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
January 4
What Else
January 4 being Seonaid Aitken's birthday, you may expect to find her playing her violin.  Most of us play standing or seated in the proper position.  Feet shoulder width apart, body erect.  You know the drill.

The last time I saw Seonaid she wasn't quite that way.  Seonaid danced, ran, hopped and played in various positions on the floor.  She sang, and they even tell me that she plays a wind instrument or two (I haven't seen that, though).
1874 - Czech composer and violinist Josef Suk was born. He was the son-in-law of Dvorák. Grandfather of the violinist of the same name, Josef Suk, who was born in 1929.

1889 - Premiere of Wagner's Das Reingold in NYC, at the Metropolitan Opera.

1945 - Rum And Coca-Cola, by the Andrews Sisters was released.

1960 - Teen Angel, by Mark Dinning, was released.

1971 - The film Performance, starring Mick Jagger, debuted in London.

1961 - Premiere of Gunther Schuller's jazz ballet Variants in NYC.

1996 - Premiere of Richard Danielpour's Toward the Splendid City for Orchestra. New York Philharmonic, under Leonard Slatkin.
Seonaid Aitken
You see, Seonaid was one of the performers for the group called Barrage.  These folks may just be the most exciting violin group around.  More about them in a minute.

Seonaid was born in Scotland, and began playing the violin at the age of eight. She had a musical family and grew up playing the piano and being exposed to traditional Scottish music at home.  An interest in compostion came quickly, and she joined her local musical theater group as a dancer and singer.

Serious about her music, Seonaid spent two years studying at the Junior Department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.  Then she moved to London to study violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Music Honours degree.

One day at school she saw a flyer advertising auditions for the group Barrage, and she says that what the group wanted sounded just like her.  She auditioned and soon joined the group.

I asked Seonaid what her parents thought of her joining a group like Barrage after having sent their daughter to one of the most prestigous schools of music in Europe.  She said, "It was a job, they were thrilled."

But what is Barrage? Click here to see a little bit of what Barrage does.

Barrage was founded by a trio of fiddlers, and now Anthony Moore, Brian Hansen, Dean Marshall, John Crozman and Jana Wyber have gathered eleven young musicians from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States who travel the world proving that fiddle is cool. 
Fiddlers are joined by 2 percussionists a bassist and a guitarist to produce a show that has more energy and bounce than almost anything I have seen on stage, and still maintains a high musical standard.  The result is great fun for audiences of all ages, and inspiration for members of the fiddling family! Don't miss the video below.

But Barrage is not just performance!  The team has produced several books with the music from their shows.  They also arrange to give master classes to groups, so they pass on the excitement that is violin.

There is more information available on their web site which you can find at  

Seonaid has left Barrage, and is performing on her own. Recently she worked with Carnival Cruise Lines on their ships. You can see Seonaid's website and hear excerpts of her first album at .
Vagabond Tales DVD></a><img src=
The World On Stage DVD></a><img src=
The Video That
Turned Me Into a
Barrage Fan!

See the CD HERE
Every Traveler
Has a Tale:
Vagabond Tales

See the CD Here
Barrage, Volume 1
By Dean Marshall. Here's the music they play, you'll have to work out the dance steps yourself.  For Fiddle. Ensemble (mixed). Swath Publishing. Fiddle Tunes. Level: Beginning-Intermediate. Book/CD Set.
Also Available

Barrage, Volume 2
By Dean Marshall. For Fiddle. Ensemble (mixed).  Fiddle Tunes. Level: Intermediate-Advanced. Book/CD Set.

The Fiddle Club Introductory Collection Fiddle Tunes for the Beginning Violinist. From the creators of Barrage. For Fiddle. Solos. Bluegrass & Country. Level: Beginning. Book/CD Set.
Can You Guess?

We read about conductor Leonard Slatkin below.  His mother, father and brother were also musical.  Can You Guess what instruments they played?

Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer!
Did You Guess?
Leonard Slatkin's father and mother were the first volinist and cellist of the Hollywood String Quartet.  His brother, is virtuoso cellist Frederick Zlotkin!
Barrage Sheet Music
Click the Picture to Go To A Selection of Barrage Sheet Music