Peabody violinist remains calm during mishap to win BSO competition

April 29, 1991|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff

Violinist Diane Duraffourg, a 24-year-old Peabody Conservatory student showing passion in playing Bela Bartok's "Violin Concerto No. 2" but a veteran's coolness when her fiddle became untuned in the middle of her playing, walked away with the two big prizes last night in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's first soloist competition.

Duraffourg won the $2000 first prize given in memory of the late Judge Joseph Sherbow by Mrs. Sara Sherbow. But she also won the important invitation by BSO music director David Zinman, awarded at his discretion, to play a concerto with the orchestra. "I hope I'll be conducting" when she plays, a pleased Zinman told about 400 fans at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The young violinist, a student of Sylvia Rosenberg at Peabody, was more than half-way through the pensive, lyrical and agitated Bartok work when a string peg loosened. Rather than play through it, she suggested stopping to fix it. Zinman, one of four judges, agreed.

A few seconds and a quick tuning later, she picked up the thread of the intricate concerto with pianist John Root as accompanist and retained her intensity to the end. The crowd loved both her fire and presence of mind and brought her back for a second bow. She has also studied in Paris with Gerard Jarry and at Indiana University with Franco Gulli and Joseph Gingold.

Two other prizes were awarded, also to violinists, making the trio the only winners among the eight finalists and 56 original applicants, ages 16 to 25, in strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. All had to have some Maryland tie. Of the eight finalists, six were women and five had Peabody connections.

Lisa-Beth Lambert, a 19-year-old studying with Jaime Laredo and Yumi Ninomiya Scott at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, won the $1500 second prize, the Baltimore Symphony Associates Award, with her playing of Sibelius' "Violin Concerto in D Minor."

Qing Hou, a 22-year-old junior at Peabody Conservatory, won the $750 third prize, the William T. Grove Award, for her rendition of Glazunov's "Violin Concerto in A Minor."

The other finalists were Betsy J. Hill, playing Ibert's "Flute Concerto"; Jennifer Kloetzel, with Dvorak's "Cello Concerto in B Minor"; Kyle Coughlin, with Mozart's "Clarinet Concerto in A. Major"; Melinda Dalmas, with Handel's "Harp Concerto in B Flat Major"; and Rupert A. Thompson, with Shostakovich's "Cello Concerto No. 1."

The judges besides Zinman were Donald Reinhold, of the University of Maryland; Vladimir Sokoloff, of the Curtis Institute, and Marta Casals Istomin of the Festival Casals Organization. Carol A. Bogash was chairman of the Associates' competition committee.

The Associates which planned the event is led by Frances

Angelino. BSO executive director John Gidwitz moderated the evening planned for the orchestra's 75th birthday.

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