March 2014

The Week in Reviews, Op. 24: Yevgeny Kutik, Tasmin Little, Alina Ibragimova in concert

March 25, 2014 14:11

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

Yevgeny Kutik performed the Sibelius with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra

Gil Shaham performed the Korngold with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Shaham, a longtime proponent of the concerto, knows this music in his bones; he brought immense expression to his playing, particularly in the first two movements, from the opening notes through the sweetly melancholic Romance."

Tasmin Little performed the Ligeti with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

  • The Scotsman: "…with soloist Tasmin Little, in Ligeti’s translucent Violin Concerto, (conductor Rossen Gergov's) sensitive control of its beguiling textures – the eerie wailing of the ocarinas, or the unnerving string clusters that surround the solo violin like an intricate gossamer web – was needle-sharp and compelling, backed up by Little’s immaculate, filigree interpretation."
  • The Herald: "...a mesmerising performance from the great Tasmin Little of Ligeti's tough and challenging Violin Concerto, whose rustling, buzzing and swarming pages bemused and baffled many listeners (who made a point of telling me); I enjoyed it, and thrilled at the moments of raw, naked Hungarian folk music that periodically poked through the busy texture."

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's New Century Chamber Orchestra and the men's chorus Chanticleer gave a performance called "Atlantic Crossing" in San Francisco.

  • San Francisco Chronicle: "NCCO, led by Artistic Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, offered an engaging tour through the music of some of the European composers whose emigration helped to enliven the midcentury world of American music."

Daniel S. Lee performed the Biber Mystery Sonatas in New York

  • The New York Times: "The violinist Daniel S. Lee offered a fleet-fingered, passionate interpretation of (Biber's Sonata No. 10 “The Crucifixion,”)….as part of Tenet’s TENEbrae series commemorating Lent."

Pinchas Zukerman performed the Brahms with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in New York

  • The New York Times: " would take a mind reader to account for why the performance in the first half of Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor was so ineffective."

Liza Ferschtman performed the Dvorák? with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales

  • The Guardian: " was in the finale, with its Bohemian dances, that Ferschtman's vivacious musical personality emerged most forcefully."
  • South Wales Argus: "In the marvelously persuasive hands of the brilliant young Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman (the Dvorák? concerto) could not have wished for a more convincing endorsement - passionate and totally committed."

Alina Ibragimova performed the Schumann with the London Symphony Orchestra

  • The Independent: "That things did not catch fire was due to the work, not the performers: the violin never released Schumann’s genius as the piano did, and this piece – redolent of very early Brahms – showed the embers of his creativity dying in the grate."
  • The Guardian: "…the whole work could hardly have had a more persuasive advocate. Ibragimova was in eloquent command of the music, playing with sumptuous tone, and catching the optimum balance of gravitas and grace."
  • Portsmouth News: "Russian-born soloist Alina Ibragimova made (Schumann’s late and seldom-played Violin Concerto) not only sing and dance but smile delightfully, both in the opening movement’s long-breathed second melody and in the haunting slow movement. And her fireworks elsewhere were dazzlingly articulate."

Joshua Bell performed Bach's Violin Concerto No. 2 with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

  • Santa Barbara Independent: "Friday’s performance from the British superstar chamber orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, under the direction of American violinist Joshua Bell, will certainly be remembered as one of the top classical music events of the year."
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal: "A little less than a year ago, the Academy scored a major achievement: It convinced renowned American violinist Joshua Bell to become its music director and principal soloist. The match is perfect, as a packed house at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall learned Tuesday."

Jack Liebeck performed the Prokofiev with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

  • The Guardian: "Jack Liebeck was the soloist in a performance of Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto that sounded like neither he nor the orchestra had spent much time with the piece."
  • The Scotsman: "Young British violinist Jack Liebeck was just as nuanced in a brittle yet passionate account of Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto – his second-movement pizzicatos ricocheted like gunshots, and he soared to the stratospheric heights that close the outer movements with touching charm."

