broken through the composition brotherhood," St John said. "During the pandemic, I decided to record an album of solo violin works written by these remarkable women. Some were composed for me, some I arranged, and others I found to be impressive works of new violinistic ideas." BELOW: Lara St John plays "Confronting the Sky" by Jessica Meyer:

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Gustavo Dudamel Awarded the Glenn Gould Prize

September 28, 2022, 2:28 PM · Conductor Gustavo Dudamel has been awarded a $100,000 Glenn Gould Prize, an honor given every two years to "a living individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts." The award celebrates the Canadian pianist, writer and broadcaster Glenn Gould.

Dudamel currently is Music and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Director of the Opéra National de Paris. Born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Dudamel began to receive wide recognition in 1999, when at the age of 18, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, composed of graduates El Sistema, a music and social justice program founded by José Antonio Abreu.

"It was one of the greatest honors of my life when, in 2008, my maestro José Antonio Abreu was named the Glenn Gould Prize Laureate," Dudamel said. "To now be awarded this prestigious prize myself, is something that fills me with a profound gratitude. The greatest art shines a light on our best selves, and offers a reminder of all that unites us. Likewise, the work of geniuses like Maestro Abreu and Glenn Gould is a beacon that shows us the path to create a better world together." Keep reading...

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Practicing Shifting by Speeding Up, Not Slowing Down

September 28, 2022, 12:38 PM · Practicing shifting for the first time can be, at worst, a frustrating experience. I remember that when I started shifting, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The target was elusive and random, and my wrist bent forward to attach itself to the wood. These bad habits stayed with me for years. Eventually, with the help of listening carefully, I discovered how to turn a heavy-handed shift turn into a graceful movement of flight.

Weak shifts tend to land in a hesitant manner, with the rhythm dissolving in mid-movement. From this common scenario, there is one bit of good news – muscle memory and distance of intervals are starting to make themselves felt. You’ll need that information when you speed up the shift. But you'll need to fix the hesitation.

There is an awkward transition from cumbersome to aerodynamic shifting. The trick is this: lead with the bow to insure that the shift happens at the same tempo. When you are trying to be careful and accurate, you may actually slow down before a shift and alter the tempo, but that is actually the opposite of what you should do. Keep reading...

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