Sunday, February 22, 2015

Adele Anthony

Adele Anthony is an Australian violinist and teacher born (in Tasmania) on October 1, 1970.  She is known for having won first prize in the (fifth) Carl Nielsen violin competition in 1996 (at age 25) and for being the wife of Gil Shaham, with whom she frequently performs.  Twelve years before that, at age 13, she had won the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Instrumental Competition – she played the Sibelius concerto on that occasion.  Soon afterward, she played the Tchaikovsky concerto in a concert sponsored by the same organization.  That concert in 1983 is considered her Australian public debut.  Anthony began her violin studies at age 3.  She studied at the University of Adelaide with Beryl Kimber.  In 1987, she came to the U.S. to pursue further study at Juilliard (New York City) where her main teachers were Hyo Kang, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy Delay.  According to one source, she studied at Juilliard for eight years, having received funding from several benefactors, including the Starling Foundation.  However, she was an active concert artist even while she was still at Juilliard and still maintains a very active solo concert career.  Her repertoire is very extensive and includes all of the standard violin literature in addition to many contemporary works less frequently heard by audiences.  As do almost all concert violinists nowadays, Anthony also plays chamber music at various festivals throughout the world, but especially in New York, where she resides.  She has recorded for various labels and among her notable recordings are those featuring violin concertos by Carl Nielsen, Ross Edwards, and Nicolo Paganini.  Anthony plays a Stradivarius violin constructed in 1728.  Here is one of her YouTube audio files featuring the work of Ross Edwards – a refreshing and unusual new work for the violin.  A few Stradivarius violins (perhaps one hundred or so) have been given names which have remained attached to the instruments for many years but – as far as I know – this one has no specific name.  I have heard it up close a number of times and it has a wonderful sound.  Perhaps later on, it will be known as the Anthony Stradivarius.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sascha Jacobsen

Sascha Jacobsen was a Russian violinist and teacher born (in Helsinki, Finland) on December 10, 1895.  Jacobsen’s birthdate is also given as November 29, 1895 and December 11, 1895.  Little is known of his early life.  It has been said that he grew up in St Petersburg.  He has been often confused with another violinist (from Philadelphia) named Sascha Jacobson.  A humorous song written by George Gershwin in 1921 includes his (first) name (along with those of Jascha, Toscha, and Mischa – Russian violinists Heifetz, Seidel, and Elman, respectively.)  It is known that he enrolled at Juilliard in 1908 where his main teacher was Franz Kneisel.  He graduated from Juilliard (Institute of Musical Art) in June of 1914 (some sources say 1915.)  He was 18 years old.  (A fellow-student of his was Elias Breeskin.)  In February of 1915, Jacobsen played parts of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnol at an Aeolian Hall concert.  On November 27, 1915, he made his official recital debut at Aeolian Hall playing (among other things) Saint Saens’ third concerto.  After the announced program was concluded, he had to play numerous encores and he received very favorable reviews the following day.  He first soloed with the New York Philharmonic on March 9, 1919 (at age 23) playing Bruch’s first concerto with Walter Damrosch conducting.  Jacobsen concertized as a soloist between 1915 and 1925.  He began teaching at Juilliard in 1926.  After being hired, he almost immediately formed the Musical Art Quartet which disbanded in 1945, after almost 20 years of concert activity.  Recordings of this quartet are not hard to find.  Jacobsen also did solo recordings, although mostly of short works for violin and piano.  A well-known recording of his is the Chausson concerto for string quartet, violin, and piano with Jascha Heifetz as violin soloist.  You can listen to that recording here.  He moved to Los Angeles (California, USA) in 1946 and taught at the Los Angeles Conservatory but at other music schools as well.  From September 1947 and May 1949, he was guest concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Some sources say he was concertmaster up to 1952 but I could not confirm that.  It has been said that Albert Einstein was one of Jacobsen’s pupils.  (Einstein also took lessons from Toscha Seidel.)  Jacobsen’s most famous pupils are probably Julius Hegyi and Zvi Zeitlin.  Among the violins he played are the Red Diamond Stradivarius (1732), the Cessole Stradivarius (1716), the Windsor Stradivarius (1717), a GB Guadagnini (1779), another GB Guadagnini (1772), and a Del Gesu Guarnerius constructed in 1732.  Jacobsen died on March 19, 1972, at age 76.