Review: Daniel Hope Performs Fletcher Violin Concerto with Aspen Chamber Orchestra border=0 align=

Review: Daniel Hope Performs Fletcher Violin Concerto with Aspen Chamber Orchestra

July 19, 2018, 11:53 AM · ASPEN, Colo. -- On Tuesday, during a performance that featured British violinist Daniel Hope leading the Aspen Chamber Orchestra, I found myself dreaming about how much one might experience as a violin student at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Of course I never was a student at Aspen, though many of my friends and colleagues were. It's an intense summer program of lessons, performing, practicing, and just being here with some of the best teachers and performers on the planet, in a breathtakingly beautiful setting.

Tuesday's recital at Harris Concert Hall seemed like one of those unique and challenging performance opportunities, with Hope multi-tasking as conductor, concertmaster, soloist, inspiration for a violin concerto, and might I add, role model.

Hope is among those violinists whose regular gig requires conducting from the violin -- there are a number of others, including Joshua Bell with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields; and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, whom Hope recently replaced as Music Director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco. Hope is also Music Director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

Tuesday's concert required Hope to lead the troops through a thorny Shostakovich piece, a deceptively simple set of short pieces by Satie; and then to lead as soloist in a new Violin Concerto by composer Alan Fletcher, who also is President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Keep reading...

Interview in Aspen with Augustin Hadelich: the Ligeti Violin Concerto border=0 align=

Interview in Aspen with Augustin Hadelich: the Ligeti Violin Concerto

July 17, 2018, 12:25 PM · ASPEN, Colo. -- During the last few days I've been visiting Aspen, a place where many musicians have spent their summers studying, performing and teaching. In the winter the main attraction is skiing, but in the summer, it's classical music, in the form of Aspen Music Festival, which was founded in 1949.

What this means is that during the summer, this small ski resort town suddenly bursts with a population of classical music lovers and musicians. Music is everywhere. There are newspaper reviews of classical concerts every day, and copies of the festival schedule lying around everywhere. Yesterday I encountered a college-age couple talking over coffee about the merits of various violin players, while at the next table sat young man who sang a lead part in a performance of Rossini's "Barber of Seville," which I'd seen on Saturday. And there are also things like a bluegrass festival atop the mountain -- you have to ride a gondola up to see it.

It's that kind of place -- just walking down the streets, you might run into any number of people who are celebrities in our classical music world -- this summer you might pass artists such as Augustin Hadelich, Daniel Hope, Midori, Sarah Chang, Gil Shaham. Or you just might bump into one of the world's finest violin or viola teachers such as Paul Kantor, Robert Lipsett, Sylvia Rosenberg, Almita Vamos, Bing Wang, Masao Kawasaki -- the list goes on and on.

Over a period eight weeks, the Aspen Music Festival attracts a staggering number of top-flight musicians, playing host to more than 130 artists and faculty members who represent nearly every major conservatory, music school, and orchestra in the United States. During that period, more than 600 young musicians between the ages of 10 and 37 study at the Aspen Music School, from about 40 states and 40 countries. And there are some 300 performances, master classes, lectures, and panels, many of them open to the public as well as the students.

It's actually a little overwhelming.

I'm fortunate enough to be here while several violinists are visiting, including Grammy award-winning Augustin Hadelich, who is giving a recital Wednesday night, playing the highly unusual Violin Concerto by György Ligeti -- a piece that I must admit, I have never heard -- but I will! A few days later, on Sunday, Hadelich will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in a 4 p.m. concert with the the Aspen Festival Orchestra.

On Monday I spoke with Augustin about Aspen and about this unique and interesting concerto, for which he has become a champion. The Ligeti concerto, written in 1992, requires several of the orchestra players to tune their instruments to unconventional pitches ("scordatura" tuning, but to microtonal pitches), while the soloist tunes to conventional pitches. The music also requires four wind players to play the ocarina, an ancient kind of clay flute. At Aspen Hadelich will play a new cadenza by Thomas Adés, which he first premiered in January with the composer conducting the Boston Symphony (a performance that received glowing reviews). Keep reading...

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 230: Vilde Frang; Joshua Bell; Igudesman and Joo border=0 align=

The Week in Reviews, Op. 230: Vilde Frang; Joshua Bell; Igudesman and Joo

July 16, 2018, 4:33 PM · In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, Violinist.com each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Vilde Frang performed the Britten Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra.

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