SHAR is excited to announce a new partnership with Associated Chamber Music Players, encouraging everyone to experience the joys of playing chamber music while enjoying special benefits from SHAR. The following blog describes one violinist’s experience with chamber music, his journey away from his violin, and back again.
The advent, or rather the evolution of the steel violin e-string over a century ago brought violinists to new heights in their playing. The stablity and thinness of a steel wire allowed for greater brilliance, intonation, and speed. However, with the loss of gut's sweetness and warmth, further refining and improving the capabilities and characteristics of steel E strings is still an endless pursuit of string makers today. More than just a simple steel wire, the full composition and manufacturing method of steel strings involves trade secrets, precious metals, and very high tolerances! The nuances of response, feel, tension, and volume make choosing the right E-string an adventageous feat for musicians today. We sat down with SHAR CEO, Charles Avsharian, to discuss E-Strings for violinists.
We’ve always loved the Children’s Music Series here at SHAR, but we recently realized that very few people outside of SHAR know much about the author of this excellent series. We came across this thread on Violinist.com about the author, Evelyn Bedient Avsharian. In the thread, the person posted the question: “Does anyone know exactly who Evelyn Avsharian is? I have used many of her books but I can't find any information about her!” We thought it was time that the violin community knew more about this remarkable person who was a violinist, teacher, wife and mother. We sat down with Evelyn Bedient Avsharian’s widower, Michael Avsharian, Jr. to ask him more about his late wife. The following blog in her memory is based on an interview we had with him.
On a Friday morning at the end of June, everyone at SHAR was saddened to hear that our master bow restorationist David Crowder had passed away after a lengthy battle with emphysema. Aaron Johnson, the Repair Shop Coordinator, shares his memories of David in this brief blog, remembering especially David's intelligence, humor, and eclectic interests. We'll miss you, David!
The end of June was a surreal time for us in the Repair Shop. Our master bow restorationist, David Crowder, passed away after a lengthy battle with emphysema. David was 75. While it may not have come as a surprise to someone objectively looking at his health condition, it still managed to catch us off guard.
Before his career in bow making began, he was a code breaker in the US Navy, and then a college professor. As I got to know him over the past couple of years, he would occasionally share one of a number of crazy stories from his past life. Over time, I learned that even though David had a rather gruff exterior, he was an incredibly interesting man who held himself to a very high standard of quality in his work. In addition to bow restoration, David also had a great love of languages, logical deduction puzzles and, oddly enough, video games. One of the biggest surprises I’ve had during my time at SHAR was when David visited me on a Saturday and we proceeded to have a lengthy discussion of Zelda, different gaming platforms, and Call of Duty. I drove home and had a genuine “You will not believe what happened today” story for my wife.
David joined our staff in 1996 after working as an independent bow maker in Pittsburgh and Nashville. For 17 years he worked servicing SHAR’s customer, consignment and high end bow work. His attention to detail and excellence in his craft will be missed. I, however, will miss his stories even more.
Hello to the SHAR faithful out there! Today marks the release of our first issue of Pizzicato, an e-zine (electronic magainze) devoted to all things strings. Click on the cover below to read the issue. Feel free to share the magazine with your friends, students, and teachers!
Today's blog is from Andy Monefeldt, the manager of SHAR's Ann Arbor retail store. Andy makes the case for visiting SHAR's retail store in Ann Arbor. Sure, everyone will continue to shop online for a long time to come; that's not going to change. But perhaps there's something to be said for SHAR's retail store – you get the same great prices and wide selection but with unmatched in-person customer service.
Until a few years ago, I was doing the majority of my Christmas shopping online. Like most people, I didn’t find myself with a lot of free time to actually go shopping. I work full-time plus at SHAR Music, I play with three community orchestras in the area, and I have a studio of bass students, so it’s rare for my day to be over by the time I punch out for the evening. This means that there's usually a rehearsal somewhere from 7:30-10 at the end of my day, or a few students coming over for lessons after 6, with serious tennis ball interaction with my dog (an Austrailan Cattle Dog) shoehorned in between everything else. With such a hectic schedule, my free moments are nothing more than sweetly singing sirens luring me into the Rocks of Procrastination. All told, I am a world-class procrastinator when it comes to things like shopping.
To celebrate SHAR's 50th Anniversary, we held a recital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Employees and friends of SHAR came out to watch their coworkers and community memebers perform their favorite pieces. The applause was hearty, the music was excellent, and everyone was in fine spirits. So that we can relive the night (and share it with you!), we edited videos of the performances and put them up on our YouTube channel. Enjoy!
One sad note: There was a performance of Johannes Brahms's Piano Quartet No. 2 in A-Major but the videographer – me! – got so wrapped up in the music he didn't notice the tape was running out. Apologies to the Brahms fans out there and the performers of that piece...
Duo for Violin and Viola in G Major K. 423, Rondo
W. A. Mozart
Three Latin American Miniatures, III
Miniatures for Viola, Clarinet, and Piano
VI. Nocturne, VII. Allegro vivace ma non troppo
Octet in E-flat Major
Allegro moderato ma con fuoco
Nocturne No. 20
Valse-Scherzo in C Major Op. 34
SHAR Apprentice Megan Fedor shares videos of the winning groups from our 2012 String Quartet Competition. Watch below!
Violinists Sho Harvey and Trevor Herman Hilker, violist Jacob Caldwell, and cellist Angelina Cicchella formed their string ensemble in the fall of 2010 as the Dexter High School String Quartet. During their first year, in May 2011, the quartet performed in the MYAF. Upon entering their senior year of high school, the members renamed their ensemble the “A Quartet.” They played the Grieg String Quartet for District S&E and went on to states in March 2012 to be nominated to MYAF for their performance of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8.
"A Quartet" has enjoyed practicing and playing together over the past two years. Each member plans to attend college in the fall of 2012. Sho plans to double major in violin performance and biochemistry at either Case Western University or U of M. Trevor will attend U of M where he will study in the honors program of the College of LSA. Jacob is planning to study philosophy at the College of Wooster. Angelina will attend the University of Pugent Sound in Tacoma, Washington to pursue a degree in cello performance.
Although this is their first time playing with each other in the Calliope Quartet, Dana Johnson, Giancarlo Latta, Nathan Carrillo, and Daniel Rothchild have played together for several years in various ensembles. They are all members of the Pioneer Ensemble, a group of Pioneer High School students who play gigs around the community.
SHAR Apprentice Megan Fedor shares videos from the second round of our 2012 String Quartet Competition. Watch below!