John Williams’s concertmaster plays on at 90

Strings magazine has a lovely interview with Stuart Canin, who was concertmaster for Seiji Ozawa at the San Francisco Symphony and Kent Nagano at Los Angeles Opera, while also leading orchestras for John Williams soundtracks in Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump. 



Do you still play every day?

Oh yeah, I do. I play an hour and a half every day. I just gave a concert at Old First Church [on Sacramento Street in San Francisco] a couple of weeks ago and I have this documentary thing at Lincoln Center, so I have to play.

Read on here.

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  • I’ve known Stuart for a long time, and he’s just the nicest guy. It’s amazing to watch the years fall away from him as he starts to play.
    Full of great stories, never an unkind word about anyone, always ready to laugh…. a real sweetheart.
    Congratulations, Stuart, on your 90th!!!

  • The 1936 performance by Stuart Canin on the Fred Allen show, mentioned in the article as the precipitating event for the Fred Allen-Jack Benny Feud can be heard on the following podcast at about 52 minutes in:

    This inspired a several week-long story arc over on the Jack Benny show where he asserted his ability to play “The Bee” as well… but had to keep putting it off because his violin had been variously misplaced, lost, stolen or otherwise unavailable.

    Eventually Jack did indeed play “The Bee” on his program. That Feb 28 1937 broadcast can be heard at the Internet Archive:

    “The Bee” begins about 18 minutes in.

  • Congratulations, Stuart! I fondly remember 2010, when LA Opera under James Conlon produced a very memorable, well executed RING, in the remarkable staging and design by Achim Freyer. You took you final bow after the last of the cycles, having lead the Opera orchestra through the Herculean task of preparing for Wagner’s RING as only a handful of players had any experience with it. Ad multos annos!!!

    • Oh goody, a punctuation debate!

      Either is correct, but Norman’s usage is arguably more correct. The Oxford Dictionary states that: “[w]ith personal names that end in -s, add an apostrophe plus s when you would naturally pronounce an extra s if you said the word out loud”. I would say “John Williamses concertmaster” if I were to speak this sentence, whereas I would hold off on the “es” suffix if were to say “Jeff Bridges’ father, Lloyd”. Others, of course, might say “John Williams concertmaster”, which is why such rules can never be set in stone.

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