The Week in Reviews, Op. 421: Benjamin Beilman; Pekka Kuusisto; Stella Chen
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.
Violinist Benjamin Beilman.
Benjamin Beilman performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
- The St. Louis American: "The flourishes of dynamic interplay aside, for long stretches of the concerto, it’s a dance song. You could grab your partner and dance to it. Beilman, though not stagey about it, danced throughout the entire performance. I was thinking Beilman danced with his violin more like a village fiddler than a concert violinist. Then, for his encore, he called Macelaru – now toting a fiddle of his own! – back onstage to play two Bella Bartok fiddle duets with him. It was a brilliantly generous and loving idea."
Pekka Kuusisto performed Jesper Nordin’s violin concerto "Convergence" with the San Francisco Symphony.
- San Francisco Classical Voice: "Though he conceived some of this music as far back as 2000, 'Convergence' does have a Zoom aesthetic. Real-time playing dovetails into its augmentations, the lags creating joyful, unexpected distortions. On Friday, Kuusisto’s variegated tone shone throughout."
Stella Chen performed the world premiere of Jonathan Cziner's "Solaris" violin concerto with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Chicago Classical Review: "The violinist sailed through the complexities and gave its impassioned flights full-throated lyricism in music that, Cziner said, was inspired by Chen’s 'artistry and infectious personality.'"
Yu-Chien Tseng performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, in the orchestra's debut concert in Japan.
- Focus Taiwan: "Taiwanese violinist Tseng Yu-chien (???) was the star of the violin concerto with a performance full of creative ideas arranged in multiple layers that reflected his maturation eight years after winning second prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition."
Itzhak Perlman performed Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the BYU Philharmonic at Brigham Young University.
- Deseret News: "He knows this piece backward and forward. And even after more than six decades, his fingers haven’t slowed down a bit. Perlman approaches his music with such an ease and comfortability that you almost forget you’re watching a master craftsman at work."
Augustin Hadelich performed in recital with pianist Orion Weiss in Charlottesville, Va.
- The Cavalier Daily: "...the pair serenaded listeners with an array of classical melodies, elegant sonatas and contemporary showpieces that left the audience fulfilled and warmed on an otherwise chilly Tuesday evening."
Yo-Yo Ma performed Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Joshua Bell performed and directed Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Academy of St Martin in the Field in Brisbane.
- Limelight: "The slow movement was rather lovely, though, perhaps because there was a little more space for Bell to direct rather than simply play, and the shift into the third movement was neatly done."
TwoSet Violin performed live in San Francisco.
- The Stanford Daily: " I was more impressed by their ability to deliver a decent rendition of 'Meditation' while hula-hooping nonstop for five minutes than by their comedy."
The BBC Proms featured seven violin concertos during its 2023 season.
- The Strad: "Seven violin concertos presented a surprisingly diverse bouquet of idioms at the 2023 BBC Proms, and a remarkably consistent level of finesse in performance."
Simone Lamsma performed Barber’s Violin Concerto with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, in August.
- The Strad: "Lamsma gave Barber’s luscious vehicle added strength with her 1718 ‘Mlynarski’ Stradivari, its tonal beauty completely filling the recently renovated David Geffen Hall."
Joshua Bell performed "Elements" at the Colorado Music Festival last summer.
- The Strad: "It was truly a privilege to hear the birth of a new work in such an atmosphere of warm collaboration."
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