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HoosierGirl

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Everything posted by HoosierGirl

  1. I've seen some fine antiquing jobs. My husband has two antiqued Matsudas that are quite well done; one in particular is an antiquing work of art (the other is nicely antiqued, but not outstanding). However, everyone he performs with knows they're Matsudas... or if they don't, they ask. That sort of thing is not a secret among musicians. I would certainly not consider either a "status symbol."
  2. Quote: Players are inherently competitive people, and an antique(d) instrument is something of a status symbol; it elevates the player amongst their peers to that of someone worthy of a classic instrument. Whether it's real or not, the perception is one of mystery. I disagree. The strings community is quite small; folks know what their peers are playing. If someone has a new antiqued fiddle, folks know that too... no one's likely to confuse it with an old Italian. And if the peer community doesn't respect a particular player, a great instrument certainly isn't going to make a difference.I consider antiquing strictly an aesthetic trend, rather like stonewashed jeans.
  3. Quote: Who are you to tell him that my advice is bad? D_A is one of the few full-time professional musicians on the board.
  4. You need to hook part of it over the chin rest to keep the rest of the handkerchief in place.
  5. Quote: Did you ever notice how many people use handkerchiefs? In my opinion, that's a sign of something wrong. I think folks misunderstand the purpose of the handkerchiefs. My husband uses one for formal concerts. The fabric used in his tux/tails and dress shirts is very slick, and a cotton handkerchief provides "traction control" on the back of the fiddle (where it contacts his collarbone) so that he doesn't have to press or alter his posture. He doesn't even have a violin hickey. The handkerchief isn't intended to alter the chin rest, and he doesn't use one with street clothes or anything other than slippery concert attire. It just allows him to play the same way he would at home in a t-shirt. The exception would be his Becker... he used a handkerchief constantly with it the first year because the varnish was so soft.
  6. Speaking of the NJSO, have you seen their Art Strings fundraiser? (This is not meant a pitch for their fundraiser; I just think it's clever.) Sort of a similar concept to the "Cows on Parade" in Chicago or the painted pigs in Cincinnati: Art Strings I'm keen on the Dia De Los Muertos fiddle myself.
  7. I don't know. NJ bought the collection for $18 million, and Axelrod forgave another $1 million in debt, so that gives NJ an end price tag of $17 million. If Axelrod stays in Cuba, they'll probably have an end price tag of $14 million, since I doubt Axelrod will come back to collect the other $3 million he financed. (I've also read that he forgave the full $4 million; I'm not sure what's accurate there.) As long as the collection is valued at $14-17 million, I think the orchestra itself made out ok. My experience with orchestra boards is that they are quite cautious when it comes to expendatures.
  8. Quote: As I understand it, the orchestra took on a tremendous amount of debt to acquire the collection. With the fiscal situation facing most American orchestras, was that a responsible decision? They've launched a fundraising campaign to pay off the instruments and provide for upkeep, so I suppose at this point it's a matter of wait-and-see. And they do have the instruments as assets.
  9. My understanding is that NJ raised the money in a separate campaign. It's much easier to get donors excited about something like this than it is to raise money for something hum-ho like the endowment. I'm disappointed to hear about the authenticity issues. However, from NJ's perspective, it seems to have been a good deal. They've raised their profile within the orchestral community and recently appointed Neeme Jaarvi as music director, which is something of a surprise. They're in a position to build something, more so than before. And I do think the lure of a fine instrument is an attraction to musicians. Someone is not likely to turn down a job in Chicago to go to NJ, but among orchestras within the same echelon it gives them an edge. I could tell stories about the lengths musicians go to in order to get good instruments.
  10. I have a mild case. Mine improved dramatically after I had my wisdom teeth removed. If it is TMJ, he can also get an oral splint made that will relieve the pressure on the joints. It's a clear device that fits over either the upper or lower teeth... somewhat like those clear braces you see advertised, but a bit bulkier. It's about $400 and just takes a couple of weeks to have made.
  11. Since no one else has jumped in, I'll guess give it a shot. Are you looking at about $1K or so? If so, I think your biggest challenge would be finding someone who does commissions/custom work. Most instruments in that price bracket are factory or shop instruments, worked on by several people. Commissioned instruments have their pros and cons. Violins are so idiosyncratic; a maker's violins may share certain characteristics in tone, but you can never predict with certainty how yours will turn out. It's a matter of taking a gamble, and having a lot of confidence in the person's work. My husband commissioned a violin several years ago, after trying several times to buy one particular instrument by that maker. That fiddle wasn't for sale, so he ended up commissioning one as close to it as possible. One of the advantages is that the maker studied the way he played, took some measurements, and made the neck to fit his hand. As a result, he has a violin that's larger in dimension than his others but just as easy to navigate. On the down side, it took time... two years from start to finish, and the varnish was quite soft for at least another year. As it turns out, he's delighted with it. However, he had another modern instrument previously (by a different maker) that *didn't* develop as he'd hoped, and ended up selling it. So it just depends. Unless you're really set on a particular maker and know exactly what you want, I'd start by visiting all the shops and trying loads of existing instruments first -- both old and new. Chances are good you'll find something you like.