Baiba Skride performed the Mendelssohn with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

  • Baltimore Sun: "Her colorful, often muscular tone effectively underlined the tensile qualities in the score, without slighting the sweeter side. The violinist's technical assurance proved impressive as well, particularly in the sprightly finale."

Eric Wyrick performed the Strauss with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

  • "(Concertmaster) Eric Wyrick scored a resounding success with his performance, which his colleagues warmly applauded."

Ray Chen performed Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

  • The Sydney Morning-Herald: "the reading offered by Ray Chen of Shostakovich's large-limbed Violin Concerto No.1 succeeded in drawing the listener along in its often spiky wake, becoming more compelling as the score progressed."
  • Limelight Magazine: "A consummate performer, he displayed brilliant artistic and technical control in his exploration of this intensely emotional work."

* * *


Congratulations to British violinist and pedagogue Simon Fischer, who has been given the 2014 European String Teachers Association award "in celebration of a lifetime contribution to string teaching." Simon will received the award at the European String Teachers Association Annual General Meeting on May 18.

Archive link

The Week in Reviews, Op. 23: James Ehnes, Hilary Hahn, Caroline Goulding in concert

March 18, 2014 15:16

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

James Ehnes

James Ehnes performed the Bartók Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Seattle Symphony

  • Seattle Times: "On every level — brilliance of technique, depth of interpretation, ensemble accuracy, and an obvious bone-deep love for the music — Ehnes lifted the concerto to dizzying heights, along with partnership from guest maestro André de Ridder."

Hilary Hahn performed the Brahms with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

  • The Star-Ledger: "Her performance was uncommonly subtle and intimate, showing a definite interpretation and sensibility."
  • "The soloist’s demeanour was a demonstration of an artist’s total absorption in the work at hand."

Caroline Goulding performed the Korngold with the Florida Orchestra

  • Tampa Bay Times: "Honestly, better pieces have been written to showcase the violin, but listening to Goulding more than made up the difference."

Joshua Bell performed the Bach with and conducted the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

  • South Florida Classical Review: "...his best effort came in his day job as violin virtuoso, with a blazing performance of Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso."
  • Palm Beach Daily News: "The soloist was always audible — the crescendos didn’t cover the soloist. The cadenza featured extreme double stops. There was a lot of applause at the end of this movement." (sic)

Karina Canellakis performed Michael McLean's Elements with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

  • Isthmus: "('Elements') is, no doubt about it, a virtuosic workout for the soloist. Canellakis seemed to relish the challenges and met them with wonderful aplomb (and without the handicap of music the audience already knows)." (Editor's note: Lovely that they reviewed this performance of the excellent composition "Elements" by Michael McLean, unfortunately, they described the wrong composer! The composer of "Elements" is Michael McLean, 47, of Los Angeles! Was it bad Googling by the reviewer or egregiously incorrect program notes? Who knows!)

Robert Martin performed the Glazunov with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra

  • Herald-Mail: "Martin, at one point, received a standing ovation."

Sayaka Shoji performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra

  • The Spokesman-Reviews: "When violinist Sayaka Shoji walked onstage to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (1935), she carried a magnificent Stradivarius, the “Recamier” of 1729. Within moments of her raising it to her shoulder and beginning the sad, somber solo melody that opens the piece, it was clear that she was worthy of the instrument. By the conclusion of the piece, the audience was asking whether the instrument was worthy of her."

Gil Shaham performed the Korngold with the Vienna Philharmonic in New York

  • The New York Times: "A ravishing account with Gil Shaham of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s sumptuous Violin Concerto prompted a playful encore, Kreisler’s “Schön Rosmarin,” played by Mr. Shaham and the orchestra."

Archive link

The Week in Reviews, Op. 22: Rachel Barton Pine, Anne Akiko Meyers, Leonidas Kavakos in concert

March 11, 2014 10:59

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

Rachel Barton Pine
Photo: Andrew Eccles

Rachel Barton Pine premiered Mohammed Fairouz's Violin Concerto with the Alabama Symphony

  • Birmingham News: "Pine's duets with concertmaster Daniel Szasz and principal cellist Warren Samples were lovingly played, Fairouz extending the soloist's expressive range into an ecstatic realm."

