The Case Of The Stolen Stradivarius

With the beautiful participation of our Master of Music student and member of the VEM quartet, Nicolette Kocsardy!
Listen to the interview and read the full article there:

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The Case Of The Stolen Stradivarius
www.npr.org

Milwaukee Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond was carrying his rare Stradivarius violin out to the parking lot after a show when he was suddenly attacked. The violin, worth millions, was stolen.

Audition Notice

Audition Notice

Los Angeles Virtuosi (LAV) is a chamber orchestra based in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is to serve as a catalyst in reaffirming, advocating and supporting music education in schools and in the community.

LAV is looking for enthusiastic string players between 18 and 40 years of age to perform at two concerts on July 19th, 2014 at the 2014 Festival Del Sole in Napa Valley, California, a prestigious summer music and arts festival co-sponsored by IMG Artists. 

The auditions are to be held on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 in the Los Angeles area.

The application deadline for the auditions is May 14th, 2014.

Selected applicants must be free to rehearse and perform during the week of July 14th to 20th, 2014.   Rehearsals will take place in the Los Angeles area on July 15th, 16th and 17th, 2014.           Selected applicants will travel from Los Angeles to Napa (Northern California) onJuly 18th, 2014 and perform 2 concerts there on July 19th.

Selected applicants will be compensated. All expenses including travelling, lodging and meals will be covered.

Interested applicants should kindly send resume and contact information to lavaudition@gmail.com” and indicate what instrument and position they are auditioning for.

Audition repertoire, location and time will be emailed to the applicant upon application receipt.

The audition results will be announced to the applicants via email and decisions by the audition committee will be final.

How to Memorize Music for Performance

 
http://thestrad.com/latest/editorschoice/how-to-memorise-music-for-performance

How to memorise music for performance

Is memorising worth the effort? For most musicians, it probably is. Not only do performers report feeling greater artistic freedom when playing from memory, but audiences also prefer memorised solos to those played from scores. Still, we need inclusive preparation if we’re to perform confidently without notation in front of us.

Secure memorisation rests on a foundation of deep learning. Adept memorisers absorb the musical and technical ingredients of a piece from the outset of practice, and they remain aware of those elements throughout the mastering process. Conversely, when a musician’s practice isn’t thorough – say, when phrasing is unclear – the confusion undermines any attempt at memorisation.

Although deep learning is essential, there isn’t any ideal memorisation method.  We should be flexible about when in the course of learning a piece we start to memorise. Depending on the composition, some performers begin memorising at the outset of learning; others practise for weeks before they break away from the page. Nonetheless, I’ve observed that many students do best when they memorise a solo as soon as they can play it at a slow tempo. In that way, they promptly establish habits of playing without a score.

Memorisation is fundamentally a matter of storage and recall. It’s helpful, however, to conceive of storage in stages – perception, ingraining and maintenance – with recall functioning as the fourth and culminating stage of memorisation. That is, when we memorise a piece, we first perceive its expressive and technical features. Next, we deliberately ingrain it in our minds. After that, to keep the music vivid, we review. The more skilfully we carry out each aspect of storage, the more fail-safe our recall will be.

The strategies described here are organised under these four stages. To try these strategies out for yourself, prepare a short, unfamiliar piece to the point where you can comfortably play it from the score, then apply the strategies to your selection step by step.

PERCEPTION
Rich perception makes for vibrant memory. When our understanding of a piece is multi-layered, our playing resonates with meaning, and recall can seem effortless. Here are strategies that boost perception:

Clarify the compositional structure
Grasp the style and form of a composition. Locate the boundaries of phrases and sections. Look for melodic, harmonic and rhythmic patterns.

Renew your interpretive plan
Reflect on where phrases peak and repose, and write in expressive cues such as articulation and dynamic marks. Also connect with the emotional substance of the music – sing melodies and cultivate images or storylines.

Re-examine your technical map
Be sure that your fingerings and bowings are definite. Pencil in any necessary reminders.

INGRAINING
Ingraining is the methodical process through which we etch tracks in our memory. Deep ingraining equips us to perform expertly because it instils potent mental records that we can recall even if we feel jittery. In contrast, shallow memorisation – commonly rooted in mindless repetition and ‘finger
memory’ – readily splinters under pressure. Employ these strategies to ingrain a robust memory:

Plan your practice
Schedule regular, concise memorisation sessions that forestall fatigue; maybe work in 25-minute instalments with ample breaks in between. You might begin your memorising with the initial bars of a piece, or you could start elsewhere. Either way, divide the music into segments that you can ingrain as units.

Learn deeply and efficiently
As a general process, ingrain a segment as follows. Without looking at the music, and at a slow tempo, mentally image the act of playing a segment two or three times; then, execute the segment two or three times on your instrument. While doing this, sing note names or counting syllables and make small-scale playing gestures. If you can’t conjure up a segment from memory, image it using the score, and then image and play it without the music. Be not only accurate but also creative as you repeat – playfully shape the dynamics, mould the articulation and so forth.

Link segments
If a piece comprises 32 segments, for instance, after you ingrain segments A and B individually, play A–B once. Ingrain C then D, execute C–D, and then play A–B–C–D (if your memory falters, separately re-ingrain the problematic segment, and then repeat A–B–C–D). Master the next four segments, then play the eight-segment chunk two or three times. Memorise the subsequent eight segments, then play the 16-segment span. Tackle the second half of the piece, unite the halves, and then steadily increase the tempo as appropriate. Alternatively, you could start memorising with the last segment of a piece or section, and then add on segments in the reverse order of the previous example.

Limit the amount of music that you memorise in one sitting. If you overreach, much of what you ingrain could become muddled. Get plenty of sleep as well – during sleep our brains consolidate what we’ve learnt.

Incorporate different types of memory
To foster aural memory, as you play one musical gesture, mentally hear the following one (discern both your part and any accompaniment); if you don’t perceive a passage plainly, stop playing and sing it. Augment tactile and movement awareness by imaging and executing each hand individually. To enhance conceptual memory, as you image, vocalise melodies using solfège syllables or scale degree numbers; then, while playing, sense where you are in the musical structure. Support visual memory by picturing how phrases appear on the score or notating some excerpts.

MAINTENANCE
Ingraining carves tracks in our memory, but if we don’t maintain those tracks, the mental pathways that we construct will gradually disintegrate. What’s more, our recall of a piece is most lucid when we enliven our playing with interpretive and technical improvements. Maintenance, therefore, isn’t merely a process of upkeep but one of ongoing innovation. Here are some strategies to reinforce memory and invigorate artistry.

Rehearse mentally
In your mind, run through a whole piece or selected phrases; choose tempos that range from slow to performance speed. Sing expressively as you rehearse, and mime the playing motions. If any passages seem vague, re-ingrain them.

Practise performing
With an audio or video recorder as your audience, play a piece from memory. Then evaluate your performance and rework any unclear phrases.

Go over the details
Scrutinise the score to retrace a composition’s structure and inspire new interpretive ideas. In tandem, practise challenging excerpts both with and without the score. Also explore the components of a piece: you might play hands separately or singly execute the voices from a multi-voice passage.

RECALL
Effective maintenance procedures revitalise stored music and test recall. The strategies here bolster recall in performance settings:

Ready yourself
Your recall is most stable when you’re focused and poised, so warm up thoroughly backstage, jettison irrelevant thoughts, and fuel your enthusiasm for presenting your programme.

Image ahead
As you perform, conceive of each passage before you execute it. If your memory misfires, improvise in the character of the music until you can regain the musical thread (to rehearse dealing with slips, simulate them in practice, then ad lib for a bar or two).

Be positive
While on stage, transmit confident body language, trust in your preparation, and play your heart out.

Performing from memory can bring abundant rewards. When we memorise deeply, we can enjoy unfettered music making as well as an unobstructed connection with our audiences. Even so, facility doesn’t arise overnight. With intelligent practice, though, all of us can acquire the knack to step on stage, free of the printed score, and share music from our souls.

This article was first published in The Strad’s October 2009 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial. To purchase back issues click here.

Armenian Music Series Premieres at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music announces the inaugural concert of its Armenian Music Series, celebrating the 75th birthday of Armenia’s foremost composer Tigran Mansurian with a performance of his critically acclaimed choral masterpiece, Ars Poetica, as well as masterworks by Armenian composers Edward Mirzoyan and Alexander Spendiaryan.
 
The January 26th concert at UCLA Schoenberg Hall will feature the renowned Lark Musical Society Choir (Vatsche Barsoumian, conductor), and members of the Armenian Music Ensemble at UCLA (Vanessa Vasquez, soprano, VEM String Quartet).
 
The concert marks the launch of the newly created Armenian Music Program at UCLA which will raise awareness and celebrate the rich and diverse Armenian musical tradition, thanks to generous donor support. In addition to the Armenian Music Concert Series, the two-year program will include such initiatives as:
  • course in Armenian Music – taught by Vatsche Barsoumian – that is offered in Spring 2014 and 2015 to students across UCLA (both Music and non-Music majors).
  • An International Conference on Armenian Music (Spring 2015), in cooperation with Prof. Peter Cowe, Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Language, UCLA.
  • Full scholarship support  of the Armenian Music Ensemble; a group of extremely talented UCLA student musicians whose studies emphasis the Armenian music repertoire.
  • The Music Outreach Program sends our Armenian Music Ensemble, in cooperation with the Lark Musical Society, into the community to provide free music performances.
  • An Armenian Art Song Competition (May 2014), in cooperation with the UCLA Department of Music Opera and Voice program.
Sunday January 26, 2014, 2:00 PM
Celebrating Mansurian: Inaugural Concert of the Armenian Music Series at UCLA
Schoenberg Hall | UCLA
Tickets: $14, $11 UCLA faculty, staff and students (with ID)

Ysaye Quartet’s Farewell Concerts in Europe

It is truly the end of an era for one of the world’s leading string quartets as they present their final performances in Europe this month. The Ysaye Quartet, led by UCLA’s own Guillaume Sutre will bring their monumental journey to a close as a quartet this season. We wish them the very best both for their current performances and in their future artistic endeavors.

 

Professor Sutre states: “the last concert, celebrating 30 years of the Ysaye Quartet’s existence, will feature works we often played and recorded, like the Beethoven Op. 135, Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht that are also part of our 2 last CDs released in 2013”.

 

Below are the details of the Ysaye Quartet’s events.

 

Rouen, Opéra house: 

All Beethoven String quartets, in chronological order.

January 10,11 & 12, 2013

http://www.operaderouen.com/#infos_528

 

Avignon, Opéra House:

All Beethoven String quartets, in chronological order.

January 14, 15, 16 & 17, 2013

http://operagrandavignon.fr/en/spectacles/quatuor-ysaye/

 

Paris, Cité de la Musique – 6e Biennale des Quatuors  à Cordes

Concert d’Adieu with pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier and Alban Berg Quartet members.

- Claude Debussy, String Quartet Op.10

- Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet No. 16 in F Op.135

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Quintet for 2 viola in C Major K.515

- Gabriel Fauré, Piano Quintet No. 1 Op.89

- Arnold Schoenberg, Verklärte Nacht for String Sextet

January 24, 2013

http://www.citedelamusique.fr/francais/evenement.aspx?id=13234

Ysaye Quartet’s Farewell Concerts in Europe

It is truly the end of an era for one of the world’s leading string quartets as they present their final performances in Europe this month. The Ysaye Quartet, led by UCLA’s own Guillaume Sutre will bring their monumental journey to a close as a quartet this season. We wish them the very best both for their current performances and in their future artistic endeavors.

 

Professor Sutre states: “the last concert, celebrating 30 years of the Ysaye Quartet’s existence, will feature works we often played and recorded, like the Beethoven Op. 135, Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht that are also part of our 2 last CDs released in 2013”.

 

Below are the details of the Ysaye Quartet’s events.

 

Rouen, Opéra house: 

All Beethoven String quartets, in chronological order.

January 10,11 & 12, 2013

http://www.operaderouen.com/#infos_528

 

Avignon, Opéra House:

All Beethoven String quartets, in chronological order.

January 14, 15, 16 & 17, 2013

http://operagrandavignon.fr/en/spectacles/quatuor-ysaye/

 

Paris, Cité de la Musique – 6e Biennale des Quatuors  à Cordes

Concert d’Adieu with pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier and Alban Berg Quartet members.

- Claude Debussy, String Quartet Op.10

- Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet No. 16 in F Op.135

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Quintet for 2 viola in C Major K.515

- Gabriel Fauré, Piano Quintet No. 1 Op.89

- Arnold Schoenberg, Verklärte Nacht for String Sextet

January 24, 2013

http://www.citedelamusique.fr/francais/evenement.aspx?id=13234