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Everything posted by FINPROF

  1. I went to Christie's on Sunday with a friend who is also a player. There was a real professional who was trying out the "high-end" violins, including the del Jesu in the glass case by itself. To me, it looked more like an Amati than a del Jesu. It is much prettier in person than in the photos. The sound is not like an Amati, however. Of all the violins we tried, I liked the Testore (lot 250) the best. It was very open and clean. Its downside is inked-on purfling on the back. You can tell from the photo where the ink is missing from the bottom of the back. There weren't many people at Christie's which made it a really good trip for us. The only downer was that we didn't check whether Tarisio was open before we went to Tarisio.
  2. The best magazine shop is Avril 15 on Sansom Street near the University of Pennsylvania. It has a lot of more obscure magazines than STRAD. The Priceton Barnes and Noble carries STRAD, so I wouldn't be surprised if Philadelphia Barnes and Noble does also.
  3. Some German bows tend to the heavy side. Dollings usually run around 64. They feel strong, but not heavy. If your Bausch feels good that is all that matters.
  4. quote: Originally posted by: yuen Why anyone want to make a fiddle (or violin)? I got one answer from someone, "the shop charges too much". Is that a real reason? It is more the satisfaction of doing it yourself rather than saving money. Let's say it takes a skilled amker 100 hours to build a violin. That would mean it would take me 200 hours to build a violin and the results woudl be worse. If my violin is worth $1000, that means that my time is $5 an hour. I could do better by selling hamburgers in McDonalds. As a fly fisherman, I tie my own flies. It takes me 20-30 minutes to tie a fly that I could buy for $2.00, so I am making less than $5 an hour. But there is a special satisfaction to catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself. I'll bet there is a special statisfaction to playing on a violin that you made yourself.
  5. More likely, the journalist who wrote the story had heard of Crimea but not Cremona.
  6. quote: Originally posted by: mom2olivia Her teachers is a conservatory trained, professional, Russian, violinist so her perspective is probably not mainstream. Wendy My teacher is also Russian, with a Masters from the Moscow conservatory, who plays with Spivakov's group Moscow Virtuosi. He said that he was not qualified to teach viola and can't read alto clef. One of the members of my quartet plays both viola and violin. He likes the flexibility but says that under pressure he will get confused in which clef he is in and start playing the viola in treble clef notes. Personally, I would get treble clef down cold before I tried to take on another clef.
  7. Regarding the ratio of price to bow and price to violin, it varies all over the place. I paid 50% more for my bow than my violin. I have a decent violin and a great bow. The disease was probably contacted from my teacher. He has a non-name, but pretty good Italian violin and a Simon bow. For a backup 3/4 bow, get a $30 Glasser or P&H fiberglass bow. If you want to splurge, a Glasser composite for maybe $85. Save your money for the 4/4 violin and bow, which is coming sooner than you think. Kids grow very fast while they are in the 3/4 size. Get her a really good primary 4/4 bow and another fiberglass backup. Right now my viola-playing stepson is using his backup Glasser fiberglass viola bow while the tip plate on his regular bow gets repaired.
  8. You might be able to get the stink out with some of the newer enzymatic pet odor controllers. Cat urine is one of the most difficult smells to remove, but this stuff works sometimes. A college friend just received a new Eddie Bauer Kara Koram goose down sleeping bag - top of the line at the time- and the cat sprayed it while he was taking it out of the mailing box. He got the smell out of the goose down eventually.
  9. Since you are looking for a viola bow, I would suggest looking into a Jon Vanderhorst. The viola players tend to like him. Like Sue Lipkins and her bass bows, Jon specializes in viola. My son's viola teacher has one. It is a very nice bow and cured her of BAS forever. Johnson String Instrument has one of Jon's bows for $2800. Also, do you ever get a chance to get to Taipei. There are a bunch of good dealers there, including now the Beckers. Most of the inventory is sold in both the US and Taiwan so prices seem to be similar.
  10. The bowmaker that I use warned me that long hair could put pressure on the button side of the mortise. Then, when the button is tightened the frog eyelet could bottom out on the back of the mortise. Short hair is something she never warned me against.
  11. quote: Originally posted by: yuen PS. By the way, a brand new Steinway grand is very expensive. How much is it? My daughter was looking for a Steiway last month but ended up a non-Steinway. She did not tell me how much. About 8 years ago my wife and I bought a four-year old Steinway M for $16,000. It is still indistinguishable from new and has a great action and terrific tone, very nice, even among Steinways. We found a couple in the process of divorcing who was getting rid of their jointly owned property. Look for a motivated seller. There are probably some affluent folks whose kids have gone off to college or who are downsizing into a smaller home.
