I was there!

November 5, 2006 at 08:56 PM · I have greatly enjoyed the competition threads on this site, because they are so vital and current. We hear the performances as they happen, or at least within a day or two. How much better would our discussions be if they were all informed by daily performances? Many of us live in areas where we can frequently attend concerts by soloists, groups, and orchestras, and I encourage postings about those concerts!

What have you seen recently that has inspired you or given you material for questions?

Replies (88)

November 6, 2006 at 06:36 PM · Does this help? I was at the CSO on Saturday night to hear Leonidas Kavakos play the Bartok....aaaaaaahhhhh it was fantastic! Leonidas is officially the Greek God of the Violin! The Brahms symphony was damn good as well. :)

November 7, 2006 at 01:55 PM · Not so recent, about a year ago we went to an orchestra concert. Our seats were so close to the conductor, we heard all the principals in the string section distintively. It was more like listening to a quartet, occasionally interrupted by wind and percussion and general humming background of the rest strings. Following the scheduled orchestra program, an orchestra member played a Beethoven violin sonata to whoever wished to stay. Marvelous performance with very pretty sound. I still hear it in my head.


November 7, 2006 at 03:16 PM · Funny Maura, it was this week's soloist that inspired me to post. Even though I was sitting well behind Kavakos and couldn't stare at him all the time (!) I learned more than I have in months. I've never seen playing look easier.

November 7, 2006 at 04:12 PM · Hey Nathan,

Kavakos is playing the same piece with us this week (Seattle Symphony).

Looking forward to it.

We did play some wonderful concerts with Pinky Z.

He conducted and performed the Beethoven Vln. Concerto.

It was superb.

November 7, 2006 at 07:27 PM · I believe it! I'll never forget the first time I heard him play, Elgar concerto here with Barenboim. Blown away in more ways than one. :) I've had the chance to see him a few times in Ottawa as well, and he's another one who's fun to watch as well as hear.

November 7, 2006 at 07:32 PM · I got to see Robert McDuffie play the Bruch with the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra last week... that was pretty awesome.

November 7, 2006 at 07:59 PM · How do you orchestra players concentrate when there's a soloist? I always find it difficult when there's a superb soloist playing, and I find myself drifting off, listening to them.

November 7, 2006 at 08:33 PM · Greetings,

I think i was like that to begin with but I suddenly realized that it was more usically rewarding (very pompouios expression...) to listen to the soloist, and try to fit it inot the context of my part and the whole orchestra. Its kind of a shift from focus to awarness. One does of course, ignore the conducter ;)



November 7, 2006 at 09:34 PM · Pieter,

It is true especially when there is a stellar soloist playing. But the thing is, it is our job to focus on the task at hand and provide a solid accompaniment............

I do remember a concert at Aspen when Rober McD. was playing Chausson "Poeme".

Well........Chausson lost :) LOL

November 7, 2006 at 10:23 PM · Nathan,

I kept looking at the section violinists wondering which one was you. :) BTW, was I seeing things, or has Leonidas grown a beard?!

Gennady, I think you'll enjoy his Bartok, it's perhaps the most lyrical and romantic performance of that piece I've ever heard. Great stuff.

November 7, 2006 at 11:14 PM · I am sure. I loved his playing in NYC when he won the Naumburg Competition years ago.

November 7, 2006 at 11:50 PM · Maura,

Leonidas's trimmer broke a while ago, and he is too superstitious to replace it


November 8, 2006 at 12:22 AM · Are you serious? O_o

Keep in mind: I'm a violist, gullibility is part of my nature...

November 8, 2006 at 12:37 AM · Ilya,

Ew, so what's he going to look like by the end of the season? He looked sort of adorably scruffy on Sat., but if he keeps refusing to shave, well....


November 8, 2006 at 05:17 AM · I won't lie, there were a few comments last week about his bear-like visage. Maybe it's a Samson effect? He certainly seemed to be full-strength.

