Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Orchestral Etiquette -- An Uphill Battle Worth Fighting

Written by: Matt Lammers of Fein Violins

Having spent a summer and nine orchestral performances with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra this year, I was dropped headfirst into a culture of high standards and professional level playing. Eager to study orchestral playing technique and musicianship, I was not expecting to make any modifications to how I went about acting during and around rehearsals on a non-musical level. This, however, can come between a job and unemployment for even the most competent orchestral players. Getting on the wrong person's nerves--or your entire section for that matter--may have devastating consequences when tenure, or being hired in the first place, is on the line, and in a festival situation it can be what separates you from being an asset to the ensemble and the object of collective hatred. It seems to me that this is something worth paying attention to.

While a great deal of the do's and don't's are either intuitive or were told to us as we sat down in elementary school string orchestra, many of them require experience and the inside line to recognize, and are generally unnoticeable to the outsider. It would be an oversight to not mention these that are seemingly obvious, so here we go: don't eat during rehearsal, don't talk back to your conductor or principal, don't smell bad, know your part, don't talk during rehearsal, be on time (EARLY) to rehearsal, and turn the pages on time. With that out of the way it's time to dive into the finer points of playing in an orchestra that I noticed during my time with the faculty of the BMCO.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Parker Quartet. Playing Their Hearts Out!

Written by: Andy Fein, luthier at Fein Violins
& Ben Schuneman

Image result for parker quartet grammys
3/4 of the Parker Quartet with their GRAMMYs
GRAMMY! A fair number of people are nominated for GRAMMYs. Not that many people win one. Even fewer  GRAMMY winners are from or are based in Minnesota. (Well, OK, Bob Dylan has a few under his belt.) In Classical Music, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra was awarded a GRAMMY in 1980. And in 2011, the dynamic Parker Quartet was awarded the GRAMMY for Best Chamber Music Performance!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Archetier, or in England-Bowmaker

Written by: Andy Fein, luthier at Fein Violins

Predecessor to Cramer and Tourte Bows
The English have as old a love for stringed instruments as anyone else in Europe. English musicians have patronized and cultivated some of the finest violin and bow makers the world has seen. We previously looked at Early English Violin Makers. But without bows, these fine stringed instruments would just be plucked!

c.1800 School of Dodd Ivory Mounted Cello Bow