violin

This weekend, San Antonio native Nancy Zhou returns to South Texas, and David Mairs, the music director of the Mid-Texas Symphony, couldn’t be happier about it.

“Am I blessed, or what?” he exclaims with a smile.

Zhou began studying violin at an early age under her father, Long Zhou. After graduating from Keystone School, she continued her studies at Harvard University and the New England Conservatory. Now 22, her concert appearances have taken her around the globe, but she’s not jaded. Mairs says that’s something he has enjoyed when working with younger performers.

“With young soloists, it’s rare to see anybody young who’s doing well come in with that attitude of, ‘Well, this is my 52nd Tchaikovsky violin concerto. I’ll do it, where’s the check?’ There’s a freshness [with young performers]. Everybody benefits from that!”

Mairs has enjoyed a long relationship with Zhou, dating back to when she was an eight-year-old violinist with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio.

“She could play well, but she had the attention span sometimes… of an eight-year old!” he recalls.

Violinist Hilary Hahn is known for putting together some unusual programs. On her latest album, she pairs Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major with 19th century Belgian composer Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor.

When you're all grown up, you — at least theoretically — put away childish things. But there are exceptions, as violinist Hilary Hahn proves in her latest recording project.

Antonio Stradivari, the master violin maker whose instruments sell for millions of dollars today, has been dead for nearly three centuries. Only 650 of his instruments are estimated to survive.

But the forest where the luthier got his lumber is alive and well. And thanks to the surprising teamwork of modern instrument makers and forest rangers, Stradivari's trees are doing better than ever.

If you're a parent, the sound of a small child sawing away at the strains of the "Twinkle Variations" may be all too familiar.

It's Song One, of Book One, of the Suzuki method, a musical pedagogy developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki in the 1960s.

But lately there has been discord among music educators, a feud over methods and credentials and accusations of fraud.

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