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SCMS: Classical Conversation Podcast
13 minutes | May 5, 2021
#89: Jonathan Vinocour, Part I - 2021 Winter Festival
In Part 1 of our conversation with violist and SCMS Festival Artist Jonathan Vinocour, principal of the San Francisco Symphony, tells the story of how he came to the viola after false starts as a cellist and drummer. From the vantage point of a viola in the middle of the symphony orchestra, the violist basks in the glorious melodies, harmonies, and colors of the instruments that surround it.
11 minutes | May 5, 2021
#90: Jonathan Vinocour, Part II - 2021 Winter Festival
As a young violist just out of the New England Conservatory, Jonathan Vinocour was recruited to play a short stint as first chair viola for one of the world’s legendary orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus. After an awkward misunderstanding at the first rehearsal, he went on to lead the Leipzig viola section, discovering as he did so, how this revered ensemble created a warm and sweet sound setting it apart from any other orchestra in the world.
14 minutes | May 5, 2021
#91: Jonathan Vinocour, Part III - 2021 Winter Festival
The conclusion of our conversation with violist Jonathan Vinocour begins by asking the question: what difference does the design of backstage area make to musicians and ensembles? Reflecting on the playing he’s done around the world, Vinocour ponders how backstage design affects the interaction and even bonding among members of a symphony orchestra. He believes the newly opened SCMS Center for Chamber Music in downtown Seattle is the ideal location and design for musicians and audiences to listen, perform, socialize, and build community around the performance of chamber music at the highest level.
14 minutes | Apr 6, 2020
#86: Jennifer Frautschi, Part I - 2021 Winter Festival
Violinist and SCMS Festival Artist Jennifer Frautschi, talks about the pandemic's impact on her personal priorities and her musical practice. The demands of raising a young daughter have taken on a new urgency. Meanwhile, playing fewer concerts allows her to think in greater detail than ever before, about every note she plays, and to ponder the deeper meaning behind her music making.
18 minutes | Apr 6, 2020
#87: Jennifer Frautschi, Part II - 2021 Winter Festival
Part 2 of our conversation with violinist and SCMS Festival Artist Jennifer Frautschi continues with a discussion of her teaching. She speaks about her priorities when working with students, and her belief that non-musicians and those outside of the classical world have important insights about approaching the classical tradition with fresh perspective.
16 minutes | Apr 6, 2020
#88: Jennifer Frautschi, Part III - 2021 Winter Festival
The final part of our conversation with SCMS Festival Artist and violinist Jennifer Frautschi focuses on performing contemporary music. She believes performing new works helps "keep music alive." In addition, you cannot ask Beethoven questions about tempo, articulation, and interpretation, whereas modern composers are readily available for consult via email or text. .
12 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
#83: Jun Iwasaki, Part I - 2021 Winter Festival
Seattle Chamber Music Society artist Jun Iwasaki, violin, first visited Seattle as a toddler when his father, cellist Ko Iwasaki, played in the early years of SCMS Summer Festivals in the 1980s. In 2021, Jun and his wife welcomed their second child just days before Jun came to Seattle to play in the SCMS 2021 Online Winter Festival. In Part 1 of our conversation with Jun, he shares more stories of his childhood---including how his bedtime lullabies were the sounds of his cellist father and pianist mother practicing together.
13 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
#84: Jun Iwasaki, Part II - 2021 Winter Festival
Violinist Jun Iwasaki is the concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and held the same position in the Oregon Symphony prior to that. In Part 2 of our conversation, Jun talks about the importance of physical presence and body language in the role of concertmaster. It’s a skill that is especially useful in the era of pandemic concerts. Masked musicians need those exaggerated gestures and animated body language from their musical leaders.
11 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
#85: Jun Iwasaki, Part III - 2021 Winter Festival
Time with his wife and two young children, learning to bake bread, and discovering audio and video production skills, have been pandemic projects of Seattle Chamber Music Society violinist Jun Iwasaki. In Part 3 of our podcast conversation, Jun talks about the positive impact that time with family has had during the global pandemic. He discusses how his newly honed production skills will serve him well as live concerts come back and musicians adapt to a post-pandemic world.