  12. If it were simply a matter of a marketing and availability advantage, Dominants would be favorites across the board (violin, cello, etc.). As it is, Larsen and Jargar and Spirocore and a few others are more popular among cellists than Dominants. When it comes down to it, I think Dominants are simply a good product that work well for many violinists. If they don't work for you or your instrument, don't buy them... problem solved.
  13. Quote: for the most part private collectors' motivations are for preserving the value of the instrument, not the actual instrument - as is evidenced by 300 years of modifications. That might have been true in the past, but the climate has changed. These days, authenticity commands the highest prices, and anyone with an eye toward preserving the value of an instrument will go to great lengths to maintain the authenticity and condition.
  14. Quote: Relatively few of these instruments are in the care of museums... so it follows that every museum that has a fine instrument of historical value in their care has an obligation to preserve it - simply because those who own them who are not in museums have no such obligation. Maybe not, but they have a compelling financial interest to do so, which is probably more powerful when all is said and done than a simple legal obligation. Did anyone ever watch the TV series Northern Exposure, back when? This thread makes me think of the episode where Maurice decides to buy a Guarneri for investment purposes. He flies in a young hotshot violinist to test it out, to verify that he's not purchasing a dud. The violinist plays it, declares it magnificent, and falls in love with it on the spot. His discovery that Maurice plans to lock the violin away in a safe, and not make it available for playing, drives him over the edge and he ultimately ends up in the state mental institution. I can see it happening, I can...
  15. Quote: may be that was what Heifetz had in mind? If preserving the violin under glass was what Heifetz had in mind, he wouldn't have flown around the world playing it for 65 years. No one seems to mind the wear and tear Heifetz added to the instrument. I don't know, I think looking at a great violin is a bit like hearing the Mona Lisa.
  16. This might help -- it's the minutes from the museum board meeting. Scroll down to "IV. Director's Report." http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/site/famsf_page.asp?id=12118 I'll go ahead and repost the relevant excerpt here. __________________ IV. Director’s Report - Harry S. Parker III A. Consideration and Possible Action to Approve the Following Loan Request 1. Consideration and Possible Action to Adopt a Resolution Approving a Three Year Loan of the Guarnerius del Gesù Violin to the San Francisco Symphony At the last meeting on April 11, 2002, the possibility of a loan of the Guarnerius violin to the San Francisco Symphony to be played only by Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik was discussed, and a productive dialogue ensued, concerning the conditions under which a loan might be considered. Mr. Parker noted that the Guarnerius violin was bequeathed to the Fine Arts Museums by Jascha Heifetz "to be used by playing it on Special Occasions by Worthy Performers." The Museums have been committed to preserving the integrity of the violin, which has been played approximately eighteen times in the twelve years since it was received in 1989. In the opinions of some conservators of such instruments, the instrument improves with more frequent use, which has been a matter of concern for the Music Advisory Task Force. The Task Force, which oversees the Museums’ music program and the use of the Guarnerius violin, has also been interested for some time in developing a strong chamber music program at the Florence Gould Theater in the Legion of Honor. When the San Francisco Symphony approached the Museums regarding the possibility of a loan of the Guarnerius to the Symphony, the Symphony offered, in return, to organize a chamber music series of four to six performances a year in the Florence Gould Theater. The loan is proposed for a trial period of three years with the violin returning to the Museums for exhibition no fewer than eight consecutive weeks each summer. Since the last meeting, it has been determined that the violin, if loaned to the Symphony for a period of three years, would not travel on tour with the Symphony but would remain in the San Francisco Bay Area to be played by Concertmaster Barantschik in Symphony performances at Davies Symphony Hall and the Flint Center in Cupertino. The Symphony will insure the Guarnerius at its full market value, and every thirty days, the violin would be inspected by Conservator Roland Feller. When the violin is not in use, the Symphony will store the violin in locked, climate controlled, secured locations approved by the Museums. In consultation with legal counsel, it was determined that a court order should be obtained to confirm that the loan would be in keeping with the terms of the bequest and to assist the Museums in reaching a final decision to loan the Guarnerius to the Symphony. Mr. Parker reported that at the June 12, 2002 hearing Judge John Dearman, Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, heard the Museums’ petition and ruled to allow the loan of the Guarnerius to the Symphony to occur. Court documents state that the proposed agreement appears to be prudent providing protection for the violin while allowing it to be enjoyed by the public in accordance with Mr. Heifetz’s wishes. Mr. Parker presented the following resolution: WHEREAS, In 1989, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco received a bequest from the Estate of Jascha Heifetz of an 18th Century violin made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù; and WHEREAS, Under the terms of Mr. Heifetz’s will, the violin was bequeathed to the Museums "to be used by playing it on Special Occasions by Worthy Performers;" and WHEREAS, After receiving the violin in 1989, the Museums placed the instrument on exhibit in a specially constructed