Nathan Cole: Concertmaster of the LA Phil

Any violinist who has ever googled audition advice on orchestral excerpts, has undoubtedly watched Nathan Cole's tutorials on orchestral auditions. Nathan Cole, First Associate Concertmaster of the LA Phil, truly is a marvelous artist and educator. He has performed with most major orchestras in the US, including Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Houston, Ottawa, Seattle, and Oregon Symphony orchestras. Prior to LA Phil, Nathan was a member of the Chicago Symphony and Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In addition to teaching both at Colburn, USC and Azusa Pacific University, Nate maintains an active blog, www.natesviolin.com, in which he blogs about his musical experiences, and offers free tutorials on orchestral excerpts. He recently started a podcast with his wife Akiko Taramuto (Assistant Concertmaster for the LAPhil) called "Stand Partners for Life, which offers a weekly “inside look” at the symphony life.

In our interview, I asked him questions about the future of music, but also questions pertaining to the LA Phil, and how it has become a musical hallmark of Los Angeles.

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Mark Rabideau: FOUNDER OF THE 21CM IniTIATIVE, DEPAUW UNIVERSITY

Mark Rabideau is a cultural entrepreneur, busy re-imagining how we must prepare musicians to thrive within the shifting marketplace and cultural landscape of the contemporary moment. He is founder of the 21 CM Symposium at DePauw university, and his hobby is collecting creative people. 

Here's a link to the 21 CM Symposium. 

http://21cm.org/

The 21CM talks about what it means to be a musician in the 21st century. In my opinion, Mark Rabideau seems like the Guardian angel of conservatory graduates who are flailing to find meaning, and fulfilling work after graduation. 

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Lydia Sewell
Kate Sheeran: Provost and Dean of the San Franciso Conservatory

Early in January of this year, I interviewed Kate Sheeran. Since the majority of the people I've interviewed thus far have been men,  I wanted to hear a female administrator and educator's perspective on the future of classical music and music education. Kate Sheeran is not only Provost and Dean for the San Francisco Conservatory, but an accomplished performer in her own right.  She has performed with such cutting-edge ensembles as the Wordless Music Orchestra and Alarm Will Sound and has recorded for the Tzadik, Warp, New Amsterdam and Nonesuch labels, among others. Sheeran has served on the horn faculty at Mannes Prep, Dickinson College, Susquehanna University and Bucknell University. She earned a B.M., Performer’s Certificate and Certificate in Arts Leadership from the Eastman School of Music and an M.M. from the Yale School of Music. 

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Aaron Dworkin: Founder of The Sphinx Organization

Last fall, I spoke with Aaron Dworkin, who, at that time was Dean for the University of Michigan's College of Fine Arts. Though he has since stepped down from this position, Aaron Dworkin has still maintained an active hand in the cultivation of 21st century musicians. Dworkin is founder of The Sphinx Organization, a Detroit-based national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Sphinx was founded by Dworkin while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. Its primary aim is to to address the stark under-representation of people of color in classical music.

Though I did not ask Mr. Dworkin as many questions as I would have liked about Sphinx, I did ask him his thoughts about concert collaboration and presentation, as well as how millennial musicians should prepare for a career in music. 

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Lydia Sewell
Steve Hackman: Creator of Fuse concerts

Last March, I interviewed Steve Hackman, Creative Director of FUSE Concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony. These FUSE concerts are truly different than any other "Classical" concert experience I have attended. In fact, the whole point is that these concerts are not "Classical" but rather a completely new genre of music. Featuring the music of both Tchaikovsky and Drake, Hackman beautifully fuses two seemingly opposite musical genres, and presents a concert experience that forces its audience to rethink their compartmentalization of musical genres. 

In this interview, I ask Hackman questions regarding his take on the future of symphony orchestras and classical music, and his thoughts on the curriculum for music conservatories in the US.

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Tracy Silverman  

Tracy, like many others went on to study classical violin at Juilliard. But as a kid who grew up in the 1970’s with Rock’n’Roll, Tracy wanted to reflect the sound of his musical culture, which at that time, was the electric guitar. So, he created his own electric violin with Mark Wood, and became an electric violin soloist. In this interview, he talks about how he views classical music now, shares his thoughts on music education, and speaks about his electric violin gear.

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Lydia SewellComment
Mike Block: The Ideal Musician of the 21st Century

Last year, I interviewed Mike Block, a pioneering cellist who has performed in unlikely venues, worked with YoYo Ma, and revolutionized the way cello is performed. I wanted to know how he went from studying at Juilliard as a classically trained musician to becoming a musical pioneer known for challenging the classical status quo. 

A bit about Mike:

MIKE BLOCK is a pioneering multi-style cellist, singer, composer, and educator, hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the "ideal musician of the 21st-Century", and acclaimed by the NY Times for his "vital rich-hued solo playing". While still studying at the Juilliard School, Mike joined Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, with which he has toured extensively throughout the world, and won a 2017 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. Mike is also an active recording artist of original material, folk music, cross-cultural collaborations, and he has an ongoing project to record all of the Bach cello suites in acoustically glorious bathrooms of famous concert halls, via BachInTheBathroom.com. As one of the first wave of cellists to adopt a strap in order to stand and move while playing, Mike was the first standing cellist to perform at Carnegie Hall, using a cello strap of his own design, called the Block Strap, a performance which the NY Times called "Breathless ... Half dance, half dare." 

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Gregory Sandow: Music critic, Consultant, & composer

Not too long ago, I interviewed Greg Sandow--a complete guru on the future of classical music. His blog speaks to much of what I feel lacks in the classical music world, and he has decades of music criticism and journalism to back up his opinion (link to his blog attached at the bottom of the page).

A composer, music critic and consultant, Greg Sandow, teaches at Juilliard, where he's a member of the Graduate Studies Faculty. He holds a Masters in Composition from Yale, has successfully composed and performed (though not all at the same time) four operas, and frequently guest lectures at music conservatories. With decades of classical music criticism behind him, he seems to be one of the few individuals who can criticize the current state of classical music with authority.

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Lydia SewellComment