Stephen Fine

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About Stephen Fine

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    The Deep South

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  1. I'd be interested to know. Standing room tickets have been a thing for a while.
  2. Depending on how dedicated Menuhin was to the project of recording the open rehearsal, maybe he would return back to the "sweet spot". Maybe he wouldn't care. Sorry, is it your opinion that turning the angle of the violin would have a negligible effect or that Menuhin would be careful to never do that? I'm pretty sure they're both wrong. More importantly, so what? This is evidence that two violins sound different from one another? You must be fascinated by all the blind and double-blind testing that been going on in recent years.
  3. I hear ya... but don't forget that Mozart and Bach were servants and spent plenty of time catering to and kowtowing to the rich an powerful. I don't know any composers who didn't spend some time educating children to pay the bills. Don't forget that the opera was a status symbol for a century more than it was for music appreciation. We romanticize the good ol' days a little more than we should, probably.
  4. Violinists were often mic-ed closer up than you describe. The direction I face has a HUGE impact on how loud I am. Are you being serious?
  5. So, let me get this straight... You don't think that a great player is more likely to be a great teacher than a mediocre player? No offense, but that's nuts, and that mindset is why we have so so many mediocre music teachers with jobs. If you want to teach young kids or basic skills, fine. That is a very important and difficult skill set to acquire. If you want to teach elite violinists elite technique, there is no substitute for being able to play it yourself with style. Of course, I was brought up as a student of Suzuki's Mother Tongue Method. It is my believe that what you hear and see as a child/student is internalized. Perhaps there are some music teachers who are mediocre players, but who exist at good schools. Their students are surrounded all day by great players, so they require less reinforcement in the lessons. But I would say that teacher is lucky, not necessarily a great teacher. This is not to say that I don't know plenty of great players who are terrible teachers... as you say, they are completely different skills. But they go hand-in-hand here. I feel like your opinion comes from a misunderstanding of the performance ability of people like Delay and Galamian. Dorothy Delay was a superb performer in her late teens and early 20s. Same with Galamian.
  6. One percent is plenty. No matter the decade or century, there is bound to be someone saying "no one is seeking out classical music." (Also, it's funny that you cite a guitarist performing for 400 as an example of "no one") Meanwhile, my audiences and students are as diverse and passionate as they've ever been in my lifetime. The economic forces aligned against my generation seem unrelated to any decline in Classical's market share.
  7. This is a gross generalization and not true in my experience. Some great musicians are highly analytical, were taught by great teachers, and have plenty to say on every technical and musical issue. The famous example of what you mention is young Menuhin. But older Menuhin was no slouch. Primrose didn't consider himself much of a teacher, he recognized Karen Tuttle as a great teacher, but she was also a great player. Heifetz could teach... I had a fascinating masterclass once playing for Roberto Diaz... I'm sure we could go on all day listing great performers who were also great teachers...
  8. Total Dollar has been great for me.
  9. Application deadlines are mostly passed for this year... You can call around and see if any programs have openings/dropouts. If the dropout is last minute enough, you could get a discount on tuition. Summer Institutes in the States are super expensive. Look at Europe for some cheaper festivals with later application deadlines. Curtis has a summer institute. Florida State University has a summer institute. American Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point, esp. if you're Suzuki trained. When choosing summer camp experiences, there are a few different types of camps... 1. Practice Camp: Meadowmount is the supreme example of this, I think. They lock you in your practice cabin and don't let you out. 2. Orchestra Camp: 3. Chamber Music Camp:
  10. You want a good example of government support of the arts? My favorite statistic is that the entire budget of the USA's National Endowment for the Art (NEA) is less than what France spends on the Paris Opera alone. We spend pennies per person on art and music in the USA. And yet, abolishing the NEA is a favorite conservative talking point. PS- I haven't looked up the NEA/Paris Opera figures in a few years. It was true when I was in school and it was still true 10 years later.
  11. You need to do a little research on Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. She's an important figure in early 20th century American chamber music. (The famous story that violists tell is that Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata won the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Competition in 1919, but upon discovering it was composed by a woman, they awarded the prize to Bloch instead for his Suite.) To my knowledge, her husband was not related to President Coolidge. She was not a politician.
  12. ... because it's strongly correlated? Not many people are 5'5", but have the arms/hands of a 6'2" person. I do not believe your story about the 6'6" person with shorter arms than a 5'4" person. At the very least, that is anatomically extraordinary (according to my understanding).
  13. There isn't exactly a standard size for violas. Anything between 16-16.5 inches is pretty normal. I agree that 16 3/8" might be a sweet spot. With violas as with violins, I'd say value isn't necessarily with older instruments, but you can find a large viola sometimes for cheaper. They're harder to unload. But unless you're quite tall, I'd stick in the 16"-16.5" range. If you're a littler person, you could look for something in the 15"-15.5" range, but it's much harder to find good-sounding instruments in that size range. I find violas fall along a continuum from closed/nasal to open/boomy. Somewhere in the middle is what you want. The closed/nasal sound is easier to dislike. So, more violas tend towards being boomy. Beware of instruments that don't have enough core to their sound.
  14. Several minutes? Your teacher's a loon. It takes me 10 seconds and that's enough time to do small motions along the whole length of the bow and several long swipes.