|Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
|1720 - Birth of German harpsichordist-composer Adolph Karl Kunzen.
1755 - Birth of German composer / court violinist Christian Kalkbrenner.
1869 - Premiere of Wagner's Das Rheingold in Munich, without his permission. Conducted by Franz Wullner.
1870 - Birth of American Ragtime composer Arthur Pryor.
1872 - Birth of English conductor and pianist Walter Rothwell in London. First conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
1918 - Birth in Zelazowa Wola, Poland of naturalized Mexican violinist Henryk Szeryng.
1938 - Premiere of A. Webern's String Quartet, Op. 28. Berkshire Chamber Music Festival. Commissioned for $750 by the American music patron, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge.
1964 - Premiere of Broadway musical Fiddler On the Roof. It ran for 3,242 performances.
1989 - Death of American composer Irving Berlin at age 101 in NYC.
2000 - Premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Millennium Fantasy for piano and orchestra. Jeffrey Biegel and Cincinnati Symphony, Jesús Lopez-Cobos conducting.
2001 - Death of Russian-American concert violinist and film fiddler Isaac Stern.
|Can You Guess?
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye says, "A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask 'Why do we stay up there if it's so dangerous?' Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word." Can You Guess that one word?
Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer. Extra Credit Question: Who was the actual violinist whose playing was dubbed in for the fiddler in the movie? A hint is found elsewhere on this page
|Hugh Cecil Bean was born September 22, 1929, in Bechenham, Kent, England. He was the sone of a marine engineer who happened to be a passionate amateur fiddler. As such, his father gave him his first violin lessons at the age of five. He later recalled that he had been fascinated by the mechanical and technical side of the fingerwork and bowing.
|Four years later, Bean became a student of Albert Sammons, the premier British violinist of the time. Bean remained Sammons’s student for almost 20 years.
Bean said, “The simplicity of Sammons’s own style of playing and personal manner made a very direct contact with his pupils. He described everything in the simplest possible down-to-earth terms that everybody could understand.” Bean emulated that simplicity and directness in thur throughout his musical life as performer and teacher.
When he was only 15, Bean won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he continued his studies with Sammons. When he was seventeen, he was awarded the principal prize for violin.
Bean entered military service and, form 1949 to 1951, was the first natinal serviceman accepted into the Grenadier Guards. There he led a small string officer, despite the high collar of his uniform.
In 1951, Bean came in second in the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition, and the following year won a scholarship that gave him a year of study under André Gertler at the Brussels Conservatoire, where he took a double premier prix for solo and chamber music playing.
After a short spell as an orchestral freelance, Bean led both the Harvey Phillips String Orchestra and the chamber orchestra that the great horn player Dennis Brain had started conducting before his death in 1957.
He was appointed Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music, London, at the age of 24.
As a teacher of phenomenal gifts, Bean had an uncanny way of knowing exactly what each student required. He started teaching at the Royal College of Music shortly after he had completed his studies, and was professor there from 1954 to 1992. During thirty-seven years as Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music, more than fifty of his students found positions in London orchestras, including several as principals.
In 1957 Bean was made leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra. He later left that to become leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra., after which he was leader of the London Symphony Orchestra. Due to the growing demand for his services as soloist and chamber musician, he resigned from his position as leader of the LSO in order to devote more time to playing with the Music Group of London, which he had founded. In 1989, he returned to the Philharmonia Orchestra as co-leader.
Like all musicians, Bean had his embarrassing moments. On one occasion he began a Bach concerto with such a flourish that his bow sailed out into the audience. He jumped from the stage, retrieved the bow and, now covered in dust, clambered back up to begin again.
As a person, Bean was well loved by his colleagues and students. His hobby was model aircraft and trains. He loved his model of the locomotive Duchess of Baccleuch, and would run it while wearing his engineer’s cap.
Bean’s last public performance came in 2002, when he played Bach’s Double Concerto with his student Jonathan Josephs at a memorial for another former student. It was typical of Bean that his musical swansong should have been among his students rather than in the spotlight on an international stage.
Hugh Cecil Bean died December 26, 2003.
|From Mao to Mozart
Stern's 1979 Visit to China that started as his attending one rehearsal and giving one recital and turned into a whole tour of concerts and master classes. Inspirational!
|Isaac Stern: Life's Virtuoso American Masters production celebrating Isaac Stern is a profile of the man not his music. Comments by Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman--as well as some less-expected|
|commentators such as Gregory Peck and Jimmy Connors. The portrait that all give of this marvelous octogenarian is almost as dazzling and multifaceted as hearing him play.|
|Hugh Bean Conducts
several works in this
Excellent Recording of Tchaikovsky Suites
|Christmas is just around the corner! Order Early, Start Practicing Early and Beam With Pride during December!|
Get Fiddler on the Roof!
|As always, the music presented on this site is there to provide samples and examples for you to listen to. If you plan to purchase something on line, I would appreciate it if you would do it through one of my links . . . it helps me pay for bandwidth. If not, don't worry about it! Keep coming back. Keep playing. Keep reading. Keep listening. Thank you for your support.|
| Violin Mug with Quote
Bravo to those of us who understand that old music needs new music and new music needs old music.
--Augusta Read Thomas
Did You Guess?
Tevye says that one word is "Tradition!" By the way, stay off the roof when you play your violin.
Is Your Violin Protected
with a Violin Humidifier?