Our audience were so lame! He never had a prayer of playing an encore. But I had heard tales of a guitar-like encore he had played in the past, and when I asked him, I found out that it is a Ricci transcription of a guitar tune by Tarrega. Pity I couldn't hear it this week. Gennady, pass the word to keep the ovations coming in Seattle so that you get the encore! And some overtime. :)

November 8, 2006 at 05:31 AM · For sure :)

November 8, 2006 at 07:59 AM · Nathan, I heard that encore in a concert. Just WOWWWWWW I couldn't believe my ears. And when I found out that he did it all ricochet three bows down one bow up... :O :O :O :O

November 8, 2006 at 08:12 AM · Well, Ilya did a magnificent performance of the Shos VC 1 on Nov 2 here in Kuala Lumpur. He performed with the BBCSO under Belohlavek. So concentrated and sustained throughout. He also gave a terrific encore - Ernst's Erlking transcription.

November 8, 2006 at 08:24 AM · what a showoff...

November 8, 2006 at 09:29 AM · It's not a show-off. If I could even play all the notes at 1/4 of Ilya's speed, I'd be thankful.

November 8, 2006 at 01:59 PM · "Our audience were so lame!" Maura, you were one of them.

But seriously, would that guitar like piece be beautiful on its own or is it more impressive done on violin with a seemingly impossible technique? Or phrased differently, do we rave about a painting because it is beautiful or because it's done by a cat? Now, I am dead.


November 8, 2006 at 02:57 PM · Ihnsouk, Nathan, I'll have you know I was one of the last people still clapping. :) No way I was going to let Leonidas leave without an encore! But then I figured he was probably pretty tired after that Bartok... :)

November 8, 2006 at 03:13 PM · Ihnsouk, I've had that discussion even about the Erlkonig piece mentioned above. That's about as close as we'll get to a cat painting a portrait!

November 8, 2006 at 03:46 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

To: ALL performing violinists

Dear Colleagues:

What ever happened to the encore presentations of yesteryear, e.g., Elgar's Salut d'Amour, Wieniawski's Legende, Vieuxtemps' Reverie, Ysaye's Reve d'Enfant, Paganini's Cantabile, etc., etc. Ernst's Erlkonig for dessert? Especially after (as listed by Ms. Gerety) the Bartok?! AH, YOUTH, or a vestige thereof. However, with a steady diet of encore set-ups like the Ernst, Leonidas could be getting real old,.....real fast! Maybe his plush facial hair is a harbinger of things to come? Perchance, The Last Rose of Summer....in November??

Keep on truckin', y'all.

Skowronski: Classical Recordings


November 8, 2006 at 06:19 PM · Nathan, how was Lisa's Sibelius in March???

November 8, 2006 at 08:39 PM · My daughter, 17, just played Mozart #20 piano concerto, first movt. with our orchestra. The first and only thing she has ever played with orchestra. She won the concerto competition.

I sat inside first stand in the violins playing with her and watching.

Now that was scary!

She did great.

November 9, 2006 at 01:36 AM · Andrew, I didn't hear that so I must have been off that week. I've heard her name mentioned very positively around the orchestra from time to time, so it must have been great.

November 9, 2006 at 03:50 AM · Hey Nathan,

We rehearsed with Leonidas K. today, the Bartok,......... he was awesome!

WHAT A PLAYER?! Maaaan. Fantastic! :)

November 9, 2006 at 04:03 AM · Saw Christian Tetzlaff play the Beethoven and Schoenberg concertos last night with the Boston Symphony. It was PHENOMENAL on all three critical levels: as an emotional experience, as an intellectual experiment, and as violin playing.

November 9, 2006 at 05:39 AM · Okay, that's it - I'm finally gonna post. :) Nathan, whatever do you mean? A cat painting a portrait? I love the imagery but...what does that have to do with the Ernst? By the way, I'm way to lazy for that piece, encore or otherwise. Too uncomfortable, for one thing. Too....stretchy. Good word, eh?

