William Walton Conducts His Viola Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, Frederick Riddle, 1937

The Viola Concerto by William Walton was written in 1929 for the violist Lionel Tertis at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Beecham; Tertis however rejected the piece, and composer/violist/teacher Paul Hindemith gave the first performance. The work was greeted with enthusiasm and brought Lancashire-born Walton to the forefront of British classical music.

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In February 2017 my beloved John Wilson conducted the London-based Philharmonia Orchestra in a rendition of the Concert with Canadian-born violist Lawrence Power. 


West Side Story From a Percussionist’s Perspective

I know a percussion major-turned-conductor who would come back to this pit for a lark…

(Percussion requirements: mallets, castanets, chimes, claves, conga, finger cymbals, glockenspiel, gourd, guiro, maracas, police whistle, ratchet, slide whistle, small maracas, snare drum, tam-tam, tambourines, temple blocks, timbales, triangle, vibraphone, woodblock, xylophone, 2 suspended cymbals, 3 bongos, 3 cowbells, 4 pitched drums)

West Side Story Percussionist's Perspective

Thanks to Joe Martone for sharing on YouTube.

Schelomo by Ernst Bloch, Played by George Neikrug and the Symphony of the Air, Conducted by Leopold Stokowski

Counted among one of the greatest cellists in the Golden Age of String Players, George Neikrug is still with us at 99(!), teaching and playing—all the more remarkable for the fact that two years ago he was completely bedridden due to compression fractures in his back. Wonderfully his students, past and present, have rallied around him with financial help and words of encouragement, gratitude and praise. A student himself and chief proponent of the revolutionary string methods of DC Dounis, Neikrug’s students consider him to be the Einstein of string teachers.


Here he is performing “Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque”, the final work in Swiss composer Ernest Bloch’s 1916 Jewish Cycle. Stokowski recorded it with him and called Neikrug’s work “unforgettable”. (Part 2 here.)

Thanks to old friend, violist Vivi Erickson, for remembering her former Boston University teacher for me.