June 2014

The Week in Reviews, Op. 36: The summer season begins...

June 24, 2014 10:40

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

As we move into the summer festival season, we would love to include more performances in our weekly round-up. If you know of a published review of a professional violin performance, please email a link to robert@violinist.com. (Publicists, here's your chance to get your clients' reviews on the site!)

Anne Akiko Meyers
Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Anne Akiko Meyers performed works by Mozart, Somei Satoh, Bates, and Ravel in recital in Coral Gables, Fla.

  • South Florida Classical Review: "Performing with pianist Max Levinson, the violinist made the most of this music, giving a clean, energetic account of the first movement (of Mozart Violin Sonata in F Major), a high-spirited few minutes that bubbled along on sheer momentum."

Stefan Jackiw performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Grant Park Orchestra (despite a serious rainstorm!)

  • Chicago Tribune: "Particularly winning was Jackiw's suave cantabile treatment of Mozart's slow movement, here truly an operatic aria without words. Fingers and bow a blur, the fiddler flawlessly whipped through the 'Turkish' portion of the finale that gives the concerto its nickname – it was as if he and Kalmar sensed the heavens had nastier tricks up their sleeve."
  • Chicago Sun-Times: "Jackiw had the audience, orchestra and conductor Carlos Kalmar wholly on his side both musically and in terms of the weather circumstances. (He even humorously mimed pouring rainwater out of his violin in the break after the concerto’s first movement.) He’s surely, in his late 20s, someone we’ll be hearing more from."
  • Chicago Classical Review: "...the concert began 45 minutes late with Jackiw managing to perform all of Mozart’s 'Turkish' concerto with Kalmar and the orchestra. After the Mozart, Kalmar began the scheduled performance of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 3. But with the weather beginning to worsen again, festival officials called the concert off for good a few minutes into the first movement."

Matthew Truscott performed the Bach with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

  • The Telegraph: "Matthew Truscott’s performance of Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto, which was at the evening’s core, didn’t fit at all. Not because it wasn’t beautifully played; it was, both by him and the OAE. And that was the problem. A dreamy procession of musical flavours seems satisfying enough, until something really gripping comes along."

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 35: James Ehnes, Karen Gomyo, Stefan Jackiw in concert

June 17, 2014 10:29

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

James Ehnes performed the Elgar with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

  • Vancouver Sun: “This is not a piece for every soloist or every conductor, but it works magnificently for Ehnes, whose sound and temperament were completely in sync with the piece.”

Karen Gomyo performed the Tchaikovsky with the Milwaukee Symphony

  • Express Milwaukee: “Besides infinite, fluent technique, Gomyo’s elegant phrasing revealed insightful, captivating artistic touches.”

Stefan Jackiw

Stefan Jackiw performed works by Mozart, Lutoslawski, Brahms and more in recital with Anna Polonsky

  • Boston Globe: “Brahms’s D-Minor Sonata, connected without pause from the Saariaho, seemed to glow from somewhere behind the notes, as the violinist displayed an uncommonly visceral identification with the passionate sweep of this music, what it is actually trying to say.”

Tasmin Little performed the Walton with the BBC Symphony Orchestra

  • The Telegraph: “To the Violin Concerto, completed in 1939 on a commission from the Lithuanian -born virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, Tasmin Little brings a mellifluous glow and a capricious spirit.”

Catherine Manson performed three Beethoven Sonatas in recital with Alasdair Beatson

  • Herald Scotland: “Manson's playing, of an astounding clarity of articulation and a wonderful purity of style, revealed more of Beethoven's thinking, approach and intention for the violin sonata as a species than I have heard.”

Jacob Törmä performed the Dvorak with the Eroica Camerata

  • Birmingham Post: “Perhaps the soloist should aim for a better known concerto in which he can relax, thus letting his personality shine through.”

Christine Wu performed the Sibelius with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

  • Theater Jones: “Eighteen-year-old Christine Wu’s performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto demonstrated a musical maturity well beyond her age. A strikingly bold sound had no trouble filling the hall while her technical facility allowed easy access to all corners of the single movement presented.”

We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended. Or just tell us in the comments what you think about these reviews!

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International Violin Competition of Indianapolis announces its 2014 participants

June 11, 2014 08:18

The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis has announced this year's participants for the quadrennial competition, which will be held September 5-21, 2014.

The participants are:
Stella ChenF21American
Daniel ChoM21American
Jinjoo ChoF26Korean
Jung Min ChoiF20Korean
Nikki ChooiM25Canadian
Luosha FangF25Chinese
Kristi GjeziM24French
Fangyue HeF27Chinese
Ui-Youn HongF27Korean
Petteri IivonenM27Finnish
Yoo Jin JangF23Korean
Tianyun JiaF24Chinese
Wonyoung JungF28Korean
Suyeon KangF 25Australian
Nadir KhashimovM24American
Bomsori KimF24Korean
Dami KimF25Korean
Stephen KimM18American
Mariya KrasnyukF25Ukrainian
Tessa LarkF25American
Ji Yoon LeeF22Korean
Shannon LeeF22American
Youjin LeeF19Korean
Christine LimF19Korean / American
Ji Young LimF19Korean
Richard LinM23Taiwanese/ American
Jennifer LiuF22American
Vladyslava LuchenkoF26Ukrainian
Dominika PrzechF28Polish
Anna SavkinaF20Russian
Andrea SegarF28American
Ji-Won SongF21Korean
Chiharu TakiF27Japanese
Yu-Chien TsengM20Taiwanese
Ayana TsujiF16Japanese
Danbi UmF24Korean
Stephen WaartsM18American / Dutch
Andi ZhangF22Chinese
Nancy ZhouF21American
Areta ZhullaF28Greek

Photos available here. The ninth Indianapolis competition attracted 179 applicants from 31 countries. Of the 40 selected to move on to Indianapolis, 31 are women and 9 are men, with Korea sending 13 participants, followed by the United States with nine and China with 4. The participants range in age from 16 to 28, according to the IVCI.

Clara-Jumi Kang
The 2010 Indianapolis gold medalist, Clara-Jumi Kang. Photo by Denis Ryan Kelly, Jr.

The gold medalist in this year's competition will win $30,000, a Carnegie Hall recital debut in Stern Auditorium, and four years' use of the 1683 ex-Gingold Stradivarius.

Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles will be in Indianapolis this fall to cover the competition here on Violinist.com. You can see our archive of coverage from the 2010 Indianapolis competition at violinist.com/indianapolis.

2 replies

The Week in Reviews, Op. 34: Midori, Simone Lamsma, Isabelle Faust in concert

June 10, 2014 12:21

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

Midori performed Eotvos’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic

  • The New York Times: "The violin writing is episodic, all fits and starts, with perpetual-motion passages and bittersweet melodic flights, though nothing dwells too long in this restless concerto. Midori played with plush tone, myriad colorings and command."

Simone Lamsma
Photo courtesy the artist

Simone Lamsma performed the Britten with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • Chicago Tribune: "Lamsma, who was making her CSO debut, seized on the work's angular rhythmic drive as commandingly as she did its lyrical intensity. Her tone remained piercingly beautiful even as she tore through the virtuosic gymnastics of the spiky central Vivace. But it was in the troubled Passacaglia finale where her deep feeling for the anxieties that lie beyond the notes sealed her success."
  • Chicago Classical Review: "Making her CSO debut, the Dutch violinist—wearing her national color in a form-fitting orange dress—was a largely worthy advocate though her playing was less technically airtight than what local audiences expect from guest artists with the CSO."

Leila Josefowicz performed the Stravinsky with the National Arts Centre Orchestra

  • Ottawa Citizen: "Josefowicz’s sound is clear and supple and her technique is exact, serving every twist, turn and nuance in the score with something close to perfection."

Nigel Kennedy performed the Beethoven with the Oxford Philomusica (and then hit a local jazz club to perform some Jimmy Hendrix)

  • Oxford Mail: "World-famous violinist Nigel Kennedy wowed audiences in a special city concert then popped round the corner to play an impromptu gig at a jazz club."

Joshua Bell performed the Sibelius with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

  • NUVO: "Throughout the concerto Bell delivered a dominantly rich violin sound, never overshadowed by the orchestra and handling all of Sibelius's most difficult figurations with seeming effortlessness."

