Siskiyou Violins to Play at Britt Performance Garden Saturday, July 29


The award-winning Siskiyou Violins are scheduled to play on the Performance Garden Stage Saturday, July 29th at 6:15pm. They will be performing a variety of repertoire including classical, fiddle and jazz. Come hear a sweet, professional sound from sweet-faced, talented students.

The main attraction will be the Britt Orchestra
Voyage of Discovery Concert featuring violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley

JOHANNES BRAHMS: Violin Concerto in D Major
JEAN SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major

TICKETS: Reserved $49 | Lawn $25 | Child/Student Lawn $10
GATES OPEN: @ 5:45 Early Entry | 6:00 General Public
PRE-CONCERT TALK: 7:00 p.m. in the Performance Garden

Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra and Siskiyou Violins Perform Vivaldi, June 26

PACO16_OSFUnder the direction of Benjamin Simon, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) will perform on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Allen Elizabethan Theatre stage in Ashland.

The concert program features renowned cellist and PACO alumnus Eric Gaenslen playing Suites for Cello and String Orchestra by California composer Lou Harrison and Camille Saint-Saens’ Allegro Appassionato. Four of PACO’s senior violinists will join forces with members of Siskiyou Violins, under the direction of Faina Podolnaya, to play Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B minor. PACO then returns to the stage to play Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz and String Symphony No. 2 in D Major by Felix Mendelssohn. The wide-ranging program offers something for everyone!

$6 for students
$12 for seniors, members of the JPR Listener’s Guild and OSF members
$14 for the general public

For tickets or more information contact the OSF box office (800-219-8161) or visit


Get Ready Ashland! There’s a New String Teacher in Town!

Four years ago, the Ashland School District cut the 5th grade strings program due to budget restraints. This year, volunteers working under the umbrella of the Ashland Schools Foundation worked to raise money to reinstate the program. It was perfect timing considering the previous orchestra teacher in Ashland was retiring and the hiring process to find a new teacher was beginning. A nine member committee chose Lauren Trolley who I had the privilege of interviewing on Monday.

Let me just say my meeting with Lauren was like speaking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Lauren has a warm and inviting personality. She is young and vivacious and she loves what she does. Lauren is a violinist who has a passion for creativity and unity in orchestras. She told me,

I love the orchestral setting…I love directing. I love taking a piece of music, playing through it, evaluating where it’s at and setting goals for where we want it to be and breaking it down into steps and working with each of the groups, and sections, and then bringing it back together to create something amazing… I love the complexities and intricacies of it.

Lauren will be in charge of all five of Ashland’s public school string programs, including the three elementary schools, Ashland Middle School and Ashland High School. But she is not at all daunted by the task. In fact, she is extremely excited for the opportunity. She has lots of fun and innovative ideas that she hopes to integrate into her program. Some of the ideas she seemed most excited to implement had to do with integrating technology into music. She’d also like to bring in guest artists to display the versatility of stringed instruments and enthuse her students. (Personally, I think there is nothing more motivating than watching a great performer.)

Paul Dateh is a performer that Lauren introduced me to through this YouTube video. I’m sharing it with you so you can get to know Lauren a little better and meet some of her inspiration. I hope you enjoy!

Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon

Get ready young musicians of the Rogue Valley!! It is time for Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon Auditions!YSSOWinter2010 080 Believe it or not, I can honestly say that participating in the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon was my favorite orchestral experience. I honestly didn’t realize how good I had it when I was working under Cynthia Hutton. She is an excellent conductor. And her patience with students….the woman should be sainted. hutton

One of my favorite things about the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon is that they get to perform classical music by all the great composers of the past and even current composers of today. For many of the students, this may be the only time in their lives they will do that. It’s such a great experience. Learning and playing a piece of music brings a deep level of understanding and appreciation that listening alone can never accomplish.

Besides that, there is something special about rehearsing and performing with a group of students your own age who share an interest in classical music.

My experience in Youth Symphony gave me the confidence to participate in other symphony orchestras as an in college and as an adult. I highly recommend participating in Youth Symphony to any young musician.

For more information on audition repertoire and times please visit:



Performance at Britt


So, I got the opportunity to do something fun this month. I played with the Siskiyou Violins for the first time since I moved back from Georgia. It was just as fun as I remember it being before I left. I had a great time! There is something special about performing…a little thrill that you are sharing something you love with other people and perhaps they will become as excited about it as you are. Also, there were a couple of alumni that I shared the stage with at Carnegie Hall in 2005 that came back and played in this concert. We entertained ourselves quite a bit. I love to have my music learned so down pat that I can fool around with the other performers on stage. That’s the best! When you have a good time, your audience can relax and have a good time. Speaking of good time, the Britt Festival built a new Performance Garden stage. It was beautiful! Ah… and such a nice night too!

8-2014 018The weather was perfect not only for performing but for watching a performance. I was so excited about the line up before we even got there.

Dvorak, Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”
Finlandia, Sibelius
Violin Concerto, Sibelius: performed by Augustin Hadelich

Okay, I’ll admit it. I love violin concertos. I know, I’m probably a little biased but really, I think most people…even some die hard rock fans, like violin concertos. Violin is the closest sounding instrument to the human voice so people relate to it. In fact, on of my all time favorite violinists grew up listening to opera with her grandfather when she was young. And if anyone knows how to make a violin, sing, talk and especially weep, it is Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg. I wonder if her grandfather even had a suspicion how listening to opera would affect Nadja’s playing.

augustin-hadelich-db30a611f8a66e5aAs far as violin concertos go though, Sibelius knew what he was doing. The piece is enjoyable to listen to…effortless even. Sit back, relax and then…be impressed. And I was, as usual. Only this time I was impressed, not just because the cadenzas were played flawlessly, and what looked like effortlessly, but because the sound was so sweet.

I had read a couple of reviews about Augustin before I watched this performance and most of the reviews raved about his sweet sound. And oh, was it. From frog to tip, consistently smooth and sweet. Even when dynamic level increased or tempo, Augustin was consistent with that make-you-long-for-more beauty.

And humble! Augustin had an interview with Don Matthews, Classical Music Director at Jefferson Public Radio before the concert. He was so personable, well spoken, down to earth and just plain humble. When a question of “prodigy” came up Augustin handled it like a pro. I wish I had taken notes but if my memory serves me correctly, he said something to the effect of most performers cringing at the word because it downplays all the hard work and effort it takes to be a performer. I only wish I had gotten to shake his hand and thank him for just being a normal guy though he’s a phenomenal performer.

Good times. I look forward to playing at Britt again soon! Hope you are there too!