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TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

Sarah Chang gives the world premiere performance of Fil Eisler’s Violin Concerto For J.E. on 27 April 2019 at the University of California’s Royce Hall. The work was commissioned by the American Youth Symphony as part of the Korngold Commission Project and conducted by Carlos Izcaray
ALBERTO SANTILLAN

‘As a young violinist I wanted to play Brahms so much, but this wasn’t allowed until I was more mature. He was like forbidden fruit.’ Sarah Chang is speaking to me at a café down the road from London’s Cadogan Hall on the eve of a rare recital appearance in which she will play sonatas by Bartók, Franck and her beloved Brahms with regular duo pianist Ashley Wass. ‘I learnt the Brahms Concerto when I was around eight or nine, but nobody would programme it, as no one wants to see an eight-year-old playing Brahms! So instead I did a whole bunch of Paganini, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.’

Listening to the former child prodigy speak so matter-of-factly about performing the great Romantic concertos of the violin repertoire before she hit double figures is both fascinating and a little unsettling: fascinating, because her experience of performing with the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra bears no resemblance to the formative years of the average primary school child; unsettling, because the entirely necessary student–mentor relationship with such musical giants as Isaac Stern and Kurt Masur that characterised her early career might easily have made unfeasible the transition from child star to independently minded adult.

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About The Strad

Sarah Chang discusses her passion projects and we explore the lives of Chicago's early bow makers. Joseph Curtin examines bridges, there's a look at Brazil's classical music and Alisa Weilerstein reveals her Sentimental Work. Plus David Kim on sautillй.

Other Articles in this Issue


The Strad
That the fresh-faced and vibrant Sarah Chang has reached
JOSEPH CAMPANELLA CLEARY (Making Matters, page 78)
Letters, emails, online comments
FRONT
In these environmentally aware times, players will be conscious of the long-term impact of the strings they’re using. What are manufacturers doing to set their minds at rest?
The 2019 CITES conference concluded with a significant
Violinist Hilary Hahn has chosen the Philadelphia-based
Less is more in this study of transparency and texture
An unusual instrument in a traditional disguise
The British violinist on the changing landscape of string playing and what modern instruments can offer top players
In the years since Gregor Piatigorsky first set out to boost the cello’s profile, the instrument has seen a massive growth in popularity, particularly through the efforts of crossover artists, says Yoshika Masuda
At the 13th Banff International String Quartet Competition ten young ensembles, their members all under 35 years of age, rose to the challenge of performing a vast amount of wide-ranging repertoire, reports Laurinel Owen
FEATURES
Since her professional debut almost 30 years ago, Sarah Chang has maintained a glittering solo performing and recording career. But, as she tells Charlotte Smith, her more recent desire to take on ‘passion projects’ has led to fulfilling chamber and contemporary collaborations
The New York String Orchestra Seminar, one of America’s first orchestral training programmes for young musicians, celebrated its 50th anniversary in December 2018. Bruce Hodges attended rehearsals and concerts of the landmark season, and looks ahead to the ensemble’s December 2019 edition
Despite achieving a high level of quality, the American bow makers of the early 20th century have languished in obscurity – until now. Raphael Gold explores the lives of Frank Kovanda, Ernst Lohberg and Anders Halvarson, who all learnt their craft in the Chicago workshop of William Lewis & Son
For many classical enthusiasts Brazilian music can be summed up in the folk-inspired compositions of Villa-Lobos. Naxos’s multivolume series The Music of Brazil is set to broaden awareness, beginning with several 19th- and 20th-century composers whose string and orchestral works at once mirrored and defied their country’s colonial history, writes Peter Quantrill
In the second of two articles on set-up, Joseph Curtin investigates the acoustical role of the violin bridge and the interconnected relationships between mass, frequency and resonance
REGULARS
A close look at the work of great and unusual makers
A method that unites all three parts of the making process, for a more coherent and efficient way of working
A peek into lutherie workshops around the world
Points of interest to violin and bow makers
Nils Mönkemeyer looks at how to tackle the challenges in the first movement of this important audition piece with style, panache and calm
Tips to help you master a bow stroke vital for making a good impression at any orchestral audition
NEW ENHANCED SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGES AVAILABLE NOW
THIS MONTH’S RECOMMENDED RECORDINGS Our pick of the
BACH Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin
Marie Hall, seen here with her 1709 Stradivari, speaks exclusively to The Strad following a successful tour of South Africa
The climactic scene between Don Giovanni and his father the Commendatore was the American cellist’s bedtime listening for years – and has stayed with her for even longer