LSO International Violin Festival

LSO International Violin Festival

Nicola Benedetti at LSO St Luke's

LSO International Violin Festival

Twelve Violin Superstars, Twelve Amazing Concerts

The LSO’s International Violin Festival, which runs from April to June 2015, features twelve global superstars playing a cross-section of the world’s greatest violin concertos, writes Wendy Thompson.

The cornerstones of the Romantic violin repertoire are there – Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius – but the 20th Century is also well represented with works by Szymanowski, Korngold, Bartók and Shostakovich.

Many of the violinists featured are well-known to LSO audiences, beginning with Greek virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos, who kick-starts the Festival with Shostakovich’s pithy First Concerto, written for David Oistrakh. Nicola Benedetti, another perennial favourite at the Barbican, brings her phenomenal technique to bear on the Szymanowski concerto with which she won the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, aged just 16, while Nikolaj Znaider, trained in the great Russian tradition, tackles the virtuosic heights of the Tchaikovsky, and Christian Tetzlaff, whose Beethoven recordings have been critically acclaimed, brings his intimate understanding of the German master to the concerto which stands at the head of the Romantic repertoire. Anne-Sophie Mutter, another great German virtuoso and LSO favourite, partners André Previn in a concerto he wrote for her.

Two sensational young players, both former BBC New Generation Artists, feature in this cornucopia of violin-playing: Dutch artist Janine Jansen applies her nimble fingers to Mendelssohn’s masterpiece, while Alina Ibragimova has opted for Mozart’s charmingly quirky ‘Strassburg’ Concerto No 3. Several artists are making a welcome return to the LSO: Gil Shaham, who is currently engaged in a project to record concertos from the 1930s, plays the Britten, premiered in 1940, while Japanese-American star Midori plays another concerto from the same period, Bartók’s Second, and Joshua Bell provides a fitting finale to the Festival with Sibelius.

Two other international stars in this Festival are Canadian sensation James Ehnes, hailed as the ‘Heifetz of our day’, who plays the Korngold Concerto (originally written for Heifetz himself), while Isabelle Faust has chosen Brahms’ masterpiece, perhaps the supreme exemplar of the entire repertoire.

Jonathan Moulds: Supporting the LSO International Violin Festival

'I am delighted to be supporting the LSO International Violin Festival. My interest in the violin goes back many years – initially as a player and now as a collector. During this Festival you will hear the world’s top violinists and hear some of the world’s top instruments. The quality of the workmanship underpinning the great instruments is extraordinary. In fact, many of the most exceptional Italian instruments are now 300 or more years old with each instrument having its own character and personality. I feel proud that a number of my instruments are now on loan to some of today’s finest violinists, such as Nicola Benedetti and LSO Leader Roman Simovic. Through individuals like these, exquisite craftsmanship, illustrious history and supreme musicality can be brought together in the most breathtaking fashion. I do hope you enjoy the collection of violinists – and violins – that the LSO has brought together for this Festival. I don’t think you will be disappointed.'

Jonathan Moulds is Chairman of the LSO Advisory Council, LSO Moving Music Campaign and LSO Development Board. He also sits on the LSO Board of Directors. The LSO is extremely grateful for Jonathan Moulds’ continued support.

LSO International Violin Festival

> Wed 8 Apr 2015
SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concerto No 1
LISZT A Faust Symphony
Gianandrea Noseda conductor
Leonidas Kavakos violin

> Sun 12 Apr 2015
ARVO PÄRT Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten
BRITTEN Violin Concerto
Osmo Vänskä conductor
Gil Shaham violin

> Sun 26 Apr 2015
SCHUBERT ARR MAHLER Death and the Maiden
SHOSTAKOVICH ARR PUSHKAREV Sonata for Violin, Percussion and String Orchestra
SHOSTAKOVICH Chamber Symphony in C minor
Roman Simovic director
LSO String Ensemble

> Thu 30 Apr 2015
MESSIAEN Les offrandes oubliées
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No 2
Tugan Sokhiev conductor
Midori violin

> Sun 3 May 2015
GLINKA Overture: Ruslan and Lyudmila
SZYMANOWSKI Violin Concerto No 1
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition
Krzysztof Urbanski conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin

> Thu 7 May 2015
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
Semyon Bychkov conductor
Isabelle Faust violin

> Tue 12 May 2015
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
Valery Gergiev conductor
Nikolaj Znaider violin

> Sun 24 May 2015
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto
BRAHMS German Requiem
Daniel Harding conductor
Christian Tetzlaff violin
London Symphony Chorus

> Tue 2 Jun 2015
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto
MAHLER Symphony No 5
Daniel Harding conductor
Janine Jansen violin

> Sun 7 Jun 2015
BARTÓK Divertimento for Strings
KORNGOLD Violin Concerto
RACHMANINOV Symphonic Dances
Marin Alsop conductor
James Ehnes violin

> Wed 10 Jun 2015
ANDRÉ PREVIN Violin Concerto
André Previn conductor
Anne-Sophie Mutter violin

> Sun 14 Jun 2015
MOZART Violin Concerto No 3
MAHLER Symphony No 1 ('Titan')
Bernard Haitink conductor
Alina Ibragimova violin

> Sun 28 Jun 2015
SIBELIUS Violin Concerto
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique
Pablo Heras-Casado conductor
Joshua Bell violin


Additional Festival Events

The Strad Sundays
Sun 12 Apr, 3 May, 28 Jun 2015
The Strad is 125 in 2015 and to celebrate this milestone will be the media partner for the LSO Violin International Festival. In addition, it is running violin-making workshops 3–5pm and pre-concert talks 6–6.45pm on three ‘The Strad Sundays’. Dates and times to be announced.

LSO Discovery Artist Conversations
Online artist conversations give you the chance to ask questions over Facebook and YouTube of some of the violinists in the Festival. Gil Shaham, Nicola Benedetti, Christian Tetzlaff, Alina Ibragimova and Joshua Bell have been invited to participate.

LSO Discovery Lunchtime Concerts
Fri 1 & 22 May, 12 & 26 Jun 2015, LSO St Luke’s  
Join regular presenter Rachel Leach  in these free LSO Discovery lunchtime concerts focusing on violinists and all things strings.

Free entry, no ticket required
Supported by the Rothschild Charities Committee 

BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts
Festival Recitals at LSO St Luke’s
The Festival extends to LSO St Luke’s and on to BBC Radio 3 with four lunchtime recitals featuring violinists in the Barbican series: Christian Tetzlaff, James Ehnes and Nicola Benedetti. We also welcome back Veronika Eberle.

> Thu 21 May: Christian Tetzlaff
> Thu 11 Jun: James Ehnes
> Thu 18 Jun: Veronika Eberle
> Thu 25 Jun: Nicola Benedetti

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