November 9, 2006 at 05:51 AM · The cat portrait was Ihnsouk's imagery from earlier in the thread!

It's funny, the last time I had heard the Bartok live was when Tetzlaff played it with us a year or two ago.

Gennady, I wonder if you notice anything about Kavakos' left hand that's noteworthy. Most of us found ourselves drawn to the right hand/arm, which looks so unorthodox. But I personally couldn't see his other hand, and it was so accurate! Maybe there's nothing there to see, just a relaxed hand always in position?

I'll admit I missed a few entrances last week watching the soloist instead of my part. I try not to make it too obvious. I learned a while ago not to miss any entrances because I'm watching the conductor!

November 9, 2006 at 06:18 AM · Yup! I agree, his bow arm is great (but looks very much old school).

Nothing wrong with that, and it works magnificently for him.

In fact his right hand thumb is right accross from the third finger, making the index come over the stick ala-Milstein.

His left hand is really one of the best I have seen. Spectacular.

The colors he gets, and the nuance, and the breadth of emotional range and content is spellbinding...............

November 9, 2006 at 04:19 PM · I have put a review up on my blog of a very recent james ehnes concert - he plays with his thumb well above the fingerboard, its quite unusual.

November 9, 2006 at 09:27 PM · Although it wasn't a very recent performance I was very inspired in the last several years by Nathan's own performances of Tschaikowsky and I believe (my lousy memory) Prokofiev with the Lexington Philharmonic. Nathan has a gorgeous tone and great musical sensitivity which impressed me as much as many well-known soloists whom I have heard while playing in various orchestras.

On a long road trip I suprised a friend of mine (who's in a full-time professional orchestra) by putting on the cd concert recording of the Prokofiev without commentary. He was quite "blown away" and wondered which famous soloist it was! The thought that Nathan (in his younger years) was an occasional member of the same violin section as myself is both inspiring and a bit intimidating (except as you can tell from his posts, he's also very nice)

November 9, 2006 at 11:08 PM · Ray’s contribution summoned me from the shadows to add that I too had the memorable pleasure of hearing Nathan, playing the Brahms concerto in the final round of the Sion competition in 2004. He is a consummate musician and does us fellow Kentuckians mighty proud indeed. My husband kept his cracks about my barefoot bourbon-weaned childhood to himself for several weeks after that enlightening experience.

November 10, 2006 at 01:06 AM · Leave it to v.com to find some Kentuckians! Thank you. You know what we prefer to put in the baby bottles now? Ale-8!

November 11, 2006 at 02:16 AM · Just came from a faculty recital; Jonathan Crow. He played the Elgar and Strauss Sonatas, wow. What a violinist. The youngest ever concertmaster of any orchestra in North America and again I see why.

November 11, 2006 at 02:48 AM · Yesterday I heard Andrew Manze and the English Consort at Emory University in Atlanta. Amazing hall. Amazing concert. They played a CPE Bach Sinfonia, Mozart Violin Concerto #3 in G Major, Mozart Adagio in E Major, and Mozart Symphony #40 in g minor. The clarity of sound and shaping was fantastic. Plus, Andrew Manze always has a few improvisatory surprises. Then it was back to reality today-up at 5 a.m., Twinkling 1st graders at 7:45 a.m.

November 11, 2006 at 06:37 PM · Hey Nathan,

Kavakos has been absolutely superb.

Eventhough he has received standing ovations, no encore as of yet. He still has two more performances.

I did ask him about the mysterious encore, and he said if they clap hard enough, perhaps he will play it today.

BTW, I like his Peccatte very much.

November 12, 2006 at 06:02 AM · Apologize to Mr. Kavakos on behalf of the good people of Chicago for the lame applause there, please! :)

November 12, 2006 at 07:51 AM · Roby Lakatos & Ensemble tonight. Their first concert in the US, apparently (or maybe just their first with orchestra?). PHENOMENAL. Must be very relaxed to play all those staccato 16ths at m.m. = 176 all night long.

