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The cover of the spring/summer 2004 Issue of SFSU Magazine


SFSU Magazine Online, Spring/Summer  2004, Volume 4, Number 1.

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Campus Beat LogoMusic Professor Jassen Todorov stands holding his violin and bow. Photo by Alan Group

Bee-hind the Scenes

Who do you call when you need to learn how to play the violin -- and fast? This past semester actor Richard Gere called on Jassen Todorov, SFSU professor of music. The master violinist, known for such daring feats as performing all 10 Beethoven sonatas in just three evenings (accomplished on campus this spring with pianist William Corbett-Jones), came highly recommended by SFSU's Alexander String Quartet.

What was the hurry? Gere's role as Saul Naumann in the forthcoming "Bee Season," a film based on the novel by Myla Goldberg, required him to play Bach's Chaconne for solo violin -- or at least look like he's playing it, which is more likely to be the case. Todorov says he and Gere worked very intensely with private lessons up to three times aMusic Professor Jassen Todorov smiles next to actor Richard Gere who has one arm around Todorov and a violin in the other, on the set of the 'Bee Season'. Photo by Ainur Zabenova week from January to April. (The only interruptions were Gere's trips to the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.) Still, the Bach piece is not easy for a novice. "[Gere] played very well but I don't think they will use his sound in the movie," the professor says. "Bee Season" hits theaters next spring.

As for star performances at SFSU, look for Todorov to play all 20 sonatas by Mozart in a four- evening concert series this fall.

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