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James VanDemark

3 Podcast Episodes

Latest 24 Jul 2021 | Updated Daily

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047 James VanDemark: Technical Discipline & Interpretive Magic

The Mind Over Finger Podcast

047 James VanDemark: Technical Discipline & Interpretive Magic This episode is full of inspiration and extremely useful information!  Eastman School of Music Bass Professor, James VanDemark, offers us tip after great tip to bring our practice and performance to the next level! Among many topics, James talks to us about creating a technical discipline that leads to interpretive magic, and about on how crucial it is to have clear goals and setting the intention to build up our entire identity as an artist whenever we enter the practice room.  He elaborates on the importance of: using the bow in an imaginative way (having the bow be an extension of our imagination) while having a left hand that is as immaculate as can be acutely playing in the present moment establishing a great basic posture slow practice using the mirror having interpretation be at the center of the technical work create the concert experience in the practice room ear training - through listening to recording actively and with imagination, and through exercises having a schedule, have a clear intent, and be kind to others MORE ABOUT JAMES: Eastman School of Music: https://www.esm.rochester.edu/faculty/james-vandemark/ YouTube Videos: Here Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bassfilm1/ "Some people seemed destined to lead unconventional lives, and James VanDemark is certainly one of them," said the New York Times in the first of its three profiles on VanDemark. Performer, academic, boxer, producer, and entrepreneur - these are the principal roles VanDemark has successfully played in a highly diverse career spanning nearly four decades. VanDemark's arts and culture projects have been featured in the New York Times, Connoisseur Magazine, on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the BBC, CBC, NPR, and in many other media outlets around the world. In considerable demand as a speaker on entrepreneurial skills at colleges across the United States and Canada, VanDemark has also received great acclaim for his frequent role as narrator with many prominent symphony orchestras, including more than 40 performances with the Rochester Philharmonic and 15 with the Texas Festival Orchestra. Appointed to the Eastman School of Music at the age of 23, VanDemark was the youngest faculty member ever appointed to a professorial position at a major American music school. His students perform in many of the world’s great orchestras – the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic – and many more. His students have also been nominated for—and won—numerous Grammy awards in various categories, including classical, contemporary, jazz, and bluegrass. VanDemark’s students have also held positions at major music schools, including Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Louisiana State University, Carnegie-Mellon, Peabody Conservatory, University of Delaware, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Music, Michigan State University, University of Colorado, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, and many others. VanDemark’s performing career has included solo appearances with the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, National Symphony of Mexico, Netherlands Radio Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and many more. Chamber music appearances have included the Cleveland, Guarneri, Muir, Colorado and Ying Quartets, the Gryphon Trio, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, as well as legendary pianists Andre Watts, Alfred Brendel, and Gary Graffman. VanDemark has also been featured on Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers Series” on three occasions, including in recital with Andre Watts. VanDemark is also the recipient of commissioned works by many composers, including three Pulitzer Prize winners: Gian-Carlo Menotti, Joseph Schwantner, and Christopher Rouse. As a founding member of Square Peg Entertainment, VanDemark developed and represented screenplays and properties of Oscar winners Ernest Thompson, Horton Foote, Eiko Ishioka, Ron Harwood, Oscar nominee Hesper Anderson, Stu Silver, Paul Theroux, and many others. VanDemark also developed the World War I story CODE BROTHERS for CTV (Toronto), THE WAYNE AND SUE SHOW for Tribune Entertainment, produced the album and music video THE GIFT with singer Linda Eder for Atlantic Records, and with television legend Sir David Frost, developed the Frederick Forsyth novella THE SHEPHERD in conjunction with Shaftesbury Films (Toronto). VanDemark also co-produced and cast SPEAK LOW, the highly successful Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Gala featuring Jerry Orbach, Donna Murphy, Duncan Sheik, and other stars of Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera in the music of Kurt Weill. VanDemark has also served as Music Supervisor for John Cougar Mellencamp's film, AFTER IMAGE. Acclaimed for his extensive work in the Native American community, VanDemark commissioned and developed the Native collaborative musical work CIRCLE OF FAITH, profiled in The New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Detroit Free Press, Minneapolis Star and Tribune, Denver Post, Lakota Times, and on NPR's Morning Edition. VanDemark has helped produce more than 40 performances of the work in the United States and Canada. As an accomplished amateur boxer, VanDemark was recently profiled on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, The Strad, on CBC's "Q," WNYC's "Soundcheck," and was featured at length on ESPN's E-60. VanDemark’s conditioning and boxing program for students, musicians, and the general public has also brought him considerable worldwide acclaim. His recent boxing/ conditioning presentations include the University of Tennessee, the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, Loyola University New Orleans, and the University of Santiago (Chile). VanDemark attributes the longevity and diversity of his career not only to his own athletic training, but also to his work in the the health care field in the 1970’s, when he worked extensively under the renowned neurologist Dr. Howard S. Barrows at the McMaster University School of Medicine in Canada in developing the groundbreaking Simulated/Standardized Patient Program (SPP). As a result of these achievements, VanDemark was named to the Industry Board of the American Health Council in October 2017. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review on iTunes!  I truly appreciate your support! Visit www.mindoverfinger.com for information about past and future podcasts, and for more resources on mindful practice. Join the Mind Over Finger Tribe here!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindoverfingertribe/ THANK YOU: Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme!  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson. Also a HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly! MIND OVER FINGER: www.mindoverfinger.com https://www.facebook.com/mindoverfinger/ https://www.instagram.com/mindoverfinger/


18 Oct 2019

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Halloween Special: The Curse of the Dittersdorf starring James VanDemark

Contrabass Conversations double bass life

Can a piece of music be cursed? After hearing this tale of repeatedly bizarre circumstances surrounding James VanDemark's repeated Dittersdorf Concerto performances, you'll be asking that same question! A big thank you to James for his idea for this episode, and be sure to check out James' past podcast appearance for more about his career as a double bass performer and teacher.


31 Oct 2017

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356: James VanDemark on boxing, projection, and 40 years of teaching at Eastman

Contrabass Conversations double bass life

James VanDemark just celebrated his 40th year of teaching at the Eastman School of Music. His students have held positions with many of the world’s major orchestras, including the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minnesota, San Francisco, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Rochester Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and the orchestras of Syracuse, Buffalo and Wichita. We dig into many topics, including: boxing and what it has done for James as well as his students the experience of being a principal bassist of a professional orchestra at 17 how he came to join the Eastman faculty in his early 20s studying with cellists like Paul Katz and Leonard Rose learning how to play for a bigger hall - lessons learned from Leonard Rose learning how to vary sound and color to blend in or to project out There’s also a great feature on Backstage Pass from Classical 91.5 celebrating James and his 40 years at Eastman. Thanks to our sponsors! This episode is brought to you by D’Addario Strings! Check out their Kaplan strings, which have versatility and control throughout the dynamic spectrum, rich tonal color palette, superb bow response, and beautiful balance. Enter our latest string giveaway for Kaplan strings at contrabassconversations.com/strings! Thank you also to the Bass Violin Shop, which  offers the Southeast's largest inventory of laminate, hybrid and carved double basses. Whether you are in search of the best entry-level laminate, or a fine pedigree instrument, there is always a unique selection ready for you to try. Trade-ins and consignments welcome! Subscribe to the podcast to get these interviews delivered to you automatically!


12 Jun 2017