Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Regina Carter

Regina Carter is an American violinist, composer, and teacher born (in Detroit, Michigan - U.S.A.) on August 6, 1966 (Heifetz was 65 years old.)  (One source gives her year of birth as 1963.)  She is one of very few women jazz violinists in the world and is known for having received a MacArthur grant in September, 2006 – just as did Leila Josefowicz in 2008.  She is also just one of two jazz violinists on this blog – the other is Stephane Grappelli.  Carter began her violin studies at the age of four.  She attended Cass Technical High School until graduation, playing with the Detroit Civic Orchestra while studying there.  She then studied at the New England Conservatory (Boston) but ended up returning to Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan, on the northern outskirts of the city of Detroit), graduating from that school.  After graduation, she taught in the Detroit Public Schools for one year.  Carter then spent two years in Germany (1985-1987), immersing herself in the world of the jazz clubs there.  Although she had already been dabbling in jazz music performance, her serious entry into that sphere took place in 1987.  She played with the all-female jazz group Straight Ahead, with which she did some recording, until 1994.  In 2001, she played a concert in Genoa, Italy.  She performed that concert playing Paganini’s famous Cannone violin (Guarneri – 1743.)  Camillo Sivori (Paganini’s pupil), Bronislaw Huberman, Ruggiero Ricci, Leonid Kogan, Eugene Fodor, Dmitri Berlinsky, and Salvatore Accardo, have also been accorded that privilege.  As far as I know, she is the first jazz musician, the first female, and the first black violinist to do so.  She also later recorded a CD using this violin.  Coincidentally, until about 2002, the critics had largely ignored her career as a soloist and recording artist.  Carter has also performed with the String Trio of New York and the Black Rock Coalition.  She is the composer of How Ruth Felt, written for Ruth Felt, President of an arts organization (San Francisco Performances) in San Francisco (California, U.S.) for which Carter was Artist-in-Residence for some time.  There are several videos of her performances on YouTube (one of which you can listen to here) and many albums available on the internet through Verve Records. Her violin is a 1747 Storioni.

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