July 13, 1999 |
Violins and violas, unvarnished and unstrung, dangle from a clothesline above the kale and green beans in Hiroshi Iizuka's tiny backyard. "They are browning," Iizuka says of his creations as he walks around the garden where butterflies flit among large cabbage leaves and long stakes hold back tomatoes about to burst. The instruments, too, will soon be ripe. Iizuka is a violin-maker, a craftsman who makes instruments that are used by musicians all over the world, including members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and countless string quartets.
February 25, 2005 |
A Settlement Music School teacher was killed yesterday morning in a head-on collision on Route 42 in Camden County, police said. Anthony Simmons, 38, taught viola and violin at the South Philadelphia-based school and was violist for the Serafin String Quartet and the new-music ensemble Relache. Simmons, of Woodbury, was driving to a meeting for the Ocean City Pops, said Settlement's executive director, Robert Capanna. He was headed south through Gloucester Township about 7 a.m. when a northbound driver lost control of her Mitsubishi Eclipse, skidded across the grassy median, and plowed into Simmons' Honda Civic, police said.
September 22, 1993 |
David Arben left the Philadelphia Orchestra at the end of the summer, but he won't be putting down his violin. An orchestra member since 1959 and associate concertmaster since 1979, Arben says "playing the violin is not a job; it's my life. " Orchestra audiences have valued this self-effacing violinist's solo appearances with the orchestra for the refinement of his playing. His colleagues admire his playing for its combination of meticulous detail and poetic lyricism and, although he has not searched for students, many violinists from Curtis and Juilliard have sought him out for coaching.
February 4, 2004 |
So often, Mozart's violin sonatas have an unflattering synonym: Dullsville. They're usually programmed as violinistic throat-clearing, as charming, unchallenging opening selections that make everything that follows on a concert program seem grand in comparison. However less exalted the 27 sonatas are in Mozart's massive output, two of Philadelphia's most reputable musicians - the symmetrically named duo Lisa-Beth Lambert (violin) and Lambert Orkis (piano) - are playing most of them over three concerts at Temple University's Rock Hall.
February 3, 1997 |
With an otherworldly expression, Elena Chea swayed as her bow stroked the strings of her cello. Her fingers nimbly moved up and down the strings as the tempo rose - and then came to a dramatic stop. "If it's not about expression, there's nothing but notes," said Chea. The judges at the 40th annual Haddonfield Symphony Solo Competition for Young Instrumentalists clearly agreed, awarding the 20-year-old Chea first prize. "You could feel the joy she had in performing," said Helen Kwalwasser, a violin professor at Temple University and one of the judges.
February 16, 2003 |
At 10, violinist Ann Fontanella was on stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra, playing Pablo de Sarasate's Gypsy Airs, a challenging, flamboyant piece that showcased her technical skills and musical finesse. A year later, she was studying music theory and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Now, at 14, she's ready to audition for a special program for gifted young artists at Yale University that would allow her to study and develop as a performer.
November 30, 2003 |
When Cyrus Ebnesajjad plays the violin, it is hard not to use words such as presence and mastery. That said, he still feels a pang when he remembers the hours he spent this summer practicing video games instead of Bach. "I felt bad that I was kind of lazy and didn't live up to my potential," Ebnesajjad, 16, said. So he put the video games away, started running, and lost 30 pounds. In this, his first year with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Chadds Ford resident, a junior at the Westtown School, has been named concertmaster, a coveted role bestowed by legendary conductor Joseph Primavera after hearing Ebnesajjad play with the group.
May 31, 1998 |
When Elyse Shore was asked to launch a string program three years ago in this school district noted for its award-winning marching and jazz bands, she wasn't sure it would catch on. Now, students are clamoring to play the violin. Offered in just two elementary schools at first, the program got started with a small collection of donated instruments. "People found things in their attics and gave them to us," Shore said. "We did the best we could. " Since then, the program has mushroomed to include third through seventh graders in all eight elementary schools and the middle school.
March 27, 1988 |
Mozart had fallen in love with a vivacious singer but had to settle for marrying her sister. The composer played the viola in later life, and violists see in this man who married his first love's sister the image of their own artistic existence. Most violists were violinists early on. They shifted to the lower-voiced instrument because of a teacher's suggestion, a performance opportunity or, increasingly, a late-growing passion for an instrument just taking its place as a soloist's vehicle.
May 12, 1991 |
David Madison, when he was a kid living in South Philadelphia, hung out with a gang. A gang of musicians. On Saturdays, Madison, a violinist, and his gang would loiter on Locust Street near the side door of the Academy of Music, waiting for a chance to accost their fiery hero - conductor Leopold Stokowski. When Stokowski emerged, Davey Madison, who at 13 was small for his age, would reach out for his handshake from the great maestro. That was a few months before Madison found the Joseph filius Andreas Guarnerius violin, the magical fiddle that would be his companion for 70 years.