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Practical Passion: How an Independent Artist Took Charge of His Own Career

Posted by Jeremy Cohen on Jun 4, 2018 8:34:36 AM

Practical Passion: How an Independent Artist Took Charge of His Own Career

 

 “. . . as much as I know what lights me up inside, I also know that the future will look different from what I plan.” With these words, violinist Rebecca Fischer offered us a glimpse of the shape shifting that is an integral part of an artistic calling. Her blog article, “Courage: Starting Fresh, Again and Again”, part of “SHAR’s Lives of Artists” series, goes on to describe that new beginnings sometimes require something old to end.

 

Violinist Jeremy Cohen knows a thing or two about new beginnings. Studying with Itzhak Perlman, performing solos with symphony orchestras and extensive work with chamber ensembles provided Jeremy with the solid foundation necessary to enjoy a fruitful traditional orchestral or conservatory career. But the music of Jeremy’s childhood neighborhood – jazz, Tango, Latin music – called to him, and he just couldn’t abandon it. Fortunately, Jeremy’s skills enabled him to have plenty of work, including live performances, extensive film and television work, and touring as concertmaster with major artists. All this was to change for most independent artists upon the arrival of the internet, smartphones and Netflix, all competing with live music. For Jeremy Cohen, there was no choice except to become a champion . . .

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Topics: Violin, Composers, Ensemble Playing, Flexible Ensembes, String Quartet, The Lives of Artists... In Their Own Words, Music Careers

COURAGE: STARTING FRESH, AGAIN AND AGAIN

Posted by Rebecca Fischer on Mar 5, 2018 4:15:34 PM

Last month, writing for SHAR’s blog series, “The Lives of Artists . . . In Their Own Words”, Formosa Quartet violinist Jasmine Lin explained that being open to an unclear future is what enabled four individuals to coalesce into one ensemble fifteen years ago. Trusting their own intuitions, and each other’s, has allowed them to continually renew themselves artistically, engaging deeply with their audience in the process.

But sometimes a change is needed. Artists are explorers at heart, and since they trust their own intuitions, they develop the courage to venture out. This is not the same as fearlessness. It’s quite the opposite: It’s venturing into the unknown despite their fear. For violinist Rebecca Fischer, that meant giving up something that she still loves and that still brings her joy, as her beloved Chiara Quartet lovingly disbands after 25 years together. As Rebecca passionately puts it in her blog article, “What I want to do in this next stage of my life is both clear and completely open to me.” And that’s how “The Afield” was born . . .

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Topics: Ensemble Playing, Self-Improvement, motivation, The Lives of Artists... In Their Own Words, Music Careers

What Does It Take to Be A 21st Century Musician? A Discussion With Formosa Quartet

Posted by James Engman on Feb 16, 2018 3:11:53 PM

About a decade ago, perhaps in a masterclass during my undergrad as a violin performance major, I recall the discussion of what was required to be a violinist in the 21st Century. Something about the very wide range of technique needed to perform today's expansive repertoire and how being able to "do it all" these days, from baroque to contemporary, is nearly impossible... This vague recollection came back to me upon hearing the title of a discussion led by the Formosa Quartet entitled "What Does It Take To Be A 21st Century Musician?" Only ten years later, there was a lot less talk of technique and repertoire, and much more about social media, local and global communities, and crowd funding! 

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Topics: String Quartet, The Lives of Artists... In Their Own Words, Music Careers, Social Media

From Rat Meat to Crystal Springs: 15 Years of Formosa Quartet

Posted by Jasmine Lin on Feb 6, 2018 5:13:32 PM

Last month, in the inaugural article for SHAR's blog series, "The Lives of Artists . . . In Their Own Words", New York City concert violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins explained how her career blossomed when she decided to "follow her bliss". Once Kelly experienced this epiphany, doors started to open for her. Kelly's natural openness to new experiences and opportunities enabled her to have this realization.

That openness is a hallmark of artists. In this same spirit, Formosa Quartet violinist Jasmine Lin explains how her ensemble emerged 15 years ago. Without any goal except to enjoy their upcoming concert series, a group of friends was able to create and nurture something special and sustaining. 15 years later, Formosa Quartet is widely acknowledged as one of the world's finest ensembles. Trusting their intuition is what started them on this path. Today, they generously share the lessons they've learned, focusing not just on offering a great performance, but also on stewarding great music for the next generation.

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Topics: String Quartet, The Lives of Artists... In Their Own Words, Music Careers

Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Following Her Bliss

Posted by Kelly Hall-Tompkins on Jan 25, 2018 10:58:58 AM

New York City concert violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, by any measure, enjoys a fulfilling and rewarding career. From her busy solo touring schedule, to serving as concertmaster for some of Broadway’s biggest shows, to her recording work, including her own arrangements, to her humanitarian work, Kelly’s career as a professional musician is completely integrated into every facet of her life. But it wasn’t this way until she decided to pursue her own vision and voice. And that’s how Kelly became the artist that she is today.

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Topics: Violin, The Lives of Artists... In Their Own Words, Music Careers

The Lives of Artists . . . In Their Own Words

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Jan 25, 2018 10:57:25 AM

Years of lessons. Constant practice. Starting a new etude book and moving up to the next level. Running to rehearsals. Auditions. Performing on stage. Playing with others. The sacrifice and toil of gaining mastery on your instrument can seem daunting and off-putting. Is it worth it? Where is it all going? Why do it?

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Topics: The Lives of Artists... In Their Own Words, Music Careers

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