All twelve will be led by a different conductor, all of whom promise to bring their diverse techniques to bear on the orchestra’s musicians. As well as a showcase for the violinists, then, this is a chance to catch one of the world’s finest ensembles at their peak. Each and every performance has the potential to become a highlight of the classical year.
It all starts on Wednesday 8th April, with Greece’s Leon Kavakos – previously a guest conductor for the LSO himself. He will take the lead for Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, with its fiendish Scherzo. Then, Gianandrea Noseda will conduct the orchestra through Liszt’s epic Faust Symphony.
A few days later, on Sunday 12th, comes Gil Shaham, an expert in the concerti of the interwar era; he will play Britten’s sole Violin Concerto, sandwiched between renditions of Part’s sublime Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten and Shostakovich’s escalating Symphony No. 6. On Sunday 30th April it is the turn of Japanese superstar Midori and modernist master Bartok, which you can read about in a separate preview.
The May programme begins on Sunday 3rd with Nicola Benedetti, a regular showstopper at the Barbican. She will perform Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, which won her BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004. It will be prefaced by a Glinka overture and followed by Mussorgsky’s perennially popular Pictures at an Exhibition.
On Thursday 7th, Isabelle Faust – a champion of new music equally at home with the baroque and romantic canons – will shine in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, considered by some to be the nineteenth-century summation of the entire genre. The LSO will play Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
On Tuesday 12th , Russian specialist Nikolaj Znaider joins outgoing LSO director Valery Gergiev for a journey through a century of Russian music, centered around Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. And then, on Sunday 24th, comes Christian Tetzlaff, who has won plaudits for his interpretations of Beethoven’s work. He will play the great pioneer’s immense Violin Concerto, before the LSO and the London Symphony Chorus tackle Brahms’ equally vast German Requiem.
June commences with James Ehnes, one of the world’s ascendant stars, who has chosen Korngold’s Violin Concerto to showcase his immense talent. He will be conducted on Sunday 7th by Marin Alsop, who has selected Bartok’s Divertimento for Strings and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.
Legendary musical polymath André Previn arrives on the Wednesday 10th Jun with the equally esteemed Anne-Sophie Mutter, violinist of choice for many late twentieth century composers. She will play Previn’s own Violin Concerto, before he takes the orchestra through Rachmaninov’s achingly sensual Symphony No. 2.
Sunday 14th brings Alina Ibragimova playing Mozart with Bernard Haitink, an event so significant we have explored it in detail here. The festival is brought to a close on Sunday 28th with Joshua Bell, the all-American director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He will lead Sibelius’ impossibly lyrical Violin Concerto, before the orchestra concludes proceedings with a well-deserved victory lap in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.
|What||LSO International Violin Festival|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
08 Apr 15 – 14 Jun 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the LSO website|