Koja Jens Lochmann of Germany took first prize
at the Triennale for his violin.
Violins Compete in Cremona
The Triennale once again graced the exhibition halls of Cremona in October 2000. This year's Ninth International competition was judged by jury president Charles Beare, Roland Baumgartner, Hieronymus Kostler, David Gusset, Jean-Christophe Graff, Primo Pistoni, and musicians Rocco Filippini, Danilo Rossi, Thomas Martin, Giulio Franzetti, and Angelo Stefanato.
Surprisingly, only 70 instruments made it to the finals out of the 266 submitted, and first prize was awarded to Kolja Jens Lochmann of Germany. The first-place winner for viola was Marcus Klimke (of Germany, now living in France); the cello winner was Kolja Jens Lochmann. Second prizes went to Makela Jaakko (of Finland) for violin, Elisabeth Rowe (of England) for viola, and Dorit Seilacher (of Germany). Third prizes went to Hungarian Tibor Semmelweiss for violin and to Australian Peter Goodfellow for viola. It became a point of much contention and dialogue that the jurors awarded a prize to only one Cremonese violin maker, Elio Severgnini, who received the Simone Fernando Sacconi Award for makers under 30 (for a violin). Throughout the summer, and the exhibition, polemics went on in the local and national papers. Reports of unregistered luthiers and controversery over the lack of Cremonese receiving awards created a furor among the violinmaking community.
To answer the critiques, Consorzio Liutai & Archettai announced its decision to produce a specific certificate of guarantee, entitled "Cremona Liuteria," for instruments made in Cremona, to be bestowed after strict selection on makers registered with the Chamber of Commerce and exercising their craft in the town or area of Cremona. For more information, go to www.cremonliuteria.it or www.cremonaviolins.com.
Despite the furor, visitors to the city agreed on the beauty of the antique instruments exhibited in the Civic Museum—a real treat for makers and music lovers as well. The exhibition took place September 29–October 23, 2000. A catalog of all the instruments exhibited is available from Consorzio Liutai & Archettai (e-mail: email@example.com).
Occurring simultaneously was the annual Mondomusica tradeshow, held over the weekend of October 13. Exhibitors offered instruments, accessories, wood, publications, strings, bridges, and cases. There was also an exhibition of contemporary instruments by members of Consorzio Liutai & Archettai "Antonio Stradivari" Cremona in Palazzo Barbò, as well as concerts performed by Viktoria Mullova and her ensemble for the opening of the Trienniale on September 30 and by I Solisti Italiani on October 7, performed on instruments that won Trienniale prizes in previous years.
For more information or to learn about plans for the 2001 Mondomusica and the 2003 Triennale, write to Ente Triennale Internazionale degli Strumenti ad Arco, Corso Matteotti 17, 26100 Cremona; phone or fax (39) 0372-21454; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alleviating Allergies and Ailments
Playing a stringed instrument often comes with frustrating physical side effects. While pain and nerve discomfort are common complaints, many players suffer silently with allergies. One relatively common source of trouble is an allergy to nickel, the metal used for fittings on most chin rests. Skin irritation can escalate to the point of making playing impossible. I have heard of afflicted players attempting to find a solution with cloths and sponges as buffers, even coating the metal with nail polish—none was very successful.
But at last, there's hope. Wittner GmbH (PO Box 1464, D-88308 Isny, Germany;  7562-7040; fax  7562-70428) has developed a chin rest made from composite materials that has been proven through independent studies to be entirely non-allergenic. The ergonomically designed chin rest is constructed so that there is no skin contact with any of the fittings or screws: the arms connecting the chin rest to the instrument fit inside the rest, creating a smooth, screw-free exterior. Cork at the base of the rest and at the bottom of each arm provides scratch-free protection, and the only two screws I found—one in each arm to adjust the length—are completely encased, making contact with the player's neck or chin impossible. The chin rest was very easy to put together and affix to my instrument, and felt comfortable and secure. (Violin: $16.95; Viola: $18.50)
—Heather K. Scott
The Endpin Stops Here
A small, lightweight, convenient solution to the forever-slipping cello endpin may be a new device from Bonacchi Musicherie ( www.musicherie.it) called the Iojo, presumably for its resemblance to a yo-yo. This small (5.5-cm. by 2-cm.) cello stop could easily be carried in a pants pocket or the smallest handbag. It works on the principle of tension. Two silver outer rings, which hug the black, textured, Oreo cookie–like stop, lift off to reveal two strings wound around the core. The strings are looped through the silver rings and attached to the rubber stop. The rings fit under the front legs of the cellist's chair; the attached string loops form a triangle, keeping the rubber stop at a set distance from the chair.
Adjusting the distance from the cello stop to the chair is easy and can be extended or reduced. And putting the stop back together is as easy as winding a yo-yo.
Basso Performance Chair
A versatile stool from Concert Designs, the Basso Performance bass chair is, in a word, sturdy. The chair is built around a steel base rod with an anti-rotational device, ensuring stability. A gas-shock mechanism within the base rod adjusts the height of the chair from 27 to 32 inches; two additional inches are available for extreme extensions. To compensate for the fact that, as in most chairs, there is a small amount of "give" when sitting and rising, Concert Designs has installed a special lock collar to reduce movement. An adjustable circular foot ring is also part of the chair's design.
Basso Performance chairs are available in three seat designs: round (15-inch diameter), cutaway (15 inches with a portion cut from the right side), and oval (19 by 14 inches). For more information, visit www.concertdesign.com or call (800) 657-9909.
Free and Easy Classical Downloads
Looking to expand your music library, but limited by budget concerns? MusicMaker.com ( www.musicmaker.com) offers more than 60,000 licensed classical-music tracks for download and custom-created CD production. Releases from Naxos, Koch, Newport Classics, Platinum, AVC, Nimbu, and Vox are all available. The site also boasts some rare Soviet Russia recordings from the Pipeline label (including hard-to-find concerts of Sviatoslav Richter and Eugene Ormandy).
Visitors to the site are given eight different musical genres to choose from. The classical music section allows you to browse through styles including opera, orchestral, and soloists, to name a few. There's also information on top artists and recordings, and you can listen to the editors' favorite compilation CDs. Downloading tracks is relatively easy (PC users should use the right-click button on the mouse for the safest, fastest download), and most MP3 and Real Audio software will play the tracks. Unfortunately, since most of the classical tracks are quite long, they take up a good bit of space on a hard drive—for example, Ravel's Bolero uses 13 MG of disk space to fit about 13 minutes of music.
To save on downloading time and disk space, you may choose to purchase a customized CD. The cost is reasonable (for example, a 16-track CD cost $22.15), and you can choose from several shipping methods. The resulting CD will contain exactly the pieces you want, in any combination.
Market-related news items and information on new products, from the U.S. or abroad, are always welcome. Please mail to Heather K. Scott, Market Report, Strings, PO Box 767, San Anselmo, CA 94979; fax to (415) 485-0831; or e-mail to Heather@stringletter.com.
This article, "Market Report," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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