  12. Hi Miles; It would be a bit tedious to respond to all nine questions, but I hope that I can clarify my position and yours, while responding to some of the questions in a roundabout way. The basic premise you present is that capitalism is flawed because capitalistic decision makers ignore social costs in their decisions and create negative externalities. For those netters who might be reading this, here is a nice Wikipedia quote: "Environmental pollution is an example of a social cost that is seldom borne completely by the polluter thereby creating a negative externality." That is, the polluter has an incentive to pollute because others suffer the costs of that pollution while teh polluter avoids most of those costs. My position is that ignoring social costs and creating negative externalities are not limited to capitalistic decision makers. I gave couple of examples of externalities created owner/workers in atomistic industries where decisions made by individuals also tend to ignore social costs as well. You responded by claiming that the farmers and fishermen were forced into this behavior by large corporations. Then I gave some examples of negative externalities presented by my own behavior, which were not forced on me by some mega-corporation. I gave some examples of my behavior only to show that individuals frequently create externalities through their own behavior. If you want to know why people behave like that, perhaps the best answer comes from quoting Bill Clinton: "Because I could". If we knew more about you we could probably find examples of negative externalities created by your behavior, or anyone else's for that matter. I believe that ignoring social costs is endemic in human behavior and certainly not a product of the capitalistic system. Humans were creating externalities when we lived in caves and we will be creating externalities if we return to living in caves. You are correct in stating that ignoring social costs is reflected in the decisions made by corporate managers, but fail to realize (apparently) that ignoring social costs is also reflected in decisions made by most everyone else as well. If capitalism is replaced by some other economic system, human behavior won't change. This is a rather depressing thought for those of you who believe that socialism will cure all of the world's ills. It is also why I believe that there is no natural linkage between capitalism and environmental problems. To answer some of the other questions in a roundabout manner: You indicated in an earlier post that you have become a naturalized American citizen and perhaps presumed that I am one. Although I expect to take out US citizenship in the near future, I was not born in the US and am not a US citizen. My wife is a US citizen, but she was also born outside the US (Taiwan) and graduated from university there before coming to the US for graduate study. We are both college professors, which allows us to take advantage of a large network of former colleagues and students all around the world to take junkets and visiting positions all over the world. Americans tend to be in the minority in our field, which is somewhat technical and requires a lot of math and stat, so we work primarily with non-Americans. We also live in a community that has a high proportion of recent immigrants, albeit highly educated and high-income immigrants. The mayor is also from Taiwan and the high school is about 30% Asian and Indian. My wife feels very comfortable in this community and so do I. Not that it matters to anything. We have both seen how people live outside the US. In our travels I was somewhat aghast at the pollution in some of the Eastern European and Asian countries that I consider to be strongly influenced by socialist philosophy, although you might not consider them to be true socialist countries. Please note that I didn't ask any questions and refrained from quoting any previous posts. I hope my position and yours are very clear.
  13. Hi Banzai: The sustainability of capitalism is not at issue here. There still hasn't been any evidence shown by anyone here linking capitalism to ecological problems. There are lots of environmental problems, but I am not going to blame them on CEOs. I commute 45 miles each way to work in order to live in a town with good schools and low crime. That commute and that of my neigbors, many of whom commute farther isn't helping the environment any. I put all kinds of chemicals on my lawn to keep the trees and grass nice. Those chemicals will eventually wind up in the ocean as will all the chemicals that my neighbors use. It would be nice to blame everything on those CEOs, but the combined activites of 4 billion people affect the earth much more than 500 CEOs. You mention FDR using the New Deal to save capitalism during the depression. You must be aware that Hitler rallied Germany out of worse economic problems by rallying his countrymen against the Jews and the bankers. It is always easier to blame "those other guys - not us". It worked in Germany and it might work again, except this time against the captains of industry, as you predict. Don't you think it is ironic that you quote Ray Anderson, who is a CEO himself and one of those "captains of industry who will be regarded as criminals"? Perhaps also that Bean quotes Hawken, another CEO and entrepreneur? Will they be strung up alongside Ted Turner and Warren Buffet? The thing that I can definitely agree with you is that it is reprehensible to kill sea turtles in order to make an attractive luxury. Or an elephant for their ivory, or bears for their paws that are believed to be an aphrodisiac in some cultures. I also think that buying attractive luxuries from dead sea turtles or ivory from dead elephants or paws from dead bears is morally reprehensible as well.
