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The mandolin café

Austrian harpist Monika Stadtler studied at the University of Music in Vienna and at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, USA. These days, following engagements with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera, she appears only as a soloist, travelling in Europe, the USA and Japan, sometimes with her duo (harp and percussion), and sometimes with her trio (harp, tuba and percussion). Concert programmes consist largely of her own virtuosic, rich-feeling and meditative compositions. She has a nicely built and looking site in English and German.


Brazilian composer Andersen Viana (born 1962) has 147 works to his credit, and has received eight national and international awards. Also an arranger, conductor and music producer, Viana's teachers included Ennio Morricone and Max Rostal. The website, in Portuguese and English, has eleven downloadable zipped MP3 files.


British composer Nicholas Brown (born 1974) has been commissioned by the British Film Institute to write music for the Russian silent film After Death. His stylish site includes a short extract from the score in MP3 format.


American composer Larry Gaab describes his own music as 'a blend of contemporary classsical lines with dark ambient electronics'. I can't find any sound samples on Larry's site, which isn't specially liberal with information (apart from a short biography and a works list), but it looks quite nice ...


Lebanese composer and pianist Setrak Setrakian (born 1938) is a former director of the Ganatchuan Music College in Beirut, and has written about four hundred pieces. There's much more information here than on Larry's site, but the constant popup ads become very annoying as one navigates the site. Site counters are normally a turn-off for me -- along with all the advertising buttons and webring code that people put on their home pages -- but this site has a rather clever musical one. A MIDI file gives some idea of this composer's style, but no details of the piece are provided.


Young Cuban classical guiarist Ernesto Tamayo (born 1971) was pronounced a child prodigy when he was nine years old, by the Cuban Government, and he went on to win first prize in the 1995 USA National Guitar Concerto Competition. He has definitely jumped onto the online audio bandwaggon, with a whole page full of high quality stereo MP3 files. His site has a lot of character and is easy to navigate.


Norwegian clarinet soloist Roger Arve Vigulf has had an excellent and fun site built for him by Tadas Sugintas. It requires the visitor to have Flash and Quicktime plugins to see all the features. The opening animation (after a brief delay) is rather good, and the site is full of music examples.


London-based composer, arranger, conductor, musical director, organist and accompanist Paul Ayres has, in addition to his obvious talents as musician, a flair for choosing names of concerts and ensembles containing puns -- hence Music of the Fuschia and 4A Wreck, for example. Paul's no-nonsense site contains a page of music samples in Real Audio.


The UK's Naked Opera Company is devoted to the performance of opera in a direct and accessible style ... 'no tiaras, no crinolenes, no wardrobe department', as advertised on their clear, stylish and functional website.


Judicael Strings are traditional hand-makers of violins, electric violins and guitars, based on the edge of the Pennine Hills in England, and run by Bob Jiggins. The site contains information about all sorts of musical things.


A string quartet based in Ennis, County Clare in the Republic of Ireland -- the Dolmen Quartet -- is available for concerts, weddings and corporate events, and has a well-thought-out site to help visitors choose music and make bookings. The wedding music page has MIDI samples of the pieces, to help those who don't really know their Pachelbel from their Morriccone.


2002 is the tenth anniversary of the death of Olivier Messiaen, and enthusiast Malcolm Ball has created his own shrine to the French composer -- a collection of Messiaen resources and Malcolm's own reflections on the man whose music has continued to touch and influence his musical life. The site features some of the special concerts and events being staged to mark the anniversary.


American mandolin player and composer Neil Gladd runs his own publishing company, Plucked String Inc, specialising in music and recordings for the classical mandolin, guitar, and other plucked instruments. Its website is hosted by an organisation known as 'The Mandolin Cafe', providing three interesting sites to explore, until next time ...

Copyright © 28 June 2002 Keith Bramich, Canterbury, UK


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