Violinist Soovin Kim to Perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the National Philharmonic at the Music Center at Strathmore
North Bethesda, MD – Violinist Soovin Kim will perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous Violin Concerto in D Major with the National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, on Saturday, June 4 at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore.
Composed in 1878, Tchaikovsky’s only Violin Concerto is considered to be one of the most technically difficult works in the entire concerto repertoire. Typical of most concertos, it is in three movements: Allegro moderato; Canzonetta: Andante; and Finale: Allegro vivacissimo. The piece was written at a Swiss resort on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Tchaikovsky had gone to recover from his deep depression brought on by a disastrous marriage. The work, characterized by grand melodies and acrobatic demonstrations of virtuosity, was originally declared “unplayable” by Leopold Auer, head of the Violin Department at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. It was more than three years before the concerto was played in public by Adolf Brodsky, a former colleague of Tchaikovsky’s at the Moscow Conservatory, at one of the Vienna Philharmonic’s concerts in 1881. After an initial bad reception, Brodsky continued to play the concerto throughout Europe and it eventually gained the stature it enjoys today.
Also on the program is Tchaikovsky’s four-movement Symphony No. 5 in E minor, composed in 1888. A cyclical symphony, the theme is heard throughout the entire work and harks back to the famous four-note “short-short-short-long” motif of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in C minor, composed in 1804-08. Tchaikovsky’s theme is derived from a passage found in Mikhail Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar that uses the words "turn not into sorrow." The theme starts out as funereal in character but gradually transforms into a triumphant march, which dominates the last movement. The Fifth Symphony is about Providence, according to a notebook entry the composer made in April 1888, about a month before he began the work. In describing the symphony’s introduction, Tchaikovsky wrote, "a complete resignation before fate, which is the same as the inscrutable predestination of fate." The theme’s transformation seems to imply that Tchaikovsky is expressing optimism with regard to Providence.
Only 20 when he won first prize at the Paganini International Violin Competition in 1996, Soovin Kim was the first American in 24 years to receive the honor. He was later named the recipient of the Henryk Szeryng Career Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. Subsequently he has gone on to perform with major orchestras such as the Cincinnati Chamber, Salzburg Mozarteum, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, and Philadelphia orchestras; the Baltimore, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Annapolis, Stuttgart Radio, Nashville, Vermont, and Moscow symphonies; the Seoul Philharmonic; and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Kim is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Jaime Laredo and Victor Danchenko; he has also studied with David Cerone and Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Kim plays the 1709 “ex-Kempner” Stradivarius, which is currently on loan to him.
Mr. Gajewski is widely credited with building the National Philharmonic to its present status as one of the most respected ensembles of its kind in the region. The Washington Post recognizes him as an "immensely talented and insightful conductor,” whose "standards, taste and sensitivity are impeccable." In addition to his appearances with the National Philharmonic, Maestro Gajewski is much in demand as a guest conductor. In recent years, he has appeared with most of the major orchestras in his native Poland, as well as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in England, the Karlovy Vary Symphony in the Czech Republic, the Okanagan Symphony in Canada and numerous orchestras in the United States.
Gajewski attended Carleton College and the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned a B.M. and M.M. in Orchestral Conducting. Upon completing his formal education, he continued refining his conducting skills at the 1983 Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, where he was awarded a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellowship. His teachers there included Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier and Maurice Abravanel. Gajewski is also a winner of many prizes and awards, among them a prize at New York's prestigious Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and, in 2006, Montgomery County's Comcast Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Achievement Award.
Soovin Kim will also conduct a master class for local high school students on Friday, June 3 from 5-7 pm in room 402 at the Music Center at Strathmore. On Saturday, June 4 at 7 pm, a free pre-concert lecture will be offered at the Music Center at Strathmore’s Education Center.
To purchase tickets to National Philharmonic’s All Tchaikovsky’s concert on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore, please visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore Ticket Office at (301) 581-5100. Ticket prices are $32 - $79; Kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette). ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone.