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Classical 101

Chicago Symphony Breaks 20-Year Russian Silence

One of the world's premiere orchestras, the Chicago Symphony, (playing Stravinsky above), has not played a note in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  That is about to change as the 120-year-old ensemble participates in a series of cultural exchanges led by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the Russian Cultural Ministry to strengthen ties between the former Cold War foes. Read Chicago Orchestra Breaks 20-Year Silence in Russia (Reuters)

Who Buys the Most Recordings?

Norman Lebrecht asked that question recently.  The answer may surprise you. Hint...it's not New York, LA, or Chicago. Read Where in the US Do They Buy the Most Records? (Slipped Disc)

The Best-Known Violinist You May Not Know

Anyone who gets their name tagged on a Stradivarius has really done something. Oistrakh...Paganini (who owned a quartet of Strads, along with the one he played - The Cannon)...Ole Bull...Auer...Joachim...Red Mendelssohn (which inspired the film The Red Violin)...it's a long list. Another Stradivarius inspired a recent Broadway play...the Morini.  Who?

Ask any longtime patron of the Philadelphia Orchestra and they can tell you stories about Erica Morini and her Stradivarius, then known as the Davidoff.

Philadelphia Inquirer Music Critic David Patrick Stearns writes that "Once heard, she was not easily forgotten."   Her live recordings are being released, and a studio recording boxed-set lists for nearly $600 on Amazon.com.  The inspiration for playwright Willy Holtzman was not her playing, but the theft of her Strad as she lay near death in a Manhattan hospital. Read The Morini Strad: A Violinist's Story (Philadelphia Inquirer) Read The Mysterious Story of Erica Morini (Huffington Post)