Stefan Milenkovich (Milenkovic) is a Serbian violinist and teacher born (in Belgrade) on January 25, 1977. He began studying at an extremely young age – age 3, just like Jascha Heifetz. His first teacher was his father – again, just as Heifetz’ father was his first teacher as well. As have other famous violinists – Bronislaw Huberman, Bronislaw Gimpel, Leonora Jackson, Julia Igonina, Hilary Hahn, Natasha Korsakova, and Chloe Hanslip among them - he has performed for world leaders, including President Reagan, President Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II. By age 6, he had already given his first public concert. By 1994, he had played over 1000 concerts. He was only 16 years old. Ruggiero Ricci played over 5000 concerts by the time he retired at age 85. That is probably a world record, although I am not sure about that. At the rate he was going, Milenkovich would have to play until age 57 before he would surpass the 5000 number; however, few concert artists nowadays play more than 50 concerts per season. Also in that year (1994), Milenkovic graduated from the University of Belgrade. He then began studying in New York with Dorothy Delay at Juilliard. In 2003, he began teaching at that same school. He was 26 years old. All the while, he was concertizing all over the world. He has been known to dance - in the fashion of Maxim Vengerov - during special recitals. Three other violinists that I know of are (or were) also very good dancers; Jean Marie Leclair, Andrew Sords, and Tai Murray. As does Simone Lamsma, Milenkovich loves violin competitions and has won a number of them or placed in the top three, including the Indianapolis, the Queen Elizabeth, the Yehudi Menuhin, the Paganini, and the Spohr competitions. He has recorded several CDs which are easy to find on the internet. Currently he teaches at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (about 130 miles south of Chicago) and at the University of Belgrade (since December 26, 2011.) Here is one of many YouTube videos of him – it features Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen. Milenkovich currently plays a modern violin - a 2006 violin by Chicago luthier Peter Aznavoorian.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Maurice Hasson is a French violinist and teacher born on July 6, 1934. He is recognized as a long-time violin professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He is also known for having spent thirteen years of his music career in Venezuela (1960-1973), contributing greatly to that country’s cultural life. He entered the Paris Conservatory in 1950. He was 16 years old. I do not know who his teachers were before his conservatory days. After graduation, he studied privately with Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng. In Venezuela, he taught at the University of the Andes, after which he relocated his career to England. Though he has dedicated a great deal of time to teaching, he has also been very busy concertizing around the globe since the early 1960s. He owned and played a 1727 Stradivarius for quite some time (the Halphen Strad, also known as the Benvenuti Strad) but now plays a Domenico Montagnana and a Guadagnini, although I don’t know the years of his current instruments. It is said he also owns several other fine violins. The 1727 Strad is now being played (though not owned) by Eckhard Seifert, a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic. Hasson made his American debut on January 19, 1978, playing Paganini's first concerto (in D) with the Cleveland Orchestra. Lorin Maazel was on the podium. Hasson has been teaching at the Royal Academy of Music since 1986. He has approximately 20 CDs to his credit and has recorded most of the standard repertoire for various labels, including EMI, Philips, and Pickwick. He is also known for master-classes all over the world. Here is a fascinating YouTube video of him playing “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in 1987. It is very interesting and very rare – apart from the brilliant performance – in that Yehudi Menuhin is the conductor. You can marvel at how unobtrusive Menuhin was as a conductor. The governments of France and Venezuela have bestowed several honors on Hasson in recognition of his service to their countries. His best-known pupil is probably brilliant Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma. Among his other pupils are Cassandra Hamilton, Catherine Geach, Gill Austin, Diana Yukawa, Amy Yuan, Marisol Lee, Tereza Privratska, Daniel Pioro, Laurence Kempton, Luis Cuevas, Mark Wilson, Nathaniel Anderson, Patrick Sabberton, Pierre Bensaid, Giovanni Guzzo, Remus Azoitei, and Eloisa-Fleur Thom.