Tag Archives: summer

The Perlman Music Program

The Perlman Music Program Summer Music School, founded in 1994 by Toby Perlman, is an immersive seven-week program for exceptionally talented string musicians ages twelve to eighteen. They host concerts, masterclasses, open rehearsals and events all summer long.

We were finally able to attend a FREE Chamber Music Masterclass at the Clark Arts Centre on Tuesday night which featured Kim Kashkashian, Grammy-winning Armenian-American violist, who currently teaches viola and chamber music at the New England Conservatory. She worked with two quartets on movements from Claude Debussy, String Quartet in G Minor, Op.10 and Gabriel Faure, Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 15.

Kim Kashkashian working with her students

Kim Kashkashian working with her students

The talent of these young adults was astounding and watching Ms. Kashkashian work with them to improve their performance and their understanding of the material was inspiring. The format was that the quartets would each play their prepared pieces in their entirety, then Ms. Kashkashian would break it down phrase by phrase, line by line, and constructively critique and draw the very best from these young artists.

Hailed as one of the best violists in the world, Ms. Kashkashian has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “an artist who combines a probing, restless musical intellect with enormous beauty of tone.” The New York Times has joined in these accolades, praising her “rich, mellow timbre and impressive artistry.”

There were similar workshops conducted on Wednesday and Thursday nights which featured two other artist/faculty masters. The culmination of this week is the Chamber Music Workshop Celebration Concerts, matinée and evening, on Friday and Saturday.

These young adults are brilliant musicians and the Perlman Music Program offers unparalleled musical training to young string players of rare and special talent from all over the world. It is a privilege to be able to hear and observe these gifted young people and their instructors who possess such extraordinary talent. They are truly the leaders in the future of classical and chamber music and we are grateful to have been able to watch them perform in such a positive and nurturing learning environment.

View through the trees on the Perlman Music Program grounds

View through the trees on the Perlman Music Program grounds

The World’s Hottest Chile!

The Naga Jolokia (the name originates from the ferocious Naga warriors what once inhabited Nagaland, an area in the far north-east part of India), also known as the Bhut Jolokia, ghost or cobra chile, is considered to be the hottest in the world. The Guiness World Records certified in 2007 that the Naga Jolokia was the hottest chile pepper recorded to date, being 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.

The Naga Jolokia is found in Bangladesh, the Assam region of northeastern India and Sri Lanka. These fiery little peppers (2 – 3 1/2 inches long and 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide) range in units of heat on the Scoville scale from 850,000 units to 1,042,000. For comparison purposes, Tabasco sauce measures from 2,500 to 5,000 units. Yikes! The Scoville rating of these chiles is dramatically impacted by the climate they are grown in (they will have far less heat if grown in an arid versus a humid climate).

Believe it or not, this chile is used in India as a homeopathic remedy for stomach ailments, as a spice to induce perspiration in the heat of summer (for natural air-conditioning purposes), in smoke bombs or smeared on fences to keep wild elephants away, as a hand grenade ingredient for crowd and terrorist control, and as a pepper spray ingredient for police use and self-defence.

Bug Off – Improved Pepper Repellents Beat DEET!

Imagine dousing yourself with mosquito repellent at the start of summer and remaining bite-free nearly all season long!

Researchers in Gainesville, Fla., have identified several potent mosquito repellents that keep bugs from biting for up to 73 days — more than three times longer than the current gold standard, N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, better known as DEET.  DEET is the world’s most widely used bug repellent.

The experiment showed that “most of these novel acylpiperidines were equivalent to or better than DEET in duration of protection,” Katritzky writes in the journal article. His team reports that DEET repelled the mosquitoes for 17.5 days.  Some of the pepper-based compounds lasted up to 73 days.

The team published their findings in the May 27, 2008 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But because bug sprays wear off with water and washings, it’s unlikely you’d be able to spray once and keep bugs off all summer — unless of course you never shower, sweat, or swim.  You should always reapply insect repellents after such activities.  However, longer-lasting mosquito repellents are favorable, because many of us forget to reapply and don’t use protection when we need it — and chances are mosquitoes are around even when you don’t see them.  Using insect repellent helps protect you against dangerous mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and malaria.