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May 9

Researching the Max Jaffa archive: presenting light music for new audiences

May 9 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm BST

A discussion of Simon Blendis’s archive process and the issues faced in ‘reviving’ a lost library for contemporary ears

Max Jaffa (1911-1991) was the leading light music violinist of his day, a household name who brought his singing style of salon music to millions through recordings, broadcasts and concerts.

Since 2000 Simon Blendis has played on his Peter Guarnerius violin, and in 2019 Jaffa’s family sold Blendis his sheet music archive, in which were several boxes of assorted loose sheet music. Sorting through this became a lockdown project, which resulted in the discovery of many lost gems, a wonderful window into this rather forgotten genre of two-three minute salon treasures. Together with his wife (a pianist), Blendis set about choosing the best of these for a recording, which is now completed and will be released in July on the Nimbus label under the title “Love is Like a Violin”.

This presentation with look at the process of putting this project together, and the issues faced in ‘reviving’ a lost library for contemporary ears, and will include filmed performances of some of these wonderful, rarely heard pieces.

Speaker: Simon Blendis (Guildhall School of Music & Drama)

Simon Blendis enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestral leader. He was the violinist with the Schubert Ensemble for 23 years, from 1995 until it finished in 2018. With the Ensemble he performed over 1000 concerts in over thirty different countries, recorded over twenty CDs, made frequent broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, and created an extensive library of live performances on YouTube which is still available. Simon has been leader of the London Mozart Players since 2014 and is in constant demand as a guest leader, having led most of the major symphony and chamber orchestras in this country. He regularly directs the LMP from the violin, and has guest-directed the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the ECO and the Scottish Ensemble. He has also shared the position of first concertmaster with Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan since 1999, with whom he has recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for the Warner Japan label. Since 2018, Simon has been a professor of violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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