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Top stories from the string music world

Focus Monday, 19 May 2014

How to reduce tension when playing the violin or viola

Mary McGovern provides some advice on holding your instrument without unnecessary spine and shoulder discomfort

The relationship of the head, neck and back is of central importance to human balance, co-ordination and movement. Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), after whom the Alexander Technique is named...

News Monday, 19 May 2014

Cellist Zoë Keating announces career hiatus

The independent artist’s husband has been diagnosed with cancer

Cellist and The Strad January 2014 cover star Zoë Keating has announced a hiatus from music and from her 1.2m Twitter followers so that she can spend time with her husband...

News Friday, 16 May 2014

British cellist Douglas Cummings has died aged 67

He served as principal cellist of the London Symphony Orchestra for 24 years

British cellist Douglas Cummings died on Wednesday at the age of 67. ‘Dougie’, as he was known, began his career at the age of 22 when he was appointed principal cellist of the London Symphony...

Focus Friday, 16 May 2014

10 tips to improve your sight-reading

By violinist and professor Eugene Gratovich

On a string instrument, sight-reading depends on the relationship between visual, mental, aural, and physical skills. A performer's limited solo repertory may not provide a person with adequate fingerboald...

News Friday, 16 May 2014

US ivory import rules eased to allow international travel with musical instruments

Instruments and bows containing small amounts of ivory purchased before February 2014 can now be transported into the US

Changes to US ivory import rules have been announced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, intended to ease international travel with musical instruments. Earlier this year, new regulations were introduced...

News Thursday, 15 May 2014

Timothy Cobb named New York Philharmonic principal bass

The double bassist has served as principal of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 1989

The New York Philharmonic has appointed Timothy Cobb as its new principal bass. The musician has served as principal double bass of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra...

Focus Thursday, 15 May 2014

Should string section bowings always be synchronised?

It is generally accepted that string sections should bow as a collective, but could this uniform approach sacrifice the composer’s intended sound? Violist James Boyd argues in favour of greater freedom

Bowing choices tend to favour practicality over artistryGenerally bowing decisions are based in pragmatism, rather than any great artistic ideal. And the solutions tend to be quite ...

News Thursday, 15 May 2014

26-year-old cellist Dmitry Volkov died from a heart condition

The Russian-born musician died in his sleep over the weekend

Officials have concluded there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the sudden death of cellist Dmitry Volkov, it has been reported. The 26-year-old, who died in...

Debate Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Why do so few string players start out learning the viola?

The UK may be producing some talented viola players, but violist Louise Lansdown cannot understand how, when the instrument is under-supported at grass-roots level

Why do so few string players start out learning the viola rather than opting for the violin or the cello instead? It cannot be due to a lack of opportunity: small and reasonably priced violas are readily...

News Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Founding Juilliard Quartet violinist Robert Mann awarded President’s Medal

Now aged 93, Mann served as the quartet’s first violinist for 51 years

Robert Mann, founding violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, has been awarded the President’s Medal by Juilliard president Joseph Polisi. The quartet’s long-time teaching studio at the...

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