Learning from the Legends is a wonderful idea. The DVD’s you have produced of Rolf Smedvig sharing his ideas for performing the Haydn and Hummel will be exceedingly educational to anyone wishing to learn these classic pieces. It is very important to communicate the importance of producing a beautiful sound, and Rolf is known for his wonderful sound. I especially appreciated his simple way of approaching and improving your breathing. This is a ‘winner’. Keep up the good work.
Many notable soloists and educators have watched our DVDs and we always like to hear they found them valuable. Have a look what they said about us.
St. Louis Symphony
Lara St. John is a brilliant teacher as well as artist. I hope this DVD gets around - it should! She is clear, concise, and her demonstrations are wonderful. Lara is doing a wonderful thing with these videos and I hope they help a lot of young (and not-so-young) people. I learned a lot.
Composer, Red Violin
In these DVDs, Lara St John is a wonderful tour guide through the musical and violinistic landscapes of the Bruch and Mendelssohn violin concerti. With the same open warmth and enthusiasm that she brings to her performances, she offers a wide range of information and insights that will appeal to and inspire students at several different stages. Perhaps her most valuable message, present as an undercurrent throughout the videos, is that passionate involvement with the music goes hand-in-hand with detailed and methodically planned technical work and musical thought.
Lara St. John does a marvelous job providing insight into the beloved masterworks of the violin repertoire. The series of lessons dissect the concerti measure by measure, examining key technical aspects and interpretive ideas. Particularly effective is Lara’s approach: elegant, unassuming, yet powerfully convincing. The series is a true instructional gem for violinist of all walks of life!
Aaron P. Dworkin
Lara St. John is an exceptional violinist with a tremendous sound, sense of style, authenticity and a natural fit with the instrument. I was particularly taken by her ability to reveal the most detailed, intricate solutions to the most challenging passages in both of the timeless works, given her own seemingly effortless illustration of the material. Lara is a rare and excellent example of a true artist and a pedagogue. I have no doubt that the series would benefit and provide invaluable lessons to countless young violinists worldwide.
Afa Sadykhly Dworkin
These DVDs are not only a masterclass with Rolf but also a masterclass with the many trumpet legends who have influenced him throughout his career. Maurice Andre, Armando Ghitalla, Rafael Mendez, they all played an integral part in how Rolf approached the trumpet and, in particular, these two masterworks.
Lara St. John is a brilliant maverick violinist with constantly unique and fresh perspectives and an uncanny ability to get around the instrument in the most organic way. With this collection she generously reveals the mechanics of two of the most popular violin concertos: Bruch and Mendelssohn. These incredibly comprehensive guides examine each concerto in great detail and are an invaluable tool to any violinist attempting to play these pieces. The lessons are presented in Lara’s usual charming and witty manner, making the works accessible and clear for any age group. They provide an opportunity for violin players to quickly grasp the technical and interpretive demands needed. I highly recommend these ‘must have’ DVDs to anyone who wants to speed up a thorough learning process of these masterworks.
Lara St. John’s ‘Learning from the Legends’ series provides an extremely thorough and thoughtful walk-through of core repertoire, as well as the amazing experience of seeing how a top professional makes her way around the musical and technical challenges of these masterpieces. Lara’s methods of breaking down the technical difficulties and her practical and well-explained practice techniques are wonderful. One of these DVDs is like weeks and weeks of private lessons! The programs are beautifully filmed and presented, and would be of great value to any aspiring violinist.
These are excellent pedagogical videos… they are Rolf’s parting legacy for young trumpeters and their teachers.
Smedvig’s pedagogical advice is excellent… The value of this resource is immense for musicians of all levels. Gaining a window into both the musical interpretation and approach to the trumpet by a musician of Smedvig’s caliber is fascinating… This disc would be a fine addition to the collections of students and performers of all ability levels.
Dr. Jason Crafton
This program of Learning From the Legends will absolutely occupy a much-needed, methodical, and all-encompassing reference for trumpeters of all ages. I highly recommend this thoughtful legacy project that seeks to make sense of making music on the trumpet by using great music as its source. This is a great project!
As a conductor and educator, I have been extremely fortunate to have learned from such legends as Rafael Mendez, William Bell, Elizabeth Green, William D. Revelli and others. The young musicians who have not yet encountered a “Legend” and even those who have, will greatly benefit from these instructional videos featuring some of the world’s greatest classical music performers as presented by ‘Learning from the Legends’. These instructional videos are professionally recorded and they are at the highest level. As a private teacher, I would find them invaluable. As a conductor, they reinforce much of what is worked on and hopefully accomplished in any rehearsal. In addition, the recordings provide a play-along track, which is extremely helpful. The instructor (Legend) performs the selected work, a few measures at a time, and then provides a annotated copy of the soloist’s score, which, along with well thought-out explanatory monologue, gives the student enormous insight into what they just heard and saw. Having attended several workshops by the Empire Brass, I was thrilled to see the video of trumpeter Rolf Smedvig. He was the founder of the Empire Brass and will long be remembered as one of the finest trumpet players in the world. His instruction on breathing in this video is not to be missed by any wind player. Canadian born Laura St. John has performed as a soloist all over the world. Her recent album ‘Shiksa’ has received high reviews including this quote by composer John Corigliano, ‘I love it!! So much beautiful music played so passionately. I am completely blown away by this album.’ Her performances and instructions on the Mendelssohn and the Bruch on the ‘Learning from the Legends’ are priceless. I look forward to many more wonderful videos, both as DVDs and on the Internet.
William V. Johnson
These DVDs are going to be an amazing resource for young trumpet players for years to come. I wish I had these when I was a kid. I wish I had these when I was a classroom teacher, where many of my students did not have access to private instruction. The amount of content packed into each DVD is really quite incredible!