Anne Akiko Meyers performed the Bates with the Richmond Symphony

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch: "No electronica aboard for this trip back in time; rather, a clear and committed acoustic performance from Myers[sic], who navigated even the most abstruse passagework with grace."

Patricia Kopatchinskaja performed Mansurian's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Bartók's 'Rumanian Folk Dances' with the Britten Sinfonia

  • The Guardian: "Kopatchinskaja's inimitable range of tonal colours and dynamics came to the fore in both, boldly emulated by the ensemble's string players."

Leonidas Kavakos performed the Beethoven Violin Sonatas with pianist Enrico Pace

  • The New York Times: "…throughout the program, Mr. Pace demonstrated a limpid touch, immaculate control and expressive phrasing, his approach well matched by the beautiful sound and elegant musicianship of Mr. Kavakos."

Hilary Hahn performed the Nielsen with the Oregon Symphony

  • The Oregonian: "Technically, she was mesmerizing, executing all the concerto’s tricks—quicksilver runs, complex counterpoint, fast string crossings, a bit of pizzicato on the fly—with strong, lustrous tone and intonation so solid I was tempted to open the violin tuner app on my phone to have such a wonder confirmed. Equally amazing was her command of the piece in its entirety, not just having all the notes nailed down in her memory, which you could take for granted, but having a long view that turned all the seemingly disparate themes and gestures into a coherent whole."

Nikolaj Znaider performed the Beethoven with the Philadelphia Orchestra

  • Philadelphia Inquirer: "There was the sense that the violinist was using the hall as his soundboard, and, as yards shrank to inches, that he had found a method for distilling into a sound all that is fragile in the world."

Joshua Bell peformed Symphonie Espagnole with the Kansas City Symphony

  • The Pitch: " in his relatively brief 35-ish minutes onstage, Bell clearly demonstrated why he is considered one of the world's most deeply talented and prodigious masters of the violin."

Chee-Yun performed the Tchaikovsky with the West Michigan Symphony

  • The Muskegon Chronicle : "With lightning speed, her fingers flew along the fingerboard of her instrument and her bow danced on the strings making exquisite sounds."

Julia Fischer performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the San Francisco Symphony

  • San Francisco Chronicle: "Julia Fischer joined the orchestra for an expert yet rather cool rendition of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1. There's no denying the technical brilliance of her playing - her string tone is never less than resplendent, and her intonation and dexterity are beyond reproach."
  • "Even the tempo selections seem to be calculated to disorient the listener, only resolved when the performers gave a precise account of how the rhythms had been notated. The result was a stimulating interpretation that brought the listener to the final measure with a genuine sense of accomplishment."

Sarah Chang performed the Barber with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

  • The Scotsman: "With a vibrato as wide as a barn door in a rather overegged first movement and a look of grim determination on her face, it was hard to account for the sparkle that suddenly emerged in her helter-skelter finale, dispatched with impeccable technical prowess."

5 replies

The Week in Reviews, Op. 21: Clara-Jumi Kang, Arabella Steinbacher, and Menuhin winners Stephen Waarts and Rennosuke Fukuda in concert

March 4, 2014 13:00

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

Arabella Steinbacher performed on the same program with Menuhin Competition winners Stephen Waarts and Rennosuke Fukuda and the Cleveland Orchestra in Austin

  • "Cleveland's magnificent sound reminded me of the power of hearing music unfold live."
  • The Plain Dealer: "Dutch-American Stephen Waarts, the 17-year-old senior winner, strode meekly on stage and proceeded to deliver a blazing and supremely assured performance of the Allegro Moderato from Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 2…No less impressive was the junior winner, 14-year-old Rennosuke Fukuda, of Japan…(who) offered an account of Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro remarkable for its depth of feeling and technical agility. Barely a teenager, Fukuda played like a sophisticated, experienced adult. Violinist Arabella Steinbacher is no novice, either, as her ferocious performance of Ravel’s “Tzigane” made abundantly clear. "
  • La Scena Musicale: "The very well-organized Menuhin Competition Austin 2014 slacked off a little in this final event; neither prize winner was listed in the program insert nor was either introduced from the stage…." and, "…if any orchestra in the world has a finer string section than the Cleveland Orchestra, I haven’t heard it; much of the credit for that reality must go to Mr. Preucil. This man has a legendary reputation for attending to detail and we heard it in the unanimity of attack, the minute care taken over dynamics and phrasing and the total commitment of each man and woman in the string section. Watching Mr. Preucil is, in and of itself, worth the price of admission."

