V.com weekend vote: How recently have you seen an instrumental soloist perform live?

January 31, 2020, 1:53 PM · This week I posted a list of links concert calendars for violin soloists, and it made me ponder the question: When is the last time you've seen a violinist or other instrumental soloist play live?

soloist

I'm not limiting this vote to violinists, so if you have recently seen a violist, pianist, cellist, etc. play live, then that counts! (And I will be coming out with a calendar list for violists, as well!) I'm not counting singers, though, as that is a bit different. And for those of us who are orchestral musicians, you might be witnessing the performance from the stage, which is admittedly a bit different, but it does count for the purposes of this vote!

Sometimes it's not easy to find performances in your area, thus the calendar! But it does make a difference, if you live in a large or small city, and whether you live close to other cities or in a more isolated area. Ironically enough, the smallest city where I lived -- Bloomington, Indiana -- attracted a large number of classical soloists because of its enormous music school! When I lived in out on the Great Plains in Omaha, Nebraska, we had a good number of wonderful soloists coming to town, but if I wanted to branch out, it was easy to get to the next-biggest cities (Kansas City and Denver), which were a half-day and a day's drive away!

Right now I live in Los Angeles, an enormous city with an embarrassment of riches, when it comes to opportunities to see live performances. I've been lucky to catch some wonderful live performances lately, including violinist Ray Chen in November and Joshua Bell in October, both at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

And then I greatly enjoyed playing in a concert where violinist Tessa Lark performed with the Pasadena Symphony, also in October. I'm looking forward next week to seeing violinist Christian Tetzlaff play with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the week after that, Nick Kendall with the Pasadena Symphony, which I'll see from stage. And I must not leave out that I saw the pianist Alessio Bax perform recently, as a soloist, and in that concert with Josh Bell. All wonderful experiences.

Which concert soloists have you seen perform live? And how recently have you seen a live performance that featured a soloist? And how difficult is it for you to find a performance in your area? Please participate in the vote, then tell us all about it!

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Replies

January 31, 2020 at 09:19 PM · I am a fan of Daniel Hope and I'm lucky enough to see him play 6-7 concerts per year. It takes me 350 km from Italy to Switzerland to attend his concerts but it's worth it! For me it's always an amazing experience to see him perform live

January 31, 2020 at 09:38 PM · The soloist was playing with a community orchestra. Our primary type of music is chamber so soloists are rare there but the local community orchestras do have soloists from time to time (I suspect it is a budget issue).

January 31, 2020 at 09:39 PM · I saw Anne Akiko Meyers twice last year, both times in March. On March 1st, she came to the SF Bay Area and performed the Barber concerto with the Silicon Valley Symphony. Then on March 30th, she returned to perform a recital with guitarist Jason Vieaux. This was the same month that I performed the Bruch concerto with my community orchestra, so it was a busy month! But definitely fun...

February 1, 2020 at 12:45 AM · Excluding soloists performing with my own community orchestras, the most recent was Pinchas Zukerman in recital a little over a year ago.

In the last five years, again excluding soloists I was performing with, I've also seen violinists Hilary Hahn (twice), Rachel Barton Pine, and Aubree Oliverson, pianist Adam Golka (who is actually a childhood friend of mine), and clarinetist Jerome Simas.

For bigger names, I almost always have to go out of town. Sacramento rarely gets top-tier soloists. It has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the United States without a full-time professional orchestra, the city's main concert hall has poor acoustics, and classical music here is somewhat in the long cultural shadow of San Francisco.

February 1, 2020 at 12:53 AM · That said, if you count seeing them from the stage, I perform with 4-6 instrumental soloists per year in my community orchestras. In the last year, it's been violinists Er-Gene Kahng and Boxianzi Vivian Ling, and pianists Eric Zivian, Xavier Beteta, and Parker von Ostrand (the last is a local teenager).

February 1, 2020 at 01:38 AM · Hmm yeah it's been a while unless I count ... myself. But that's because this is restricted to soloists. We see a lot more chamber music here. But in a couple of weeks we're going to see the Roanoke Symphony because their principal cellist is performing the Lalo Concerto and our daughter wants to see that.

