StringOvation- new online publication for string players

 

Ever find yourself wondering how to deal with stage parents? Or whether or not there were apps just for violinists? Or what sort of careers are available to you or your child as a musician?

Connolly Music has launched an online publication just for those of us who find ourselves consumed by all things strings- and those of us who are just starting out. Filled with tips and information about everything from learning the basics to who’s hot in the music industry now, String Ovation seems to be the resource we’ve all been waiting for.

StringOvation.com is devoted to music teachers, string musicians, and string music aficionados. Its mission is to help its readers deepen their knowledge and expertise as musicians as well as their appreciation of string music.”

Why we love it: lists of current string musicians who are “keeping it cool”, tools for inspiring students to keep with it, practical tips on things like string-shopping, instrument insurance, career options and the science of violins.

An Icelandic Treasure; The Music of Ólafur Arnalds

The year was 2010 and a conversation about movie soundtracks and classical music prompted my friend to ask the question, “Have you ever heard of Ólafur Arnalds?”  I hadn’t.  Nor would I realize how thankful to my friend I would be for mentioning him until I later opened up the link she sent me to the official music video of Arnalds’ song Ljósið.  Hard to pronounce, but not hard to listen to, I was immediately hooked to the music and sped over to iTunes to hear (and purchase) more.

Hailing from Mosfellsbær Iceland, Arnalds is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer.  According to his iTunes biography, he got his start drumming for a series of metal bands and his entry into the neo-classical field was “somewhat accidental.” Some material Arnalds recorded for the German band Heaven Shall Burn was heard by The Erased Tapes Label and they approached him about recording a full album of his own.

In 2007, that album, Eulogy for Evolution was released.  Since then, Arnalds has released three EPs, two studio albums, and a multitude of collaborations.  He has also provided the scores for the BBC series Broadchurch, and has had music featured in a number of films, notably including The Hunger Games.

According to a short statement on his website, Arnalds believes that, “…the greatest thing about being a musician is being in the position to inspire other people.”
He says he, “…takes such pleasure in hearing that people have been motivated to create after hearing my music, whether it be a painting, a poem, their own music or something completely different.  Music is not a one way street, it is a conversation where the listener’s role is as important as the artist’s.”

fniaw

A favorite album of mine, For Now I Am Winter, was released April 2nd, 2013.  Earning a five star rating on iTunes, the album was the first of Arnalds’ to include vocals, provided by singer and lyricist Arnór Dan.

When it comes to inspiration, this album has provided the fuel to create illustrations, short stories, and the characters that fill them on many a long night at school, hunched over in bed as the music resonated from my laptop speakers.

The music, which sets the perfect backdrop for sitting at the window with a cup of hot chocolate during a January snowfall, evokes deep feelings and emotions.
Gentle piano, sometimes haunting vocals, paired with backdrops of electronic synth and string instruments creates a deeply satisfying soundtrack to any activity.  Hard to put into words, the album leaves a lasting impression, as cliched as it may sound.

For Now I Am Winter, along with the rest of Arnalds music, can be purchased on the iTunes music store or his own website olafurarnalds.com.

 

Marble machine!

Martin Molin, a Swedish musician, spent over a year creating this music box that operates on 2,000 marbles!

Danny Lewis for the Smithsonian writes, “The Wintergartan Marble Machine works by sending thousands of steel marbles around a circuit, albeit an enormously complex one. As Molin turns a crank, the marbles begin to roll down chutes leading them to different keys on a vibraphone. That’s not the only instrument built into the machine, though. By flipping different switches, Molin can open new channels to a kick drum, a cymbal and even an electric bass, depending on what elements he wants to add into the mix…”

 

Kurt Masur’s Legacy at the New York Philharmonic

Kurt Masur, music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1991 to 2002, died on Saturday at the age of 88.

 

 

NPR wrote a beautiful tribute to Masur, detailing the way he “rebuilt” the New York Phil in the 90s into one of America’s leading orchestras after a period of bad reviews and lackluster performances.

The article quotes Alan Gilbert, the current music director and son of musicians who played under Masur:

” ‘Masur’s years at the New York Philharmonic represent one of its golden eras, in which music-making was infused with commitment and devotion — with the belief in the power of music to bring humanity closer together,” Gilbert said in a statement provided by the orchestra. “The ethical and moral dimensions that he brought to his conducting are still palpable in the musicians’ playing, and I, along with the Philharmonic’s audiences, have much to thank him for. I will always be grateful for the support he gave me starting long ago when I was a student. I will miss him deeply.’ ”

 

Read the full article here.

Flying with your violin can be dangerous…

British Airways recently forced a musician to store her violin in the hold, and the results are horrifying…

 

British Airways breaks violin

 

 

Flying with a stringed instrument is getting increasingly risky, so make sure to check on airline rules and regulations before you head to the gate.