LA Phil concertmaster stays in peak performance condition

Posted on: July 23, 2012

In Saturday’s (7/21) Los Angeles Times, Diane Haithman writes, “Q: Why is a viola bigger than a violin? A: They are the same size. It’s just that violinists have bigger heads. It’s probably safe to say that there are fewer jokes about violinists than 7-Elevens or mothers-in-law. Still, Los Angeles Philharmonic principal concertmaster Martin Chalifour was game to throw this one out at his San Marino home, looking forward to Tuesday’s performance of the Julius Conus Violin Concerto at Hollywood Bowl with guest conductor Stéphane Denève. … But the musical gag reminds one that the joke could never have been written with Chalifour in mind. Though the 51-year-old French Canadian violinist has occupied the L.A. Phil’s coveted concertmaster’s chair since 1995, the job has never gone to his head. … He’s serious about keeping in shape for the physical demands of performing (‘Our pulse rate is sometimes comparable to a really fast run’) and carefully monitors diet, rest and even caffeine intake to be in optimum condition to perform. … Chalifour heeds the advice of Taras Gabora, his beloved teacher at the Montreal Conservatory of Music: Always rest before a concert. It’s advice that saw Chalifour through the Curtis Institute of Music and stints as associate concertmaster at the Atlanta Symphony and the Cleveland Symphony.”

Posted July 23, 2012