February 1, 2020 at 02:54 AM · Nobuko Imai!

February 1, 2020 at 03:27 AM · You picked the wrong time of year for this poll from Australia’s position Laurie.

In three weeks I am going to a recital by Garrick Ohlsson. And then Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Jonathon Biss, Akiko Suwanai, Augustin Haderlich, Daniel Mueller- Schott and Christian Tetzlaff throughout the year.

This is only a sample of those available in Sydney but $$$ are limited.

However it’s the middle of summer (34C/93F today) so there are no concerts for two months of mid-December to mid-February.

Terry

February 1, 2020 at 01:09 PM · When we lived in Norfolk, we were attenders at Norwich Baroque concerts - my former fiddle teacher is the director of this local HIP ensemble - and the last soloist I saw was Rachel Podger in September 2018, playing Bach like an angel from the pulpit in Norwich Cathedral.

We're in Yorkshire now, after a very troublesome house move, and haven't quite got our bearings, but I'm sure we'll find some other great concerts to go to, in time.

February 1, 2020 at 01:42 PM · Following up on 250, there aren't that many in January or late December here in the US either. Especially not in a college town where all the students are on break.

February 1, 2020 at 02:40 PM · More than 5 years. My days begin very early -- 4:30 AM. Most performances are in the evening, and I'm definitely NOT a night person. I also don't miss the drive time, parking arrangements, weather considerations, ticket prices.

But I have happy memories of the live performances I did hear and see -- and greatly value the experience. Now, as a YouTube Premium subscriber, paying a small monthly fee, I can get as many performances a week -- with no ads! -- as my schedule will allow. With today's HD video technology and sound systems, I get at least as much of a "high" from these performances as I did from going in person.

February 1, 2020 at 05:21 PM · I'm not going to exclude soloists with community orchestras I play with, because that's virtually all of them. There are several per year. A little less than a year ago I went on a road trip with Jasmine Reese to hear Er-Gene Kahng with Andrew Hsieh's orchestra, Camellia Symphony. Besides meeting Andrew in person, which was fun, it was a kind of neat little loop to close because 10 years ago, Er-Gene won the young artist competition for my community orchestra in Boston and I had accompanied her performing the Mendelssohn vc there. Community orchestra soloists count. You never know when and where you will see them again!

Also, our church pianist is a local professional who teaches and performs locally, and she will sometimes play a real concert piece as a prelude, postlude, or offertory. Her daughter is a PhD candidate in violin performance who comes back for Christmas sometimes and does a free concert as well (although not this year).

February 1, 2020 at 05:33 PM · We didn't go to any solo concert last year. I believe by the time we decided to see someone, either the tickets were sold out (because I procrastinated in buying them), or the seats available were not to our liking, or we had scheduling conflicts.

Itzhak was in town recently, but scheduling conflict prevented us from seeing him perform.

This year, we bought tickets to see Helene Grimaud (March), Anne-Sophie Mutter (June), and Gil Shaham (also June).

I wanted to see Joshua Bell this March, but again, scheduling conflict prevents me from seeing his concert.

My children's favorite violinist is Hilary Hahn, and want so much to meet her in person. I guess we have to wait until she's out of her sabbatical, and hope she goes to our town to perform :-).

February 1, 2020 at 05:52 PM · I didn't hear a live performance in January, but I expect to se and hear Mine Dogantan-Dack next Saturday playing the Emperor (https://www.facebook.com/Ensemble-Luce-345459316242208/?ref=py_c).

February 1, 2020 at 06:24 PM · Having the good luck of living in Hamburg, the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall offers plenty of opportunities. In addition, each summer we have the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival just north of Hamburg with plenty of great concerts as well. And while I look for violin pieces being played live, I also like to see and hear other stuff.

February 1, 2020 at 09:16 PM · Just to clarify, I wasn't excluding community orchestra soloists categorically. I heard Simas with a community orchestra. I just find that playing in the orchestra is a very different experience.