Isabelle Faust performed the Berg with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe

  • The Guardian: "(Faust) gave a rapt and intensely moving account of this most devastating and poignant of all 20th-century concertos,…enormously enhanced by the sympathetic and unobtrusive control (conductor Bernard) Haitink also brought to the translucent and wrenching orchestral music."
  • Classical-Music.com: "Faust’s stormy welter of notes at the start of the Allegro were wildly spontaneous, and orchestra’s jagged syncopations dragged on her with sinister force. Her sheer range was remarkable, from hoarse barking to the golden shimmer of her lyrical playing."

Noah Bendix-Balgley performed Beethoven's Romances for Violin and Orchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

  • Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "This concert provided another welcome opportunity to hear him as a soloist before he departs to become first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic next season."
  • Haik Kazazyan performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Riverside Symphony

    • The New York Times: "Playing with a burnished tone, Mr. Kazazyan gave an assured performance that revealed the music’s contemplative lyricism, particularly in the lovely second movement."

    Laurence Jackson performed Mozart's G major Violin Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    • Birmingham Post: "His reading was urbane but never limp-wristed, his endearing diffidence of manner put spotlight on his perfection of tone and intonation, and the relaxed ease of his bowing."

    Yang Tianwa performed the Korngold with the Hong Kong Philharmonic

    • South China Morning Post: "Yang Tianwa was dazzling in Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto in D. She played with heartfelt expression, perfect control and a rich, commanding sound."

    Joan Plana, Janelle Davis, Brandi Berry, and Jeri Lou Zike performed Valentini's Four-Violin Concerto, and Emily Dahl joined Plana for Vivaldi's Two-Violin Concerto, with Baroque Band

    • Chicago Tribune: "All the pieces, Plana said, were personal favorites, which zesty, infectiousness direction underlined. All the pieces additionally gave him prominence as violin soloist, making demands that caused intonation problems evident enough when submerged but glaring when exposed and lengthening as the evening wore on."

    We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended. Or just tell us in the comments what you think about these reviews!

    1 reply

    The Week in Reviews, Op. 33: James Ehnes, Tai Murray, Veronika Eberle in concert

    June 3, 2014 14:06

    In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

    James Ehnes performed the Beethoven with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

    • The Star-Ledger: "James Ehnes proved a technical marvel as the soloist for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, a much-loved work that carries Mozartian grace but also an intrepid quality."
    • Examiner.com: "The energetic Rondo: Allegro (Round: Glad) came off brilliantly, giving the lie to the misperception that this concerto is introspective, not flashy. The violinist played the cadenzas by Fritz Kreisler."

    Tai Murray
    Photo © Marco Borggreve

    Tai Murray performed the Tchaikovsky with the Alabama Symphony

    • The Birmingham News: "Murray, a violinist whose star has already risen at age 32, delivered a gripping solo in the Tchaikovsky concerto."

    Simone Lamsma performed the Britten with the Cleveland Orchestra, substituting for Janine Jansen

    • The Plain Dealer: "Filling in for an ailing Janine Jansen, the rising Dutch violinist managed on her Cleveland debut not just to get through the originally scheduled work, Britten's Violin Concerto, but also to triumph with it. Thus did she go down in history both for a remarkable substitution and for giving the work's Severance premiere."

    Akiko Suwanai performed the Tchaikovsky with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Tokyo

    • Philadelphia Inquirer: "…there was nothing passive about (conductor) Nézet-Séguin's collaborative performance, in which the orchestra seemed to wrap itself around soloist Akiko Suwanai, a wonderful player who seemed rather more wonderful with the Philadelphians framing her."

    Veronika Eberle performed the Beethoven with the London Symphony Orchestra

    • The Guardian: "Exceptionally delicate dynamics were a hallmark throughout, as both orchestra and soloist spun the first and second movements out into the merest scintillas of sound, which made the closing rondo all the more impressive for being harder won than usual."
    • The Arts Desk: "I thought that the Swabian violinist Veronika Eberle appeared hesitant at the start, but grew in authority."

    Pekka Kuusisto performed the Sibelius with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    • The Telegraph (third item): "He brought a sense of occasion to his performance and seemed enraptured with the music."

    Livia Sohn performed the Pergolesi with the Spoleto Festival chamber orchestra

    • The Post and Courier: "Livia Sohn soloed in front of an improvised Baroque chamber orchestra. It was a lovely piece played with pure grace, intelligence and the right dose of sentiment."

    We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended. Or just tell us in the comments what you think about these reviews!

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