The Strad’s editor Charlotte Smith introduces the November 2020 issue

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When, in March 2019, The Strad held its first Stradfest event for young string players, there were highlights aplenty. The Royal Institution in central London played host to fine instrument displays, talks by leading industry figures and an unforgettable performance by Anne Akiko Meyers on the 1741 ‘Vieuxtemps’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’. A standout moment among these musical delights was a luminous performance by the Dover Quartet of Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Of course, the US ensemble wasn’t without reputation. The players were launched on to the world stage as popular winners of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, and followed this triumph with global tours, placements at leading institutions and a handful of acclaimed recordings.

The Covid-19 crisis might easily have stalled the group’s career trajectory, but in fact this most difficult of years has heralded more achievements, with a new Beethoven recording cycle and a pioneering residency at the Curtis Institute, where the quartet first formed some twelve years ago. On page 24 I speak to the members about showcasing individual voices within a cohesive sound, democratic rehearsal techniques and nurturing the ensembles of tomorrow.

Also in this American-themed issue, Oskar Falta examines the pedagogy of cellist Leonard Rose, acclaimed professor of the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute, whose irresistibly silky tone was the result of his mastery of the bow (page 48). An interesting counterpoint is provided on page 32 by US educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman, who extols the advantages of opening our minds to styles outside the Western classical canon. Then, there are two fascinating histories from California – an article by Raphael Gold on the bow makers of Hollywood (page 54) and an account by Gennady Filimonov of Italian maker Carlo Bisiach’s ventures into the American market through an eight-year association with Leo D. Larsson (page 38). Both articles point to the great persistence and savviness of those who represented the violin trade during volatile times. It is to their credit that we can still enjoy the fruits of their labours today.

Charlotte Smith editor

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