display case in the entrance to the Florence Gould Theater at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor; and WHEREAS, The violin was played approximately eighteen times in the following twelve years; and WHEREAS, The Museums are committed to preserving the integrity of the violin, which in the opinions of some conservators of such instruments, improves with more frequent use; and WHEREAS, The Museums’ Music Advisory Task Force advises on the use of the violin and has been interested for some time in developing a strong chamber music series at the Legion of Honor; and WHEREAS, The San Francisco Symphony approached the Museums regarding the possibility of a loan of the violin to the Symphony to be played by Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik, and in return the Symphony would organize a chamber music series of at least four performances a year in the Gould Theater at the Legion of Honor; and WHEREAS, The Museums petitioned the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, to confirm that the loan is in keeping with the terms of the bequest and a hearing date of June 12, 2002 has been set; and WHEREAS, It has been determined that the violin, if loaned to the Symphony for a period of three years, would not travel but remain in the San Francisco Bay Area to be played by Concertmaster Barantschik in Symphony performances at Davies Symphony Hall and the Flint Center in Cupertino; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Board of Trustees of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco does hereby approve a three year loan of the violin to the Symphony to be played by Concertmaster Barantschik at performances in the San Francisco Bay Area contingent upon the ruling of Superior Court Judge John Dearman at or following the June 12, 2002 hearing; and, be it FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Trustees authorizes the Director of Museums to execute a loan agreement with the Symphony. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the resolution approving the three-year loan of the Guarnerius violin to the San Francisco Symphony to be played only by Concertmaster Barantschik. There was no discussion among Trustees or members of the public. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the above resolution as Board Resolution 1415.
  17. One of the conditions of the loan is that Alexander Barantschik (concertmaster in San Fran) will present recitals and chamber music concerts at the Legion of Honor's Florence Gould Theater. If the public wants an opportunity to see and hear the violin in an intimate setting, this would be the place. The violin will also be on display at the museum for a couple of months each summer. Solo appearances go hand-in-hand with a concertmaster position. Concertmasters have a good deal of flexibility in their contracts because it is anticipated that they will be performing elsewhere... serving as musical ambassadors for the orchestra, so to speak. If you are under the impression that Mr. Barantschik is not a soloist caliber player, or that he does not also have solo and concerto engagements each year, you misunderstand what it entails to be concertmaster with a major orchestra. Personally, I'd love to hear the fiddle in the concertmaster solos as well... Scheherezade, Ein Heldenleben, Job, pick your favorite.
  18. The conductor and soloist aren't... errr, involved, are they? I know someone who conducts, occasionally with his wife as soloist, and the two of them have been known to engage in "spirited debates" in front of the orchestra.
  19. Too bad you didn't buy the string. Just think, they could probably have glued it in place for you so you'd never need to tune again.
  20. My bow is sort of a case study of how not to shop for a bow. I was too intimidated to try anything out in the shop, and I didn't realize I could take home bows on approval. So... I looked through all the bows at the top of my price range and picked the one the I thought was the prettiest. That was my selection process. What's strange is that last year I decided to buy a "real" bow, asssuming mine was lousy. I took home a group of them to try out at home, and much to my surprise the original bow turned out to be pretty darn good for that price bracket. Go figure.
  21. That's a great story. Makes me wish I had a spare cello to send him.
  22. We have a luthier who has been experimenting with different type and sources of bow hair over the past year or two. So far the vote here is for some kind of "Mongolian stallion hair," but that could be strictly a personal preference. On the topic of sound differences between bows, the orchestra my husband plays with just wrapped up recording for a CD. On it, he decided to use one bow for the orchestral stuff and concertmaster solos and another for the short solo piece he recorded. I'll be interested to hear the final result. The two bows are quite different when you hear them back to back but I don't know how much of that will make it through onto the CD.
  23. Quote: he said that is fine "if it can fit in the plane--otherwise, it has to go below." My husband had a similar experience a while back. He was lucky enough to be (barely) within driving range, so he rented a car, drove overnight, and made it just in time for the AM rehearsal. And that was a violin case; it's not that big. I don't know, it just seems like the luck of the draw and who you get at the gate. Gil Shaham was here recently and he said he's also had to walk off some flights when they wouldn't allow his fiddle in the cabin. But then I've also heard from people who've never run into a problem. If you go with the double case, I'd love to know how it goes. (And I'll keep my fingers crossed for her.)
  24. Oh, wow. Good luck. Would a double case meet the accepted carry-on dimensions (and fit into the overhead bin)?
  25. I just read that the Baltimore Symphony is planning to offer wine tastings in conjunction with their summer musicfest. Now there's an idea I wouldn't mind seeing implemented here.
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