Pacific Symphony’s Roger Kalia wins Solti award

Roger Kalia

Pacific Symphony assistant conductor Roger Kalia has been named as one of the winners of the 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards, the Solti Foundation U.S. announced Monday. This is Kalia’s third such award, having also garnered Solti career assists in 2013 and 2017. Seven other recipients from around the country were also named on Monday. The amount of the award was not made public.

“Supporting and encouraging young conductors at the beginning of their careers is the mission of The Solit Foundation U.S.,” said Penny Van Horn, board chair of the foundation.   Now in its 14th year assisting young U.S. conductors, the Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 in grants.

“The Career Assistance Awards from The Solti Foundation U.S. have been extremely valuable in helping me build my career as a conductor,” Kalia said in an email. “Due to the support from The Solti Foundation U.S., I have been able to observe rehearsals and concerts of different orchestras and conductors around the country, build and develop my score library, create high quality videos of my conducting, and network with a variety of people in the classical music field.”

The Foundation is currently the only American foundation granting these kinds of awards. Citizens or permanent residents to the United States who are career-ready artists in the field of conducting are eligible to apply. The Solti Foundation was established in 2000 in memory of the great conductor Sir Georg Solti.

Kalia began his tenure as assistant conductor of Pacific Symphony and music director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2015 and recently signed a two-year contract extension. He is also co-founder and music director of the Lake George Music Festival in New York. Previously, he was music director of the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles and assistant conductor of the Charlotte Symphony.

“I hope to use this year’s award in order to further observe rehearsals and concerts by orchestras not only in the United States but Europe as well,” Kalia said.

“I also plan on using a portion of the award to take German and Italian language courses, which are very important languages for a conductor to know, especially since I would love to conduct more opera in the future. I am most grateful to the Solti Foundation U.S. for their continued support and belief in me.

“I would also like to thank all of those who have helped make this award possible, especially my dear colleagues of Pacific Symphony and Maestro Carl St.Clair.”

Joining Kalia in the winners’ circle this year are conductors Daniel Black, Stilian Kirov, Farkhad Khudyev, Stephen Mulligan, Sameer Patel, Stefano Sarzani and Lidiya Yankovskaya. Visit www.soltifoundation.us for their bios.

Anne Akiko Meyers brings old (expensive) violin and modern attitude to Pacific Symphony

By TIMOTHY MANGAN

Anne Akiko Meyers is bringing the world’s most expensive violin to town to play with Pacific Symphony this week. It has been loaned to her for life by the owner, who bought it in late 2012 for more than $16 million, still the highest price ever paid for a violin. The instrument, made in 1741, is known as the “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri “del Gesù,” named for one of its former owners, the Belgian violinist and composer Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881). He loved the instrument so much that he wanted to be buried with it.

“Its health and security are always the utmost important factors when traveling,” Meyers said of the instrument recently in a phone interview. Nevertheless, she doesn’t seem particularly intimidated by the prospect. She’s had to care for expensive violins, on loan, for most of her career.

“Well, I’ve been really fortunate my whole life,” she said. “I’ve had to rely on the generosity of donors, patrons, foundations and have played on a number of Guarneri “del Jesu”’s and Stradivari violins my entire life. It is totally like you’re walking around with a Matisse or a Picasso or a Monet on your back. It’s our equipment but yet it’s an antique piece of history that can never be repeated again.”

She wants to pass it on to the next player in the same condition is it now, which she characterizes as near perfect, clean and crack-free and without so much as a sound post patch (common in most violins).

She describes its tone quality this way: “It’s like it has dark and milk chocolate and white chocolate all wrapped into one, and it has super deep resonance on the G string — it sounds like a cello — but yet it just has a brilliant E string and it projects like none other because it’s so healthy.”

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