Sunday, August 23, 2015

Robert Lipsett

Robert Lipsett (Robert Crawford Lipsett Jr.) is an American violinist and teacher born (in Louisville, Kentucky) on October 23, 1947.  He is best known for holding the violin chair at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, a position named after Jascha Heifetz.  He literally teaches in Heifetz’ old music studio, which was disassembled at Heifetz' home in Beverly Hills and reassembled on the Colburn School’s campus.  The studio includes almost all of Heifetz’ furnishings and d├ęcor as well.  He has been on the faculty for more than 25 years.  Lipsett gives master classes all over the world and also teaches at the Aspen School of Music.  He began his violin studies as a child, at age 7, in Dallas, Texas with Zelman Brounoff (concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony) and Ruth Lasley.  After his family moved to Saint Louis (Missouri), he continued his music studies with Melvin Ritter (concertmaster of the St Louis Symphony and former student of William Kroll.)  Eventually, he graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and, after graduation, also studied with Ivan Galamian at Juilliard (New York) and Endre Granat, presumably in Los Angeles.  In 1986, he began teaching at USC (University of Southern California.)  Lipsett has also worked as a session (studio) violinist in Los Angeles, recording for movies, television, and CDs.  He has received several awards for his distinguished career as a teacher.  Among his many pupils are Robert Chen, Tamaki Kawakubo, Kathryn Eberle, Leila Josefowicz, Jennifer Frautschi, and Lindsay Deutsch.  From the photo you can see Lipsett plays a fine violin but I don’t know what it is.  About achieving a top concert career, Lipsett has said the following: “One eventually has to face a sort of reality.  Being a top concert violinist is like running for President.  There’s just not much room up there at all.”  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Aida Stucki

Aida Stucki was a Swiss violinist and teacher born (in Cairo, Egypt) on February 19, 1921.  She was a concert violinist who, like countless others, settled down to a teaching career, although she continued to perform as a soloist and chamber musician even as she taught many world class violinists.  One of her teachers was Stefi Geyer, Bela Bartok’s beloved muse.  Another was Carl Flesch.  She began violin lessons at age 10, with Ernst Wolters, concertmaster of the Winterthur (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra.  Stucki made her public debut at age 13, playing Mozart’s third concerto, although I don’t know where it took place – I’m guessing either Winterthur or Zurich, Switzerland.  Stucki’s concertizing career began in 1940.  She was 19 years old.  She began teaching at the Winterthur Conservatory in 1948.  In 1959, she founded a string quartet with her violinist-husband, Giuseppe Piraccini.  The two would often trade places, alternatively playing first or second violin.  As far as I know, the first string quartet to regularly alternate first and second violin parts between violinists was the Jacobsohn String Quartet – it was founded in Chicago in (approximately) 1890.  Stucki frequently partnered with pianist (and violinist) Clara Haskil to perform as a duo.  Nevertheless, Haskil also performed with other violinists, including Isaac Stern, Joseph Szigeti, Henryk Szeryng, Eugene Ysaye, George Enesco, and Arthur Grumiaux.  In 1983, Stucki fell and broke both of her wrists.  She had to stop concertizing but continued teaching.  She left a substantial discography which is easy to find on the internet.  Among her many hundreds of students are Manrico Padovani, Anne Sophie Mutter, Noemi Schindler, and Matthias Enderle.  From some recordings I've heard I concluded she must have played a pretty good violin but I was not able to find out what it was.  Stucki died on June 9, 2011, at age 90.