Violinfest: All September on WQXR

All September on WQXR

The Willemotte Stradivarius violin (1734)

The Willemotte Stradivarius violin (1734) (Strad3D)

The violin never shrinks from the spotlight. It has long epitomized the romance, mystery, and even demonic side of classical music. Some believe it's closest-sounding instrument to the human voice.

Throughout September, WQXR presents ViolinFest, exploring the many sides of the iconic instrument. We find about the science of violin making, the market for rare instruments, the unique qualities of Baroque violins, and just what a concertmaster does. Most of all, we hear great recordings, featuring the young "rock stars" of the instrument, the established veterans, and the greats of the past. Check back here regularly for new features all this month.

Recently in ViolinFest

Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 1

Thursday, September 30, 2010

On this final day of our month-long series ViolinFest, Symphony Hall focuses tonight on Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 1.

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Walton's Violin Concerto

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As part of ViolinFest, Symphony Hall is focusing this week on the modern violin concerto. Tune in tonight for Sir William Walton’s Violin Concerto.

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Samuel Barber

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

As part of our month-long series ViolinFest, Symphony Hall is focusing on the modern violin concerto all this week. Today, it's Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.

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Sibelius's Violin Concerto

Monday, September 27, 2010

As part of our month-long series ViolinFest, Symphony Hall focuses on the modern violin concerto this week. Tonight: The Sibelius Violin Concerto.

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Inspired by Paganini

Friday, September 24, 2010

As part of ViolinFest, Symphony Hall focuses on the legacy of Nicolo Paganini. Tonight, we hear works inspired by Paganini, including Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganinni.

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Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 4

Thursday, September 23, 2010

As part of our month-long ViolinFest, tonight's Symphony Hall focuses on the legacy of Nicolo Paganini, with his Violin Concerto No. 4.

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Glenn Dicterow on the Role of the Concertmaster

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Glenn Dicterow has been a concertmaster or associate concertmaster in major symphony orchestras for nearly forty years, thirty of which have been at the New York Philharmonic. He talks with Jeff Spurgeon about the job.

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Hilary Hahn

Monday, September 20, 2010

In the mid-1990s violinist Hilary Hahn hit it off with Jennifer Higdon, a composer and the instructor of her 20th-century music course at the Curtis Institute of Music. Both went on to major careers and Higdon eventually wrote a concerto for Hahn. Earlier this year that piece won the Pulitzer Prize For Music.

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Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1

Monday, September 20, 2010

As part of our ongoing September series, ViolinFest, Symphony Hall focuses on the legacy of Niccolò Paganini. Tonight, a trip through his Violin Concerto No. 1, a work that shows off the violinist-composer's full mastery of the instrument.

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Two from the Vaults: Fritz Kreisler & Jascha Heifetz

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jascha Heifetz and Fritz Kreisler, two of the 20th century's great violinists, were the subject of special birthday tributes on WQXR. For our series ViolinFest, we've scoured the vaults to offer these special archival recordings.

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Two Views on Paganini

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New recordings offer two different approaches to Paganini’s fiendishly difficult Caprices  – one by the young German violinist Julia Fischer, and the other by the New York violnist Philippe Quint. This week’s Full Rotation presents both versions, side by side.

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From the Vaults: Isaac Stern with Leonard Lopate

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In this 1999 interview on WNYC's New York & Company, Stern talks with Leonard Lopate about his autobiography, My First 79 Years.

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Top Five Famous (and Infamous) Violins

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù built creations that can eclipse their fiddlers in sheer stardom. Men will scheme, steal and pay large fortunes to behold these violins’ aural fruits.

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Instruments of Murder

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why does the violin world provide such rich fodder for crime writers? Behind the fictional world of legendary instruments and the characters who deal them, steal them, and even kill for them.

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Stradivari vs. Guarneri: An Expert Explains the Difference

Monday, September 13, 2010

Even people who know nothing about the violin know the name of its most famous maker: Stradivarius. But don't count out the Guarneri family. Violinist Renaud Capuçon tells Jeff Spurgeon about the differences.

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Menuhin, Grumiaux and Heifetz

Monday, September 13, 2010

Every Monday in September, WQXR presents chamber works from an earlier generation of violin masters. Tonight's installment features classic performances by Yehudi Menuhin, Arthur Grumiaux, Jascha Heifetz and others.

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Wanna Play?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

As our month-long ViolinFest proceeds on WQXR, I’ve been reading about the violin, and talking with some violinists and other violin experts. Curiously for me, though, learning about the violin has not made me interested in the slightest in learning to play the thing.  I say “curiously” because usually when I study something, I feel an urge, however small, to experience it. But for some reason, the violin hasn’t grabbed me in the least. It looks not only difficult to learn, but uncomfortable, too.  I love listening to it, and deeply admire the people who study it, play it expertly, and understand it.  But it’s not for me. 

If I were to study a string instrument, it would be the cello.  There’s something about its tone quality, its warmth, and the intimacy of holding it in an embrace – as opposed to tucking the violin under the chin, as if it were napkin – that draws me to it.  There’s nothing rational about any of this, of course. Speaking of irrational, I also have long had a desire to play the accordion. I love the sweet rusticity of the French bal-musette sound.  But the accordion instead of the violin – what’s wrong with me? Please don’t answer that, but do answer this: What musical instrument have you always wanted to play, and why?  If you’ve fulfilled your ambition, what was it like to meet the object of your musical desire?

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Anne Akiko Meyers: Seasons...dreams

Friday, September 10, 2010

This week's Full Rotation highlights "Seasons…dreams," violinist Anne Akiko Meyers's new collection of seasonal and dream-related pieces by Debussy, Faure, Wagner, Gershwin and others. To whet your appetite, WQXR offers a free download.

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The British Invasion

Friday, September 10, 2010

As ViolinFest continues on WQXR, Symphony Hall this week is featuring works written exclusively for strings. Tonight, we turn our attention to British composers, with works by Vaughan Williams, Holst, Elgar and Bridge.

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American Minimalists

Thursday, September 09, 2010

As ViolinFest continues on WQXR, Symphony Hall this week is featuring works written exclusively for strings. Tonight spotlights two American composers who got their start as minimalists: John Adams and Philip Glass.

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