November 12, 2006 at 08:53 AM · Andrew, are you talking about Lisa Batiashvili? I saw her play the Sibelius at her premiere with the Philidephia Orchestra two summers ago. It was an incredible performance in every respect. It really blew me away, which is probably more impressive considering I saw Perlman play the Beethoven the night before. Completely overshadowed that performance. Unfortunately the orchestra somehow gave a dissapointing performance of the Dvorak 9th aferwards. Or maybe it was just dissapointing after that Sibelius...

November 12, 2006 at 01:46 PM · I just saw Anne Akiko Meyers last night play the mendelssohn, it was amazing, and blew me away. She also played an encore by a mexican composer

November 13, 2006 at 06:58 PM · That's great Gennady, be sure and let us know if it happens. Maura, I know you were giving it your best. :)

November 13, 2006 at 09:28 PM · I saw Perlman play the Bruch G Minor in September in Louisville for the opening night of the season with the Louisville Orchestra. Fifth row in front of the first violins! I saw every brow lift and smile. He also signed my Paganini caprices book backstage! His recodring of the caprices are my favorite.

November 14, 2006 at 01:26 AM · Happy to hear about a great live Perlman experience! Lately I've seen him conducting more often than playing, which shouldn't be. I've been touched by his live performances on a few special occasions and of course many of his recordings are my favorites of those works.

November 15, 2006 at 04:30 AM · If you'd like to wean your violin kids on Ale-8, a weeks supply is $8. Cheap. Volume discounts available to certified Suzuki teachers. Order here.

November 18, 2006 at 08:23 AM · Last Wednesday night I heard Roby Lakatos and his 5-man ensemble in Madison, WI. After the lengthy debate on him on v.com a while ago, I was curious. In a word, fantastic! His technique is strong and secure, up to soloist standards. He has quite a bag of tricks - the famous pizzicato (2 fingers in the right hand and left hand simultaneously), he's fond of long delicate upbow spiccato, and some showoff harmonics beyond the fingerboard. But tricks aside, his playing and temperament sparkled, tossed off with great ease and a smile. He's also a darned good arranger. The virtuoso group considers itself mainly a jazz ensemble (his liner notes in the newest CD), and they incorporate quite a variety of styles. At times, I heard Regina Carter/Kenny Baron, and yes, Stephane Grappelli. Only negative, amplification, but it wasn't too intrusive. If you want to hear a real virtuoso making his own path, it's worth the effort to go see him.

He may be the kind of musician Lewis (aka Toni) has in mind on another thread, but his reputation definitely did not preceed him (half full house, disappointing). Other notes: a dynamite cimbalon player worth the price of admission. What I thought was stage decor - a small, round bar table with a wine bottle and 2 glasses. But midway through the first half, Lakatos walked over and poured himself a glass during a jazz piano solo, and continued to sip during the rest of the concert. Didn't seem to affect his playing.

November 18, 2006 at 11:55 AM · Eric,

If you knew how much whisky he consumes before going on stage, a little wine during performance wouldn't surprise you:)


November 18, 2006 at 02:07 PM · I remember the last time I was really sick, couldn't sleep, on the couch at 4 AM feverishly flipping channels. I ended up on the arts channel and saw an outdoor concert with a mustachioed violinist that I assumed was a fever-dream when I got up the next morning. But I looked it up, and it was him! I don't know that I've ever seen quicker bowstrokes. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until I see him again in an unaltered state to judge much else about his playing!

November 18, 2006 at 03:58 PM · I have a recording by some guy I can only assume is Roby's father or uncle or something, Sándor Lakatos. He's amazing, but I haven't actually heard much of Roby though. Anyone know where he and his band are playing next?

November 18, 2006 at 05:31 PM · Lakatos' concert schedule is here:


However, I am not sure it's complete, as I heard someone in the sign-the-CD line after the concert say he's appearing in Chicago sometime next year. However, no such concert is on his schedule.