Clara-Jumi Kang

Clara-Jumi Kang performed the Mendelssohn with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra

  • Bangkok Post: "Kang possesses a truly authoritative command of technique, coupled with a highly sensitive musical sensibility, and these two facets combine happily in her reading of the Mendelssohn — mellifluous in the slower cantabile passages but exuberant and often fiery in the bravura sections."

Zach de Pue performed the Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

  • NUVO: "The best audience response came from the program's middle work, Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 (1916), with ISO concertmaster Zach de Pue as soloist…de Pue contributed his usual masterful technique and well controlled tone."

Tai Murray performed the Panufnik with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Liverpool Echo: "the last- minute substitution of American-born former BBC Young Generation artist Tai Murray (standing in for Vadim Repin) missed none of the subtlety required for the concerto's earlier gently undulating, mainly high-pitched 'singing' motifs

Christian Tetzlaff performed the Widmann with the National Symphony Orchestra

  • Washington Post: "This time, (composer Jörg Widmann) was present only in spirit, but the violin concerto he wrote for Christian Tetzlaff was a fine ambassador. It’s a knockout, and it fits the brilliant Tetzlaff like a glove."
  • Joshua Bell performed Symphonie Espagnole with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    Patricia Kopatchinskaja performed works by Bartok, Janacek, Brahms, and Mendelssohn with the Britten Sinfonia

    • The Telegraph: "She’s like an ingenue who’s wandered into classical music from folk music (she comes from a family of folk musicians), and hasn’t bothered to learn classical music’s protocols. Her black outfit was interestingly off-set by spangly slippers, which at times she discarded in favour of bare feet. In fast excitable passages she hammered away like a thing possessed, in sad passages she became as pliant as a reed, as if her whole body were producing the sound. Sometimes she got so excited she actually jumped from the platform."

    Vilde Frang performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in Las Vegas and San Diego

    • Las Vegas Reviews-Journal: "Frang gave it a more than competent reading, but it stopped a bit short of being inspiring.
    • The Union-Tribune: "Frang, an immensely talented young Norwegian violinist, has the all-too-rare combination of beauty of tone and incisiveness. Her approach to the concerto was clear, convincing and communicative."

    Audrey Wright and Foster Wang performed Vivaldi Violin Concerti with the New World Symphony

    • South Florida Classical Review: "Audrey Wright’s scintillating, non-vibrato sound captured the elegant airiness of baroque violin, with three echoing violin soloists out of sight above the audience." And, "Foster Wang’s performance of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in C had less finesse but more fire, alternating flashy solos with orchestras center stage and above to the right."

    Eugene Urgorski performed the Tchaikovsky with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

    • The Calgary Herald: "Urgorski is certainly a brilliant player, with a full, carrying sound, and the ability to handle the concerto's considerable difficulties with apparent ease."

    Archive link

    More entries: February 2014

    Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

    Shar Music
    Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

    Pirastro Strings
    Pirastro Strings

    JR Judd Violins
    JR Judd Violins

    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
    Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

    Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
    Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings

    National Symphony Orchestra
    National Symphony Orchestra

    Violins of Hope
    Violins of Hope Summer Music Programs Directory
    Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

    ARIA International Summer Academy

    Borromeo Music Festival

    Metzler Violin Shop

    Southwest Strings

    Bobelock Cases

    Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

    Jargar Strings

    Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


    Los Angeles Violin Shop


    String Masters

    Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

    Laurie's Books

    Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine