Leading violinist plays with NZSO

Augustin Hadelich, one of the world's finest violinists.

Beethoven & Brahms
Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
Brahms, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
Hamilton, Claudelands Arena, August 10; Auckland, Town Hall, August 11; Napier, Municipal Theatre, August 15; Blenheim, ASB Theatre Marlborough, August 17; Wellington, Michael Fowler Centre, August 18

The latest touring concert performance by the NZ Symphony Orchestra features Augustin Hadelich, one of the world’s finest violinists.

The Grammy Award-winning violinist will be playing in the first of two Masterworks concert tours this month along with NZSO music director Edo deWaart.

The violinist performs in Beethoven & Brahms in Hamilton, Auckland, Napier, Blenheim and Wellington. De Waart then continues his Masterworks series, conducting Stravinsky & Rachmaninov in Wellington and Auckland later in the month.

Over the past decade the Italian-born Hadelich, 34, has entered the upper echelon of the violin world and is now a must-see virtuoso.

“Hadelich is a singularly gifted, characterful musician who has a flair for bringing older music into the present tense,” the New Yorker said in a recent profile. “When Hadelich first came on the scene, he was noted for his pinpoint brilliance and for his sweet, cultured, almost old-fashioned tone. It was as if a Golden Age violinist had jumped out of the grooves of a 78-r.p.m. record.”

In recent years Hadelich has also been praised for his interpretations of modern composers. When he performed a Shostakovich violin concerto in the US earlier this year, one reviewer likened him to a rock star. “Hadelich wielded his axe, a 1723 Stradivarius, as a guitar god handles his Stratocaster, spinning a complex, emotional story on his violin.”

Hadelich has been praised for his performances of key works from the violin repertoire and in Beethoven & Brahms will play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto – the only violin concerto written by the great composer.

De Waart has previously worked with Hadelich and was keen to introduce him to New Zealand audiences. “He is a beautiful player,” Mr de Waart says. “Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is not an easy concerto that every violin virtuoso can play. He’s great at it.”

The NZSO will also perform Brahms’ lush, romantic and uplifting Symphony No. 2. Brahms took 20 years to write his First Symphony to a mixed response from audiences and critics. But his Second Symphony, which premiered a year later, was fully embraced and is still an audience favourite.

The Stravinsky & Rachmaninov concert in Wellington (August 24) and Auckland (August 25) features two of Stravinsky’s most striking and original works and one of Rachmaninov’s most beloved and achingly romantic symphonies.

“Stravinsky is a fabulous composer and these two works that I have chosen for my Masterworks programme are very close to my heart,” Mr de Waart says.

The NZSO will perform Stravinsky’s Symphony of Wind Instruments, one of his most personal compositions and Symphony in Three Movements, the composer’s first major composition after he moved to the US.

Symphonies of Wind Instruments will be performed solely by the NZSO’s wind and brass sections. Stripped away from the rest of the orchestra, including the string sections, it will highlight the mastery, beauty and unique sounds of the NZSO’s players.

The NZSO’s string sections return for Symphony in Three Movements where the audience can hear and feel the influences of Stravinsky's famous ballet composition The Rite of Spring.

The full force of the orchestra will be heard in Rachmaninov’s lush Symphony No. 2. The work premiered a year after a scathing reception in some quarters to the composer’s First Symphony. His Second Symphony is a deeply emotional and haunting work and a perpetual favourite of audiences and orchestras.