“Lost in Translation-Demystifying the Principles of Ivan Galamian in Practical Application”
A three class residency offered by acclaimed violinist Odin Rathnam for Colleges, Conservatories, youth orchestras, Suzuki Programs and pedagogy training programs.
In 2010 and 2011, I began a series of master classes as I dove deep into my own past formal training, that of my uncle’s with Mr. Galamian and after an encounter with Pinchas Zukerman (as guest leader of 2 nd violins with NACO) that set me more intensely on a path of reevaluating fundamentals of the Art and discipline of playing the violin. The content of the classes was further distilled at the West Branch International Festival and Academy ( 2010-2011), the Academia de Verao in Portugal (2012-2014)and my masterclasses in Silkeborg,( 2012-2016).
I have also had the great fortune of sharing these classes in Chicago, Copenhagen, NMSU Las Cruces, James Madison University, The Philippines and most notably, at my Alma Mater, the
Juilliard School, for the 2013 Starling DeLay Symposium. ( some of those, you can view on Youtube, if that helps) Central to the theme of the masterclass are a few guiding ‘’ mantras” if you will. They include defining virtuosity, sharing the goal of controlling the Sound in the context of time, and applying principles of the method in percentages, while being extremely present and attentive to comfort and result. These classes are very well suited to university/conservatory settings, youth orchestra clinics, and even distance learning, using Skype or other video conferencing applications ( for violin studios, schools, conservatories and even individuals)
These principles also work extremely well when introduced through the Suzuki School. I am myself a former Suzuki kid! And the applications to actual repertoire that I use in these classes have helped both performers and pedagogues better understand how to internalize the Principles as muscle memory, ergonomics and natural approaches to sound production, core values to Galamian’s approach.
Ideally, there are a minimum of three classes. Two deal with the Principles themselves and include a good bit of review of fundamentals , put through the filters of comfort and result. I
discuss holding the violin , stance and posture. Then Left and right hand fundamentals, coordination ( for shifting, clarity, expression). I also try to cover common blocks or tension
points to guard against, the importance of truly “Present” listening, Intonation, and hearing both pitches and intervals internally. I also try to touch a bit on the issues of successful psychology, visualization, stage fright and dealing with negative thoughts or judgments. I believe Galamian understood the importance of the general well being of individuals going down the difficult path of this Art form, although perhaps his disciple, Dorothy DeLay , took this understanding even further in her pedagogy. I feel the topic is salient.
The third class involves much more participation (students should nonetheless have instruments along for all three classes), through coaching individual students on repertoire and working on common repertoire as a group. This has proven to be such an exciting and empowering part of the lectures/classes, as students and pedagogues actually feel and hear the results both in their work habits and the sound. Prices for these classes vary according to the residencies to which they are attached, e.g. concerto appearances, the Bach Project, or recitals. They can also be booked alone, without any attached performance.
I hope you will consider bringing these classes to your program. Ultimately, they are the result of my 46 year relationship with this beguiling and miraculous instrument of BEAUTY, we call the
VIOLIN, a love affair that continues. The Mitzvah of passing on a tradition which was shared by all my mentors with me brings great Joy and Meaning to my life. Thank you for taking the time
to read my synopsis and letter. I look forward to working with you!