In guest teaching violin students, Vamos offers respectful critiques



Yemi Falodun | Staff Writer

Repertoire and technique go together like violin maestros Almita Vamos and Jacques Israelievitch. You cannot have one without the other.

“Some teachers go left and some go right; we go along the same straight line,” Vamos said about her and Israelievitch’s similar approaches to music. “I studied with Louis Persinger, and he studied with Josef Gingold. And they both studied with Eugene Ysaye, so we have a similar background.”

Vamos will instruct Israelievitch’s students in her violin master class from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. today in McKnight Hall.

That common bond and approach makes it an easier transition for Israelievitch’s students, who are assigned to work in Vamos’ class today.

“I’m so excited to play for her,” Xiaoxue “Sunny” She said about her anticipation on working with Vamos. She attended China’s Central Conservatory of Music, where she studied with maestro Liang Danan.

She will enter her second and final year at University of Southern California, where she is a graduate student. She is also a first-time Chautauquan.

“My friend told me about this place and Jacques Israelievitch, so I wanted to go,” she said.

She will play Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto, No. 2, first movement.

“A lot of artists play other classical musicians, but I like Bartók’s music,” she said. “It’s very different.”

Following her recent chamber music recital, She will look to make her technique sound.

“I need to improve a lot of things,” she said. “I need to work on my vibrato and my bow. I don’t think my sound right now is very good.”

That is where Vamos comes into play, with her experience, wisdom and constructive criticism.

“I always ask them, ‘Has your teacher mentioned this?’ ” Vamos said. “So, if the teacher is opposed, it’s not my place to say, ‘I want to teach you another method.’ ”

What helps that teacher-student relationship is a respectful understanding in which there is room for dialogue in the critique. It also keeps students from having to deal with conflicting philosophies, which may leave them unsure or uninspired.

“All the students are good here,” Vamos said. “I don’t have any students who I feel like saying, ‘Oh my god, your teacher told you to do that — you’re ridiculous!’ ”