The Week in Reviews, Op. 315: Gil Shaham; Chloe Kim; Leonidas Kavakos and more border=0 align=

The Week in Reviews, Op. 315: Gil Shaham; Chloe Kim; Leonidas Kavakos and more

August 3, 2021, 4:08 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.

Gil Shaham performed the Barber Violin Concerto with the Aspen Festival Orchestra with Robert Spano conducting.

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Behind the Orchestral Curtain with Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim

August 2, 2021, 3:35 PM · As Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra for more than 20 years, violinist David Kim has sat behind the curtain as a jury member for countless orchestral auditions. He knows - from personal experience - that winning an audition and landing a spot in a major orchestra is a life-transforming experience.

Generally, the folks behind the curtain are rooting for you, he said.

"We always want to give the benefit of the doubt," he said, in a talk at the 2021 Starling-DeLay Violin Symposium at The Juilliard School earlier this summer. "We are not trying to trick you or throw you a curveball."

That said, within the first 10 seconds, the jury can generally tell if a candidate will go on to the next round. They are looking for good intonation, solid rhythm, stability, and a kind of natural musicality - a feeling of easy-going music-making.

With those things in mind, Kim gave us a great overview of five basic excerpts that students should know -- excerpts that many professional orchestras require for auditions. Here is a rundown of those excerpts, as well as Kim's thoughts about each one: Keep reading...

Interview: Viano String Quartet at Bravo! Vail - Staying Together Through the Pandemic

August 1, 2021, 1:32 PM · One of the most captivating performances I saw during my time at Bravo! Vail Music Festival was actually a concert at a smaller venue - a performance by the Viano String Quartet at the Vail Interfaith Chapel.

The chapel's architectural design focuses one's attention on a window at the back. This window, with its panes that seem to point skyward, offers a view of a majestic mountain pine that stands just outside, surrounded by more pines.

How appropriate, then, that the Viano Quartet was performing a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw called "Evergreen" - a musical portrait of just such a tree, with movements entitled Moss, Stem, Water, and Root.

The music was atmospheric and spellbinding - glassy harmonics, woody-sounding ricochet, ploppy-sounding pizzicato that sounded like raindrops, and mesmerizing repetition. I began to think of that tree outside as an honorary audience member, watching and listening from the window. As the piece ended, a bird chirped outside. I nearly had to pinch myself.

BELOW: A studio version - the Viano String Quartet performs "The Evergreen" by composer Caroline Shaw. (00:00 Introduction; 02:41 I. Moss; 06:07 II. Stem; 08:36 III. Water; 12:31 IV. Root):

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Comments (2) weekend vote: What is your favorite outdoor classical music venue?

July 31, 2021, 11:01 PM · What is your favorite outdoor classical concert venue? I've listed some of the biggies in the vote, but I recognize that there are many more venues, including ones outside the U.S., that I was not able to list. Please participate in the vote, and if you would like to name another venue check "somewhere else." Then please tell us about your favorite outdoor classical venue or venues. Do you have any particularly memorable performances that you experienced at an outdoor venue? Which venues do you find the most appealing? Do you like to sit on the lawn and take a picnic, or sit under a shell? Any great stories of being completely rained out? Have you been able to make it to any outdoor summer concerts this year?

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Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine