- Series: Detroit Monographs in Musicology (Book 51)
- Paperback: 580 pages
- Publisher: Harmonie Park Press; Reprint edition (December 31, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0899901395
- ISBN-13: 978-0899901398
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.8 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,399,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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America's Concertmasters (Detroit Monographs in Musicology/Studies in Music, No. 51) Reprint Edition
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After a brief prologue explaining the concertmaster selection and interview process, and an excellent introduction of how the concertmaster role evolved, Heiles takes us on a wonderful journey exploring the lives of concertmasters from ten of the major performing orchestras in North America. Among the issues Heiles seeks to probe are the traits that distinguish concertmasters from section players and soloists, the musical training concertmasters receive, how power is shared between conductor and concertmaster, how authority develops between concertmaster and section players, the range of musical interests today's concertmasters have and whether their musical activities differ from their predecessors, and their tips for those aspiring to orchestral careers. ... this book really should be on the required list for every performance major (string players especially) at the undergraduate and graduate levels of learning. It will give much understanding to the discipline and fortitude it takes to become a great player, and most important, a great leader. --Nola Campbell, NOTES, September 2008
About the Author
Anne Mischakoff Heiles has been on the faculties of the University of the Pacific, Northwestern University, California State University at Fresno, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, teaching viola and music history. She is the author of Khandoshkin and the Beginning of Russian String Music (UMI Press, 1983), Mischa Mischakoff: Journeys of a Concertmaster (Harmonie Park Press, 2006), and many articles.
Top customer reviews
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Anne Mischakoff Heiles has already made her penmanship known in two books. I am not familiar at all (yet) with the earlier "Khandoshkin and the beginning of Russian string music," but I did read her previous book, a biography of her father, and I was already impressed. Writing a biography of a dear family member can prove a tricky business, as it is easy to give in to lachrymose recollections which may seem relevant to the author, but not so much so to the emotionally uninvolved reader. Far from falling into that trap, the author has offered a never hagiographic, always well-argued, factual vision of who her father was for the world of music, rather than for herself. This other excellent book - not the one I am reviewing here, but the one at
- was, if anything, at least matched by the new work, America's Concertmasters. A tremendous amount of first-quality research has gone into this op, and the writing is, as within the Mischakoff bio, both classy and easy to follow. I really don't believe we need the thirtieth biography of Toscanini (or the one thousandth biography of Wagner) anytime soon, but this book did truly fill a gap yearning to be filled.
Of course, Mischa Mischakoff's imposing figure appears again, as it should, in chapters dedicated to orchestras he served in - including New York, Philadelphia, Detroit (NBC doesn't have a separate chapter) -, but as part of a more intricate tree of illustrious concertmasters, many of whom of European origin.
The book combines in a great way never irrelevant, often charming bits of trivia and a lot of substance regarding the life meaning and the professional challenges a concertmaster strives for and meets. Not only aspiring concertmasters, but also (or especially) many conductors could learn a great amount of professionally and ethically valuable things from Anne Mischakoff-Heiles' book.
While the author lets mostly the voices of the musicians speak through her writing, the patient reader will be rewarded, among others, with an initial essay on the forming of the concertmaster concept, going back to Bach and Gluck's time, as well as an "Afterword - Paradox of the Concertmaster Position," a well thought essay on the historical consistencies and the concurrent historical changes which, to a great extent, have reduced the importance of the concertmaster in modern orchestras, without annihilating the essence of their vocation.
Appendixes include a fascinating (not surprisingly, heavy on Stradivarius gems) list of violins famous concertmasters used, and a list of musical premieres specific concertmasters have been involved in.
Highly recommended, a one-of-a-kind book.
Other valuable aspects are the many descriptions by the concertmasters of lesser known but worthwhile solo violin repertoire and new composers to watch; accounts of which conductors led which orchestras and what it is like to play under them; and of course who was concertmaster when. The astute notetaker can compile a valuable annotated repertory list and a great list for choosing CDs based on comparing the sounds different conductors get from essentially the same orchestra, how orchestras differ with the same conductor, and comparing concertmasters.
I enthusiastically recommend this book!
Deserves a place in every music lover's library.