University of Tasmania

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An assessment of the contribution to Australian string pedagogy and performance of Jan Sedivka

posted on 2023-05-27, 17:52 authored by Phillips, Marina Louise
Violin performance and pedagogy have been a central thread in my life for many years. The art of communicating something you love to others, is a very special occupation. I became interested in the work of Jan Sedivka as a young student violinist in Western Australia, where the knowledge of the existence of a 'great old master' Jiving in _Tasmania was in the hack uf my mind. My first enc_ounter with Sedivka occurred when I participated in one of his master classes. During this class a contemporary of mine performed the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and I heard my first Sedivkaism \the worse the octaves sound the closer they are to being in tune.\" I found this thought most amusing and heartening at the time! I once again encountered 'the old man' at a Spring Chamber Music Camp where three of Perth's leading string teachers plus Sedivka were engaged in a heated discussion about the use of the right-hand fingers in the performance of unaccompanied Bach. At the time Sedivka and his former student Peter Exton argued for the negative team while Gregory Baron and Alan Bonds worked for the affirmative. (Readers note; Sedivka would have been just as happy and capable to argue for the other side if the opportunity had presented itself!) In 1988 Peter Exton became my principal violin teacher and for two years 'the boss' oversaw my lessons with his unsmiling photographic front. In 1996 at the suggestion of Peter I travelled to Melbourne to meet Jan Sedivka and again encountered that generous alternative argumentative grey-haired gentleman who was so dear to the string fraternity of Australia. The ideas he presented were new challenging and seemingly unconventional. I also discovered a teacher whose methods intrigued me; he did not say what one would necessarily expect or desire. The experiences described above led me to the idea that I would like to attempt to unravel the truths of this teacher and in 1998 I moved to Tasmania to study with 'the master' and to commence my doctorate. My interest in Sedivka's pedagogical style was motivated further by the glaring differences in playing style between violinists in Western Australia and in Tasmania. I also could not believe how many players of a high calibre there were in Hobart in relation to the size of the city and how these players exhibited a technical and musical ease of playing. The phrases of the Tasmanian string players seemed to breathe and to have a natural ebb and flow. I was also very aware however of the immense individuality of each player in terms of sound technique and physical set-up. The combination of the factors thus described created a set of unanswered questions that became catalysJs for my interest_ and the doctoral project presented here was born."


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Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2002. Contents: v. 1. Text -- v. 2. 9 compact discs and programmes for recitals and concerts presented by Marina Phillips (violin) and a variety of other performers

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