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

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Phillips, Marina Louise (2001) An assessment of the contribution to Australian string pedagogy and performance of Jan Sedivka. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Sedivka, Jan, Violin, Violin
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

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).

Additional Information:

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

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 03:11
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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