Sandor Lakatos comes from the same large extended family of Hungarian musicians; I don't know the relationship. A decent bio of Roby Lakatos is on his web site, or here, from a Carnegie Hall concert last spring:


November 18, 2006 at 06:26 PM · Just curious if anyone's heard of James Greening-Valensuela ?

November 18, 2006 at 06:29 PM · When Lakatos came here last week (Spokane WA), the cimbalom was stuck at customs in New York. The cimbalomist was there but had no instrument to play on. We had a big audience (if not sold out, then close), and they roared after every number.

November 18, 2006 at 06:30 PM · Also, last night we were supposed to play the Szymanowski Concerto #1 with Jennifer Koh, but she had to cancel and we instead did the Mendelssohn with Tai Murray (who had 2 days' notice). She did a pretty amazing job. The concert will be broadcast online on Monday 11/20, 7pm pacific at http://kpbx.org/ -- so you too can say "I was there" even though you weren't.)

November 18, 2006 at 08:24 PM · Bruce,

What? You mean the Spokane orchestra doesn't have a spare cimbalom he could have used? :)

November 19, 2006 at 12:33 AM · I just came back from a masterclass given by Pinchas Zukerman. As always, he was entertaining and informative. I sat right at the front and took advantage of his taking questions.

He presses very hard on the violin, but unlike some other players who really pronate with the bow, he doesn't have a crunchy sound that I don't like.

Whenever he demonstrated you could just feel all the violinists in the room smiling.

He seems to be quite devoted to teaching, and told one of the students to send him an e-mail with a video file of his new bow arm.

November 19, 2006 at 04:54 PM · Maura - our cimbalom was in the shop :-P

November 19, 2006 at 11:58 PM · Just saw Zukerman and the NACO do Mozart G-, Jaques Hetu's 3rd symphony (he wrote a great piece for solo violin by the way), and Brahms 3rd.

Zukerman is such an incredible player. I loved every second of his playing, even if I didn't like how he phrased everything. The great thing about him being the conductor of the NACO is that the relationship he has as a soloist with them is so nuanced and tight. They know him, and vice versa.

November 20, 2006 at 02:06 AM · Pinky is a great player and a wonderful guy.

We recently played Beethoven with him and him conducting, it was Bliss!

November 20, 2006 at 03:40 AM · Just heard Baiba Skride play Sibelius concerto. Also heard Kyoko Takazawa play Brahms a few weeks back. Both on Strads from the Nippon foundation.


November 20, 2006 at 04:06 AM · I have to agree with you guys on Zukerman. I've derived so much inspiration from him, and more so since I've gotten to see him play up close. I'm sure I'll post again when I see him here in a few months.

November 20, 2006 at 11:35 AM · Gennady,

I never heard of the clarinet arrangement of Beethoven concerto


November 21, 2006 at 01:18 AM · Ilya,

Michael Collins recorded the clarinet arrangement of the Beethoven with Pletnev and his Nationalists for DG.

It's nice, but when it comes to Beethoven, you can't beat the real thing.


November 21, 2006 at 04:07 AM · Ilya,

Wassup man?

Clarinet?? Beethoven Concerto? Zukerman?

......r u being funny? ;/

Pinky must be a dear friend?!

If that's how you feel about him, I'd hate to know how you feel about another comrade Dmitry Sitkovetsky?!

November 21, 2006 at 04:22 AM · Clarinet arrangement? Beethoven? I am confused...

November 21, 2006 at 04:32 AM · it's just another one of Ilya sick little sexual jokes.

They're a depraved bunch, those critters from St. Pete...

November 21, 2006 at 04:38 AM · Greetings,

at least their underpants are clean,



November 21, 2006 at 03:36 PM · Pieter,

yeah, and the Petersburgers are the civilized ones...

