Siskiyou Violins of Southern Oregon, World Class Violin Ensemble

The Siskiyou Violins earned their 4th Gold Medal in world class international music festival competition by participating in the 8th Annual Los Angeles Internatial Music Festival, June 15-19, 2014!

The Siskiyou Violins delivered an exclusive outdoor performance at Disneyland on Monday, June 16th. The highlight of the Festival included six carefully selected adjudicated groups and two showcase university level ensembles, all performing at the world famous Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 18th. The competition included some of the most talented youth music groups from around the world, including a group from Singapore. The Siskiyou Violins, competing with one of the youngest groups yet trained by Artistic Director Faina Podolnaya, achieved outstanding scores of 95, 98, and 100 from the three adjudicators.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by architect Frank Gehry is considered one of the finest and most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the entire world, providing a rare opportunity for unparalleled musical experience. Resting on a 3.6 acre complex, it is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013.

Gehry received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Southern California in 1954, later studying City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of design. His architectural career has spanned more than 40 years, producing some of the most famous buildings in America, Europe, and Asia, as well as earning some of the most coveted awards in the architectural field. These include the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture, the Pritzker Prize, the Wolf Prize in Art (Architecture), the Praemium Imperiale Award, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award, the National Medal of Arts, the Friedrich Kiesler Prize, the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal.

Lillian Disney, wife of the late Walt Disney, had donated $50 million to the Music Center in 1987 in honor of the love of music her husband had shared with the world, made famous in his collaboration with conductor Leopold Tokowski to combine classical music with animation in the 1940 film Fantasia. Lillian stated her desire in donating this unprecedented sum was to establish one of the finest concert halls in the world as a permanent tribute to her husband. Frank Gehry, in taking on this challenge, envisioned an iconic design, a structure that would become the heart of Los Angeles. It took an incredible 16 years to build this magnificent hall, at an estimated project cost of over $274 million, finally opening its doors in October of 2003.

Walt Disney Concert Hall was immediately recognized as a masterpiece in architecture, its marvelous acoustics unmatched by any other concert hall worldwide. Gehry was selected from an initial list of 80 architects from around the world, and won the commission decisively with his well-planned and boldly original design unlike any concert hall ever seen. The building itself has remarkable visual appeal, but most important was the care and attention given to creating an auditorium with unrivaled acoustics. Gehry designed the Hall from the inside out, working with famed Dr. Minoru Nagata and his assistant, Yasuhisa Toyota as acousticians.

So precise are the acoustics in this building that it challenges conductors to rise to new levels of performance. Errors were discovered in scores which had been used by orchestras for decades but had never been noticed before. 2265 seats fill the warm, Douglas fir-lined interior, with a surrounding arrangement that brings the audience close to the orchestra, offering an intimate view of the musicians and conductor from virtually any seat. The stage, made from Alaskan yellow cedar, offers exceptional resonance. Frank Gehry carefully considered how musicians would experience the building, believing that good sound inspires confidence and the musicians in turn will play better.

Faina Podolnaya, the acclaimed Artistic Director for the Siskiyou Violins, notes that performing in a variety of venues, both locally, nationally, and abroad, is a vital part of the students’ musical growth. Performing for different audiences helps the student to learn stage presence, as well as important skills of poise and confidence which will help them excel in all areas of life, regardless of whether they go on to become professional musicians. Performing for foreign audiences is special too as it strengthens the unique bond of communicating through music which transcends all languages and cultures. Preparation for a trip of this magnitude also strengthens the entire group and it is part of the mission and purpose of Siskiyou Violins to further the musical growth of its talented students through offering these kinds of performance opportunities. It is our goal to offer major performance trips every 2 – 3 years in the hope that every student who is a member of Siskiyou Violins will be able to take advantage of at least one such life changing opportunity during the years they are involved with the group.

Benefits of music education are well documented for helping develop intelligence and abstract reasoning, greater aptitude in math, science, and language skills, as well as enhancing important social skills critical for life success. Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., a leading Heart Surgeon, Baylor College of Medicine, stated “Studying music encourages self-discipline and diligence, traits that carry over into intellectual pursuits and that lead to effective study and work habits. An association of music and math has, in fact, long been noted. Creating and performing music promotes self-expression and provides self-gratification while giving pleasure to others. In medicine, increasing published reports demonstrate that music has a healing effect on patients. For all these reasons, it deserves strong support in our educational system, along with the other arts, the sciences, and athletics.”

You can be a part of helping our talented Siskiyou Violins Students continue their growth through choosing one of our donation levels. Thank you for your support!