  14. quote: Originally posted by: miles[ Agreed, but the point is still missing. Putting species on the protection list is only a band-aid, not a solution. I wonder whether you checked out the links bean_fidhleir and I put up in this thread. q} After reading both articles I must be still missing the point because I still fail to see any linkage between capitalism and the environmental problems discussed in either article. The LA Times article is pretty explicit about the problems caused by over-fishing and by fertilizer runoff into the oceans. However, the fishing industry and the agricultural industry are Karl Marx's idea of economic justice, where the workers own the factors of production. Fishing is primarily done by an individual who owns a single boat and works on that boat hauling in the nets. Likewise farming is primarily done by someone who owns a piece of land and works that land every day. Both the fisherman and the farmer are in a very dangerous business that is not highly profitable, so it isn't too surprising that they are more concerned about survival than their contribution to fertilizer runoff or overfishing. But blaming their actions on capitalism, or greedy CEOs is entirely incorrect. In their business the worker and the owner are the same - Karl Marx's dream come true.
  15. quote: Originally posted by: bean_fidhleirCapitalism as practiced is based on the belief that the world is both an inexaustible garden and an uncloggable sewer. As Paul Hawken among others has illuminated, capitalism refuses to account for all its costs. The costs expressed as pollution are ignored, but pollution cleanup is considered a positive value, which is crazy! q] Thank you for clearing up the confusion on the original post. As Miles indicates, the intent was to criticize capitalism generally rather than the US specifically. We live in a very global economy and a very global environment that has eliminated many of the sharp distinctions in economics and/or culture that might have been present at one time. As Tom Friedman indicates, the world has become flat. There is still some confusion, however, in the quote from Paul Hawken. It is not capitalism, per se, that refuses to account for all of its costs but rather the standard system of national income accounting practiced by capitalist and socialist countries alike. GDP is calculated using exactly the same metrics in the US and Russia and China and Sweden and India and Venezuela. The means of calculating GDP does not imply that leaders in any of these countries completely ignore pollution effects in decision making, since the President, or dictator, or Prime Minister or House of Commons, or whatever is not charged solely with maximizing GDP. Furthermore it would be difficult to develop any clear relationship between pollution levels and the form of governance or ownership of production. It would be intereststing to find such a study. Anecdotally it is easy to find socialist dictatorships that are very polluting and that are very "green" and democratic capitalist countries that are very polluting and that are very "green". Prohibition of importation of sea turtle shell and of ivory is shared by capitalist and socialist countries. I believe that the US and most of the European countries have banned importation of these items.
  16. quote: Originally posted by: miles. Take the US for example, it is no doubt in such a capitalism country, and from I gathered, the social status is more or less based upon ones earning power or the size of ones bank account. If my perception is correct, then let's see just how many well-established intellectuals have the ability to commanded higher earning power than so-called stars? Let alone these "unknown" intellectuals. How many violins does Sam Z. have to make in order to match Kidman's Chanel commercial or Zeta-Jones's T-mobile commercial? We are not even talking about their earnings from movies they participate(d). ] If Miles is trying to imply, by example, that Americans are stupid he has provided some very bad examples. Nicole Kidman is Australian, and Chanel is a French company. Catherine Zeta-Jones is Welsh and T-Mobile is a German company. The only American is Sam Z. I guess that anyone that we want to ridicule becomes American by default.
  17. There are some Stankov violins and violas in US shops. Maureen Menzel has one in her shop in Livingston NJ. The price is $5700, which also seeemed high to me since I have a Bulgarian violin that I bought in Bulgaria for a whole lot less than that. When I was in Bulgaria, $2000 was about the upper end for a master-made violin. The internet price should be lower than from a good shop since the service should be better at the shop, particularly one in a high rent district like Menzel's. The Stankov in Maureen's shop would hold its own tonally with the $15,000 Italian violas in her shop and would blow away any of the Chinese or German violas. Admittedly, she did not have a great selection of either. Selections of violas are typically more limited than for violins. I also did not care for the varnish on the top, or the back. I think it is a bit too shiny and reddish for my taste, but that is my taste, yours could differ. I wound up buying an $1800 Chinese viola from a different shop that is tonally close to the Stankov, but not as good. Visually, I like the visuals of the Chinese viola (or my Bulgarian violin) better and admit that looks are important to me in violins or women. I just can't help myself. Besides, the viola goes to high school on the bus and at that point I didn't want to spend a pile of money for something that is going to lead a hard life. It also was my stepson's first foray into viola territory. Now that he has been playing viola for 9 months and is committed to it, my wife is considering $15,000 Italian violas as a step-up.
