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premiere

Art of the Violin

 

 for Four Violins 
(see Art of the Recorder)

First composed in three movements,1975;
first and last movements recomposed June 19-24, 2004;
middle movement replaced February 2013
Duration: about 10 minutes

Violin Full Score, PDF         Violin parts
Recording from Feb. 18, 2014 concert, at Meredith College, Raleigh NC
Eric Pr
itchard, Roman Lin, Jenny Li, Harish Eswaran, violins

video (YouTube)

I. Just For Fun

    Root'n Toot'n     [3:25]    MP3   


II. Elegy
for Izabela
     Adagio           
[3:16]   
MP3    

 
III. An Original Traditional Melody

      Allegro Jigolo [3:01]      MP3   

     

In 1975 I wrote a recorder quartet for my father, Heber Robinson, who was an enthusiastic recorder player with a group at the local Unitarian-Universalist Church in Peabody, Massachusetts. However, the work was too contemporary for the other performers, and the piece was never played.

          In hopes of finding other performance opportunities, I wrote a large number of arrangements for other instruments; Art of the Violin, Art of the Flute, Art of the Double Reed, and Art of the Saxophone. However none found a happy home. (Part of the gag—forgive me for explaining a joke—was that this was an experiment in music that could be played by any instruments that fit the range, after suitable transposition and modification of phrasing or bowing. So it really isn’t the Art of any specific Instrument.)

          In 2004 I decided that the piece must be at fault, and I rewrote the first and last movements from scratch, keeping nothing from the originals. I made new arrangements for four flutes and four violins as before, Performers continued to shy away; the middle movement was one of the most atonal I had ever written, slow and very short (only one minute) and titled “So You Think I’m Too Old-Fashioned”. However even with this kind of title, and the fact that it represented the usual reaction to my music by my fellow composers, no one liked it.

          Thus I was motivated by 38 years of rejection to throw out the troublesome middle movement and write a new one. On February 4, 2013, a fine local violinist, Izabela Spiewak, who had played on the memorial concert for my sister in 2010, died of leukemia. This new middle movement is an elegy in her memory.

          I have made other arrangements for four flutes, four bassoons, and viola and three cellos. The violin version is the only one yet performed (February 18, 2014). I will probably continue to make such arrangements until someone stops me, or I retire from composition.

Musician Biographies

 
Harish Eswaran is a junior at Duke University, majoring in biology and music. His principal teachers at Duke have been Eric Pritchard and Claudia Warburg. Harish has performed as a concerto soloist with the Bay Area Youth Symphony and Clear Lake High School Orchestra and is a first violinist with the Duke Symphony Orchestra. Harish hails from Houston, Texas and was a four year member of the Texas Music Educators Association All –State Orchestras. He intends to apply to medical school following graduation.
 
Jenny (Jingwei) Li is a sophomore from Hershey, Pennsylvania pursuing a double major in global health and sociology.  Last March, as the winner of the annual concerto competition, Jenny performed the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Duke Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her personal study of violin with Eric Pritchard, Jenny is currently a member of Duke Music Tutors, Arts and Health, and the Duke Symphony Orchestra. When she is not immersed in her musical activities, Jenny can usually be found studying or napping inside the Duke University libraries, musing over books on societal flaws, tutoring in the Duke Writing Studio, conducting cancer research, volunteering in the Duke hospital with young patients, planning medical missions to underserved communities, or teaching elementary school students about health.
 
Roman Lin is a violinist and pianist from Florence, SC who plans to major in Chemistry and Music. He had studied violin for 13 years with teachers Eric Pritchard and Sherry Woods. As a sophomore, Roman is a member of the Duke Symphony Orchestra, with which he performed the Rondo from Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 at a benefit concert last year in Beaufort, SC. He had also performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Tar River Orchestra. In his free time, Roman enjoys playing chamber music and reading about science. 
 
Eric Pritchard, violinist, has been a member of Ciompi Quartet since 1995 and was formerly the first violinist of the Alexander and Oxford Quartets. Mr. Pritchard has taught at Miami University, San Francisco State University, City University of New York and the North Carolina School of the Arts. He was winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Award in Violin as well as the first-prize winner at the Portsmouth (England) International String Quartet Competition and the Coleman and Fischoff national chamber music competitions. He has performed widely as a recitalist and as soloist with the Boston Pops and orchestras in Europe and South America. His major teachers were Eric Rosenblith, Josef Gingold, Ivan Galamian and Isadore Tinkleman and he holds degrees from Indiana University and the Juilliard School. He has performed many works by Bill Robinson since 2006.