11 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
#80: Ani Aznavoorian, Part I - 2020 Summer Festival
Part 1 of our conversation with cellist Ani Aznavoorian, recorded at the new SCMS Center for Chamber Music in downtown Seattle. Ani talks about how her father left an unsatisfying job as a chemist to retrain for a career as a string instrument builder. She performs on a cello he built for her. Ani also shares stories of her mother’s dedication as a Suzuki parent and reflects on how the city of Chicago provided a rich musical atmosphere for an aspiring cellist.
12 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
#81: Ani Aznavoorian, Part II - 2020 Summer Festival
Ani Aznavoorian began playing the cello at age 3 with one of America’s most beloved teachers in the Suzuki Method of musical instruction. In part 2 of our conversation with her, Ani talks about how Gilda Barston created an atmosphere of joyful engagement and community among her young students in Chicago. Ani learned through her own experience as a professor of cello that skilled early childhood teachers are the unsung heroes of music education.
14 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
#82: Ani Aznavoorian, Part III - 2020 Summer Festival
In part 3 of our conversation, cellist Ani Aznavoorian talks about the despair she felt when the pandemic forced cancellation of so many performances, and how playing solo Bach on the patio of her Santa Barbara, California apartment was a profoundly healing experience. Ani shares how her embrace of new technologies is part of her new resolve to make music despite difficult circumstances.
15 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
#77: Orion Weiss, Part I - 2020 Summer Festival
Part 1 of our conversation with pianist Orion Weiss was recorded at the new SCMS Center for Chamber Music in downtown Seattle. Orion talks about how an international concert artist like himself adjusts to life during a global pandemic and how he has used the time away from the concert circuit to learn new works including Bach's “Goldberg Variations” and the hyper-virtuosic “Islamey” by Mily Balakirev.
14 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
#78: Orion Weiss, Part II - 2020 Summer Festival
During the regular concert season pianist Orion Weiss plays concertos with major orchestras. In part 2 of our conversation, he talks about the different “colors of adrenaline” he experienced early in his career when he was called on short notice to perform in place of prominent orchestral soloists who had taken ill. Orion also discusses how working with a therapist helped him learn to fall back in love with the Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto.
13 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
#79: Orion Weiss, Part III - 2020 Summer Festival
In the final part of our conversation with pianist Orion Weiss, he discusses an upcoming album featuring pieces dealing with grief and loss. Ravel honored friends lost in World War I in “Le Tombeau De Couperin.” Shostakovich reflects on a teacher lost in the wake of the Siege of Leningrad” and Brahms captures his mentor Robert Schumann’s fragile psyche in Brahms’ set of “Variations on a Theme of Schumann.”
12 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
#76: Ronald Thomas, Part III - 2020 Summer Festival
In the final part of our conversation with cellist Ronald Thomas, he talks about his “quarantine project” in the months since COVID 19 interrupted concert life around the world. Ron has recently composed his own second cello part to accompany the six solo cello suites of JS Bach. He explains how this second voice provides a powerful teaching tool for the beloved suites.
13 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
#75: Ronald Thomas, Part II - 2020 Summer Festival
In Part 2 of our conversation with cellist Ronald Thomas, we speak about the 4 decades that he has performed at SCMS, and how he has touched audiences with his beautifully refined sound on the cello. He speaks about a lifelong fascination with sound production, stemming from his close listening and analysis of symphonic recordings.
14 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
#74: Ronald Thomas, Part I - 2020 Summer Festival
In our first ever podcast from the new SCMS Center for Chamber Music in downtown Seattle, Ronald Thomas remembers his friend Toby Saks, fellow cellist and founder of the SCMS festival in the early 1980s. Her legacy is felt strongly throughout the new facility.
18 minutes | May 5, 2020
#73: Andrew Wan, Part III - 2020 Winter Festival
Violinist Andrew Wan plays concertmaster in one of North America’s most admired ensembles, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. In Part 3 of our latest Classical Conversation Podcast from the SCMS Winter Festival 2020, Andrew talks about how learning to follow the beat pattern of the orchestra’s conductor was a humbling experience.
19 minutes | May 5, 2020
#72: Andrew Wan, Part II - 2020 Winter Festival
In Part 2 of our discussion with violinist Andrew Wan, he talks about mastering the delicate art of “pushing back.” Andrew performs with the renowned New Orford String Quartet. The members of the Canadian quartet are like family, but they are also first chair players of great orchestras, each accustomed to getting his own way.
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