  18. quote: Originally posted by: Virtusoso Rutherford, While I can agree that some musicians don't seem overtly intelligent, I do tend to notice that they do better academically overall. I'm not saying it's impossible but you don't normally see your high school failures and dropouts playing in orchestras. Admissions directors at Ivy League schools look very favorably upon musicians who have made it into the Regional or All State orchestras. It shows discipline and hard work, as well as enough intelligence to understand the music well. It probably isn't a good sample, but in our high school, the orchestra was over-represented in graduates who went to Ivy League schools, and, unless my memory serves incorrectly, just about every student who went on to an Ivy League school (there were about ten last year) came from the orchestra. Memorizing a concerto takes considerable memory power and figuring out the optimal time to shift while sight reading takes the ability to think quickly while multitasking. In this vein, one of my former graduate students, a Curtis grad who changed careers, believes strongly that intelligence places an upper limit on piano performance. You have to be able to do simple math very quickly in order to figure out when to move your hands - like shifting on the fingerboard. The memory and the quick mind serve well in college and in board meetings.
  19. On the topic of repairing the top of your violin- The cellist in my quartet found out that the topc of her cello had been "re-graduated" and made thinner. It had a big, big sound as a result. She found out about the top when it started cracking and then caving in. Then the neck went askew because of the top caving in. It became physically obvious from twenty feet away that there was something really bad wrong with the cello. My luthier estimated $4000-5000 to repair it, as did another luthier. It would be hard to believe that your violin is worse than that cello. The owner did, however wind up buying a new cello. She was worried that the repairs wouldn't hold up.
  20. Music education in the USA, like science education or literature education, varies greatly across school districts. When and where I went to high school there was a band that functioned primarily as an adjunct to football games. There was no orchestra or string instruction in middle school or high school. Where I now live (Central New Jersey) there is a large East Asian and South Asian community that demands music education in High school. The three middle schools each have a string teacher and a wind teacher who teaches nothing else. The string teacher at my stepson's middle school has a Master's from Juilliard. In middle school, orchestra was four hours a week. Chamber orchestra, which requires an audition to participate is another four hours a week. Once he got into high school there were, in addition, quartets formed to practice during study hall and aprticipation in a nonet that represents the school at functions. Last year the high school orchestra went to Prague for a week to play. There is also a regional youth orchestra that meets weekly during teh evening at the high school. The parents who pay the taxes for the school district tend to be affluent and succesful and appreciate the value of music training for their children. For the most part, they want their childrent to be doctors and lawyers and investment bankers like themselves rather than musicians, but expect that the music background will hwep them both in their careers as well as in their personal lives. At the University level some of the playing is tremendous. Last Saturday we went to the Princeton University orchestra concert. The openening piece was the North American premiere of suites from Prokopfiev's Boris Gudenov. The orchestra plays at a professional level and the conductor really pushes them. I am sure that there are lots of school districts with poor music programs and a lot of universities with miserable music programs, but there are also excellent music programs in both places. I don't think that you can make any generalities about the United States.
  21. I think it was Ronald Reagan who quoted a Russian proverb that translates to "Trust, but verify". It would be a good idea to trust your teacher but verify via a second opinion.
  22. I have two Weber cases. They are like a Mercedes - not really flashy when new but they age well. Mine look like they are new despite having led a hard life. Both have the pocket for the shoulder rest under the neck. I think that is a great idea. I think Weber is the only case that has this feature. Once you get used to it you won't want to deal with putting the shoulder rest in the end compartment.
  23. I have a Nurnberger violin bow that is stamped 1885 under the frog. There are no other markings other than the standard maker's stamp. It has a silver button shaped like the EBAY bow but the frog is different.
  24. I would say "other". He got into music because his father was a musician. If his father was a lawyer he would have been a lawyer. If his father was a doctor he would have been a doctor. Mozart's IQ has been estimated to be 180-200. He could be anything or anyone he wanted to be. I doubt he would be unemployed. He is too smart and too hard working to be unemployed.
  25. Weber makes an insert for its 4/4 cases to hold a 3/4 violin. Unfortunately, the owner has retired. The cases are very good, not cheap, but very good. I presume the Weber insert would fit other cases as well.
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