November 22, 2006 at 05:08 AM · Ilya / Maura:

As you can see from the link, without even clicking on it, truth is stranger (and sicker) than fiction.


I've heard that the guy is an incredible clarinetist, whatever that's worth...

November 22, 2006 at 08:57 PM · That's even weirder than the flute arrangement of Khachaturian violin concerto...

December 20, 2006 at 06:54 PM · Hi, you can see a few of Roby's videos on his own website: http://www.robylakatos.com/video.htm

The man's an absolute legend, I was lucky enough to do a few jobs for him on a few occasions and seeing his technique and hearing his tone first hand is quite an experience. His violin, by the way, is a Pietro Guarneri. His bow is the real gem though.........

December 20, 2006 at 07:53 PM · WOW...those Lakatos videos are great! What a virtuoso--no doubt the blood of Bihari does flow through his veins! (although I must say I'm amused by how the most famous piece of Hungarian gypsy music, Monti Csárdás, was actually written by an Italian!)

December 20, 2006 at 08:40 PM · Greetings,

hah! we Italians can do anything. We just prefer taking siestas. Commonsense.



December 20, 2006 at 10:33 PM ·

December 20, 2006 at 10:34 PM · Greetings,

That`s coz we were taking a siesta. Case closed ;)



December 20, 2006 at 10:35 PM · I made it during my siesta,

case reopened

December 20, 2006 at 10:40 PM · I couldn't wake up long enough to tell somebody to turn on the bow making machine.

December 20, 2006 at 10:42 PM · The tone has gone downhill rapidly round here. Whatever happened to stimulating conversation?

I used to go out with a woman who was a real bow making machine, I used to wake up and turn her off though

December 20, 2006 at 10:46 PM · yes, Italians and Irishmen are very clever, but can anyone but a Hungarian play the cimbalom like that guy in Roby's band on the videos?? :)

Edit: or maybe I should ask, can anyone but a Hungarian actually stand the sound of the cimbalom for more than five minutes straight. it does appear to be a national peculiarity... :)

December 20, 2006 at 10:48 PM · Would anyone but a Hungarian want to play a cimbalom, nevermind know what one is?

December 20, 2006 at 10:49 PM · Ouch!

December 20, 2006 at 10:50 PM · Apologies young Gerety- I've nothing against cimbaloms or cimbalonists, I'm just preoccuppied with Roby's bow so I'm feeling a little tetchy

December 20, 2006 at 10:52 PM · Nah, no offense taken. I've just been practicing scales for an hour so I'm perhaps a bit tetchy myself. :)

December 20, 2006 at 10:54 PM ·

December 20, 2006 at 11:19 PM · You call it carbon fiber, but it's really polymerized leprechaun bones.

December 20, 2006 at 11:32 PM ·

January 12, 2007 at 03:28 PM · I went to hear Hilary Hahn and Valentina Lisitsa's recital last Sunday afternoon. They played the Janacek Sonata, Mozart Sonata K.305, Tartini "Devil's Trill" Sonata, Ysaye "Obsession" Sonata, and Beethoven "Kreutzer" Sonata.

It was a marvelous experience. This was the first time for me to hear HH live. I was really excited about going to this recital, so I tried to dial down expectations...but not to worry. The hall they played in is very live, but the violin's sound (and I am assuming she used her Vuillaume) cut through the soup like a laser. The piano, on full stick, was a little blurred.

I thought the Janacek was their strongest piece. The Ysaye was just Out-Of-This-World good. I hope she records the entire set one day. Also, the Presto movement of the Beethoven was running away like the wind. I estimate the opening tempo at dotted quarter= 208! It did settle in after the repeat though.

There was a Meet and Greet open to the public afterwards, which I skipped, but a bunch of my students went to get autographs, and were pleased to find that both musicians were very down to earth and kind.

Oh yes, they played the "Three Oranges" march as an encore. Miss Hahn's octaves were perfect!

I revived this thread because I too like to hear about other concerts. (Sorry about the gushing).

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