Review: Nicola Benedetti Performs Wynton Marsalis's Violin Concerto in LA Phil Premiere border=0 align=

Review: Nicola Benedetti Performs Wynton Marsalis's Violin Concerto in LA Phil Premiere

July 29, 2016, 5:48 PM · Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis's new "Concerto in D" for violin is a brainstorm from a genius brain, but it's a storm that may yet need more taming.

The piece was written for Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, who performed it with enthusiasm and stunning technique at her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut Thursday night at the Hollywood Bowl, with Cristian Macelaru conducting.

While Marsalis, who is director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, is known primarily as a master of that genre, one could not call this piece a jazz concerto. It's more "American eclectic," or maybe even "world eclectic," with a dense landscape of musical ideas and unique textures for orchestra and violin. In fact, there may be enough ideas for about 10 concertos; and therein lies both its promise and its problem.

The piece appears to still be under revision; while the London premiere in November reportedly lasted 50 minutes, Thursday's performance clocked in at about 38 minutes. Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti played the piece with full commitment and mastery, still reading from the score, which may yet undergo further changes before its next performances, October 27 and 29 at the Kennedy Center, with the National Symphony Orchestra.

The first movement, called "Rhapsody," began with the solo violin, then went in many directions: an episode that sounded like musical pointillism over a jazz beat; then a high dive from the violin and the orchestra bursting into muscular marches. There were octaves, ghostly violin-playing, double stops, a whistle, even a helicopter (admittedly, the helicopter over the Hollywood Bowl was not likely in the score!). In another moment, the music blossomed in the orchestra like sunshine. Every idea was well-executed, but as a listener, it was hard to hold on to any of it. The end was wonderfully unique: a stomping in the orchestra, and high over that, the violin playing something like a Celtic step dance, which all seemed to wander away at the close of the movement. Keep reading...

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Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition

Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition: Thirty top violinists from around the world will gather August 14th to September 2nd for the inaugural Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition. Watch our live web stream and follow along with behind-the-scenes coverage on! (Ad)

Menuhin Competition London 2016 Documentary border=0 align=

Menuhin Competition London 2016 Documentary

July 28, 2016, 1:03 PM · Here's a new documentary video about the Menuhin Competition London, with celebrity appearances by jury members Julia Fischer, Ray Chen, Tasmin Little, Pamela Frank, Ning Feng; competition director Gordon Back; and Menuhin Competition 2016 winners Yesong Sophie Lee of the USA and Ziyu He of China. The competition occurred in April 2016, in conjunction with an 11-day celebration of the late Yehudi Menuhin's 100th birthday. The video was produced by Ali Khan, Black Swan Film and Video.


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The Week in Reviews, Op. 141: Vadim Gluzman, Lisa Batiashvili, James Ehnes border=0 align=

The Week in Reviews, Op. 141: Vadim Gluzman, Lisa Batiashvili, James Ehnes

July 26, 2016, 3:20 PM · In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Vadim Gluzman performed Mozart 3 and the Tchaikovsky with the Colorado Music Festival, and performed works by Franck and Tchaikovsky in recital with pianist David Korevaar.

Lisa Batiashvili performed the Dvorak with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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