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September 14, 2020, 10:36 PM Los Angeles-based fine violin collector Dr. William Sloan doesn't really think there is a "secret" to the exceptional sound of old Italian instruments such as the two he owns, the 1714 "Jackson" Stradivari and the 1742 "Sloan" Guarneri del Gesù.Certain makers in the 18th century were simply great craftsmen, he told violinist Cristian Fatu in the video interview below. "They understood the wood, they understood the vibrations," Sloan said, "....and they made something that is durable." Indeed, these fiddles have endured -- some 300 years later, both violins sing with voices that have rung through them for centuries. They sing again in the hands of Fatu, who at the end of the video performs the Sarabande from Bach's Partita No. 1 in B minor, alternating between the "Jackson" Strad and "Sloan" del Gesù. Fatu plans to create a series of paid streams, performing on both of Sloan's instruments, with solo violin works by Bach, Paganini, Ysaÿe, Kreisler, Enescu and Piazzola. (See Fatu's Instagram and Facebook pages for more information on that.) Keep reading...September 13, 2020, 9:44 PM Unless you’re playing the solo Bach Sonatas and Partitas, there’s always something outside of yourself that you need to connect to. Whether it’s a conductor, a pianist, or your string section, your concentration is not only on your own playing, but also on fitting with their phrasing, rhythm, and dynamics. The audience has the easier job of absorbing the finished product. The musician juggles, compromises, and does whatever else is necessary to adjust to the ensemble’s mutual goal. I find great comfort in that -- because the combined interpretation represents tradition and musical common sense. I would get exhausted if I had to make every decision and re-invent every wheel, without the benefit of listening to others around me. Following something greater than the individual parts becomes a technique unto itself. Keep reading... Comments (1)September 11, 2020, 4:41 PM Last week a parent offered some wonderful advice for helping get kids get back into a practice routine, with the start of the new school year.Whether you are a student or not, the school year can provide structure for practice as kids and teachers get back on a fixed routine. But the school year is not the only thing that can provide that structure. How is your practice routine these days? Does it exist? Is it helped by the new school year? Has it needed to change? Is it hard to practice, with no performances? Or are you finding motivation in taking classes or other things? Please participate in the vote, and then share your ideas for staying motivated, keeping a routine or getting back on the wagon when it's hard to practice. Keep reading... Comments (11)September 11, 2020, 2:27 PM Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!Beethoven Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1 — The Opus 18 QuartetsDover QuartetJoel Link, violinBryan Lee, violinMilena Pajaro-van de Stadt, violaCamden Shaw, celloThe Dover Quartet, which holds residencies at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, launches its emerging, three-volume complete Beethoven quartet cycle with the six Opus 18 quartets, often cited as the epitome of the classical string quartet as developed by Haydn and Mozart while foreshadowing Beethoven’s future innovations. The timing of the album’s release is a nod to the worldwide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the German composer’s birth. BELOW: The Dover Quartet performs Beethoven String Quartet Op. 18 No. 4, Mvt. 1 in 2017: Keep reading...Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

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