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Thursday, February 6 at 7:30 pm

The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

Gil Shaham, violin

Gerard Schwarz, conductor

Composed during a revelatory and prolific time in Beethoven’s life between 1804 to 1806 while simultaneously experiencing profound deafness, Beethoven’s sole Violin Concerto is transformative in form, style, and virtuosity. Steeped inEnlightenment ideals, Beethoven was compelled to push his art form to new heights.  From the very opening measure of the solo violin, one can hear that he is launching us into the new era of the Romantic period with vastly new treatment in how concerti allow soloists to dazzle with greater depth and brilliance. Bringing this remarkable concerto to life is American phenom Gil Shaham, one of the foremost violinists of our time who embodies flawless technique combined with inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit who is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearance with leading orchestras and conductors.  

Bohemian composer Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 is one of the most original First Symphony’s in music history.  Greatly influenced primarily by his childhood experiences including exposure to authors of books, philosophy, and poetry, this work has many programmatic elements.  His obsession with existentialism is ever present in “Titan.”  Mahler himself conducted its premiere with the Budapest Philharmonic in 1889, having spent his career mostly composing during the summers and conducting the best orchestras and opera companies in the world during artistic seasons. This program highlights how Mahler was radically impacted by Beethoven. While the timing of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto marks the birth of the Romantic period, Mahler’s First Symphony comes at the height of it in which you will experience the sheer magnitude of greatness an orchestra can achieve through its expansive evolution.  

Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time; his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world’s great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

 

Highlights of recent years include the acclaimed recording and performances of J.S. Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin. In addition to championing these solo works, he frequently joins his long-time duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi in recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

 

Appearances with orchestra regularly include the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and San Francisco Symphony as well as multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore. With orchestra, Mr. Shaham continues his exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” including the works of Barber, Bartok, Berg, Korngold, Prokofiev, among many others.

 

Mr. Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple GRAMMYS, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Many of these recordings appear on Canary Classics, the label he founded in 2004. His CDs include 1930s Violin Concertos, Virtuoso Violin Works, Elgar’s Violin Concerto, Hebrew Melodies, The Butterfly Lovers and many more. His most recent recording in the series 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2, including Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto and Bartok’s Violin Concerto No.2, was nominated for a GRAMMY Award. His latest recording of Beethoven and Brahms Concertos with The Knights was released in 2021 and also nominated for a GRAMMY.

 

Mr. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of 7, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic, and the following year, took the first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition. He then became a scholarship student at Juilliard, and also studied at Columbia University.

 

Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America. He plays the1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius and performs on an Antonio Stradivari violin, Cremona c1719, with the assistance of Rare Violins In Consortium, Artists and Benefactors Collaborative. He lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.

CONCERT PROGRAM

Ludwig van Beethoven

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61  

Intermission

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Symphony No. 1 in D Major “Titan”

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