Auguri Niccolo Paganini



Happy 233rd birthday to Niccolò Paganini – the greatest violinist who ever lived. Here’s a report of his playing, from the French journal Le Globe, in 1831:

“He seizes his fiddle, hugs it betwixt chin and chest, and fixes on it a look at once of pride, penetration and gentleness. Thus resteth he several seconds, leaving the public at leisure to examine and make him out in his strange originality — to note with curiosity his gaunt body, his lengthy arms and fingers, his dark hair descending to his shoulders, the sickness and suffering denoted in his whole frame, his sunken mouth, his long eagle nose, his wan and hollow cheeks, his large, fine, manifest forehead…and, beneath the shelter and shadow of that front, eyes that dilate, sparkle and flash at every instant!
Behold him a compound of chill irony and electric enthusiasm, of haughtiness, with seeming humility, of sickly languor and fitful, nervous, fatal exultings, of wild oddity, chastened by some hidden and unconscious grace…
He raises his right hand briskly into the air, and dashes his bow down upon the instrument! You anticipate the rupture of all its strings! On the contrary, the lightest, the finest, the most delicate of sounds comes forth to win your surprise. He continues for some moments to sport with your preconceptions, to look askance at you, to irritate you…He teases you, he pleases you: he springs, he runs, he wanders from tone to tone, from octave to octave…extracts, within the space of a few bars, the whole range of chords and sounds possible upon the instrument…Chords that are pure, sweet, melodious, brilliant, stream from beneath his bow; and then come accents of nature that seem to flow from the heart itself, and affect you with a perspiring thrill of delight…A fit of violent distress, a sort of shuddering fury, seizes him, and we are startled, chilled, tormented, by cries which pierce the inmost recesses of our frame…We dare not breathe — we are half suffocated; — fearfully the head burns and the heart aches.
And yet, despite this too positive pain which the unfortunate artist has forced both upon us and himself, he bethinketh him mindfully that ‘tis his vocation to serve for sport to the public…He snatches away, therefore, your ladies with delicate nerves, and your men of effeminacy, from the suffocation and syncope that threaten them. Truce to the cries of agony! Truce to despair! A fantastic chaunt, a wild laugh, springs up — and then succeeds a sort of buffoon dance, to complete the relief of these people, and restore them to life…A reiterated clapping of palms convinces the unhappy purveyor of diversion that he has but too well served the public according to their taste!”

(Translation by George Dubourg, from his 1852 book ‘The Violin: Some account of that leading instrument and its most eminent professors from its earliest date to the present time’)

Story of Maksymilian Faktorowicz (also known as Max Factor)

Well, one may say “Cosmetics? Seriously? It has nothing to do with violin or a music”.

And I would strongly disagree because first, it is a story of self-made person, a person who created success by his own hands and talent, secondly it’s been a moment in Maksymilian’s life 100% related with music and arts and third, well its just an interesting read.

Max was born in Russian-occupied part of Poland  in 1872. By the age of eight years old (8 years old, can you imagine it?)  Factor was working as an assistant to a dentist/pharmacist, then he was apprenticed to a Łódź’s wig maker and cosmetician, and then by the age of fourteen, he was working at Korpo, a Moscow wig maker and cosmetician to the Imperial Russian Grand Opera (in our days knows as Bolshoi Theater). He was also one of make-uppers for Tsar’s family not too long before Revolution.

He opened his own shop in the town of Ryazan’ near Moscow, selling hand-made rouges, creams, fragrances, and wigs, but afterwards Max Factor moved to California and launched his new business providing made-to-order wigs and theatrical make-up to the growing film industry in nearby Hollywood.

Factor began experimenting with various compounds in an effort to develop a suitable make-up for the new film medium. By 1914 he had perfected the first cosmetic specifically created for motion picture use — a thinner greasepaint in cream form, packaged in a jar, and created in 12 precisely-graduated shades. Unlike theatrical cosmetics, it would not crack or cake.

In 1920 Max Factor gave in to Frank Factor’s suggestion and officially began referring to his products as “make-up”. Up until then, the term “cosmetics” had been used: The term ”make-up” was considered to be used only by people in the theatre or of dubious reputation, not something to be used in polite society.

Sir Max was awarded an Oscar award for Developed cosmetics specifically for use in black-and-white films and also he is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Surprisingly, there’re so many modern things in beauty industry which he has invented or innovated in far away beginning of XX century, like French manicure (1927),  lip gloss (1930), liquid nail polish (1934), waterproof make-up (1971), colorless mascara (1988) and so so so many other things. All invented by Max Factor.

Juilliard School Opens Campus in China

(Originally posted here: )

The Juilliard School has announced it will open a campus in China, the Tianjin Juilliard School, in 2018.

The campus, which will be Juilliard’s first campus outside of its historic New York grounds, will be the first performing-arts institution in China to offer a US-accredited master’s degree.

“I believe that maintaining Juilliard’s prominence in the global performing-arts landscape will depend on a robust series of programs to engage with a wide range of learners in different parts of the world,”Joseph W. Polisi, Juilliard’s president, said in a statement. “Together with the roots we will build in Tianjin, our educational apps for the consumer market, our program for primary and secondary school students, and future digital products are all part of this strategy.”

The Tianjin Juilliard School, which will be designed by the same firm responsible for Juilliard’s expansion in New York from 2006-09, will offer a range of classes and lessons for all ages and skill levels. Its master of music degree program will offer studies in orchestral performance, chamber-music performance, and collaborative piano. The school will also offer a pre-college program, an instrumental training program, adult education, and public performances and exhibits.