ASTA 2023: Inclusion and the Story of Violinist Adrian Anantawan border=0 align=

ASTA 2023: Inclusion and the Story of Violinist Adrian Anantawan

March 21, 2023, 3:45 PM · What does "inclusion" look like in music education, and what does it accomplish?

Watching violinist Adrian Anantawan performing the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto - with the left hand that he was born with and a specialized device for the right hand he was born without, the answers to these questions seemed pretty clear. Beautiful things happen, when we make the extra effort to adapt our music-making tools and methods of teaching for people with disabilities.

His performance - with the impressive young musicians of the Howard W. Blake High School Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Jason Jerald - took place at the opening ceremony of the American String Teachers Association conference last Thursday in Orlando, Florida.

Watching him play the cadenza of the Mendelssohn concerto, with all that infamous spiccato bariolage, made me feel like anything is possible, for anyone.

Absolutely inspiring.

But it took an incredible amount of his own tenacity, support from parents, support from teachers, and support from the medical community to help him reach the point where he is now: a virtuoso violinist and performing artist who has earned degrees from the Curtis Institute, Yale University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. This is a violinist who went from being refused by teachers, to studying with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter and performing as a soloist all over Canada and the U.S. He now advocates for people with disabilities and is the founder of the Music Inclusion Program at the Henderson Inclusion School, a K-12 public school in Boston.

"I wanted to play the violin," Anantawan said after his performance, at a lecture he gave called Music Inclusion for All: Evolution and Adaptation. "It was not the most practical choice, but it was the most beautiful choice," he said. "I had to knock on the door of many string teachers - most said, 'I'm not sure how we would figure out the bow.'" Keep reading...

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For the Record, Op. 230: Christine Bernsted's Lera Auerbach 24 Preludes; cellist Camille Thomas's Chopin Project

March 18, 2023, 3:03 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!

Lera Auerbach: 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano
Christine Bernsted, violin;
Ramez Mhaanna, piano

Lera Auerbach's 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano is a cycle of compact works that follows the key scheme of Chopin’s 24 Preludes, while exploring stark contrasts that range from primordial darkness to naive innocence. Danish duo Christine Bergsted and Ramez Mhaanna have been working together since 2019 and were recognized with a Rødovre Music Prize for their work as performers and communicators of music via their Danish language podcast about music, Clash. BELOW: Trailer for the album:

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Greetings from the 2023 ASTA National Conference!

March 16, 2023, 10:16 PM · Greetings from Orlando, where I am attending the 2023 American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference, which started on Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla.

It was a wonderful and full day - you can follow what I'm doing in the moment on's Instagram account, and I'll also be posting more in-depth write-ups in coming days.

Day 1 started with a performance at the opening ceremony by violinist Adrian Anantawan with the Howard W. Blake High School Symphonic Orchestra of the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Adrian, who among many accomplishments, graduated from Curtis Institute and teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, was born without a functioning right hand. He also runs a program at the Henderson Inclusion School, helping people with disabilities to find ways to adapt musical instruments so they can play. He told his fascinating story in a lecture that followed his performance - I'll be posting a write-up of that lecture in coming days. Keep reading...

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 391: Vilde Frang, violist Tabea Zimmermann, Danbi Um and Paul Huang

March 14, 2023, 5:29 PM · In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Vilde Frang performed Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

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