February 2, 2020 at 05:02 AM · Just this evening my orchestra accompanied the three finalists in the Gurwitz Competition so I heard (and played) the following three piano concertos within the past four hours: Prokofiev #3, Beethoven #5 (Emperor), and Rachmaninoff #2.

Not that the concert lasted four hours! Just counting backwards to the start time.

February 2, 2020 at 12:00 PM · Last night! Amit Peled played an unaccompanied cello concert with Bach Cello Suites and Ernest Bloch Scenes from Jewish Life. He’s doing the concert again today in Rockville MD, if anyone is interested.

February 2, 2020 at 11:23 PM · High school soloist. Kid was in his HS orchestra last year.

February 3, 2020 at 10:58 AM · I had the luck to get free tickets for the Slovenija Radio Orchestra performing with Mischa Maisky last november.

February 3, 2020 at 12:10 PM · I’ve seen James enhes and itamar Zorman in the last three months. In e next month I’ll see Isabelle faust and Perlman. In April I’ll be doing midori. I’m having a very good year for soloists so far.

February 3, 2020 at 12:50 PM · A local pro viola played Harold In Italy with one of my community orchestras last winter, that was a real treat, as both a orchestra player and listener.

Additionally, two local college students, trumpet and Harp, both of whom have performed locally. Also a real treat!

February 3, 2020 at 01:30 PM · I saw Gringolts play Beethoven VC last year and also Pogostkina play the Sibelius humoresques in original format. I had not heard them prior to the concert and now I can't listen to any recordings of the set because Alina played so well - the magic is only accessable in my memory.

I was lucky enough to hear Goldberg variations, very special concert, falling into musical 'trance'.

February 3, 2020 at 04:29 PM · Recently I’ve seen James enhes and itamar zorman. Some of the upcoming are midori, Perlman, Isabelle Faust and tabea Zimmerman.

February 3, 2020 at 06:04 PM · We have been fortunate enough to see great artists in town (Vancouver-BC).

James Ehnes is here almost every year. Months ago we had the Jerusalem Quartet with P. Zukerman and later I. Perlman. Gidon Kremer just came last weekend. This summer we will have A.S.Mutter.

We have a new conductor (2nd season) that seems to have better connections.

February 4, 2020 at 12:53 AM · We see a lot more chamber music than we do orchestral music, but last month we saw Midori in recital playing Beethoven sonatas, and over the last couple of years we've seen Joshua Bell, Augustin Hadelich (several times), Hilary Hahn (several times), Peter Wispelwey, Josh Roman, Anne Sofie von Otter, Isabel Faust, József Lendvay, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and others. We saw James Ehnes' quartet play Beethoven a couple of weeks ago, and we go see the Emerson String Quartet every year. In May we'll see David Finckel and Wu Han with Philip Setzer. They were a lot of fun the last time we saw them.

February 4, 2020 at 04:59 PM · Like most of you, I play more concerts than I go to. Andrew says that Sacramento is in the cultural shadow of San Francisco. My town is in the shadow of Sacramento.

February 5, 2020 at 06:06 PM · This is my first post. My wife ordered a violin for my 55th birthday coming up in a few weeks. I appreciate all the info on this site, including discussion for adult beginners. Just want to say thanks.

I’m smack in the middle of Iowa, and we are blessed with an incredible symphony orchestras. We had two soloists in the first half of the season, including Gil Shaham. And there are three more in the second half, which starts this Saturday.

I’m planning to watch a master class with Grace Park and a couple of students from the symphony academy. And then watch Ms. Park perform Mendelssohn’s violin concerto the following night.

February 6, 2020 at 10:12 AM · Sadly, it's been more than 5 years since I last had a chance to see a soloist. Mind you, that concert was kind of special: Pinchas Zukerman playing the Bartok Viola Concerto with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa conducted by Gustavo Dudamel!

Now that I'm back in Brisbane, I need to find work so that I can get back in the flow of attending concerts!

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