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Gil Shaham in 2015-16: Berlin Phil, Philadelphia Orchestra, LA Phil, and Boston Symphony; Multimedia Solo Bach at Carnegie Hall and More; and 1930s Concertos on Tour and Disc

Following his “ravishing account” (New York Times) of Korngold’s Violin Concerto with Zubin Mehta and the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall last year, American master violinist Gil Shaham reunites with the conductor to launch the 2015-16 season with a reprise of the concerto, this time at the Berlin Philharmonic. Shaham’s upcoming orchestral highlights also include Bartók with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony, Bach with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Brahms with the Orchestre de Paris, Tchaikovsky with the New World Symphony, and Mendelssohn during a residency at the Montreal Symphony. The Avery Fisher Prize-winner also premieres a new Chamber Concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff with The Knights and revisits John Williams’s Violin Concerto with Stéphane Denève and the Boston Symphony, where he previously recorded the concerto under the composer’s direction. As well as undertaking a tour of European capitals with Sejong and a residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he embarks on a North American fall tour to such key venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall playing Bach’s complete unaccompanied sonatas and partitas, in a special multimedia collaboration with photographer and video artist David Michalek.

Of his tempo choices for the Bach, Shaham explains:

“I grew up playing this music slower and hearing performances that were slower. But at some point I realized that if the Menuetts of the French Suites or the very famous Minuets from Anna Magdalena’s Notebook fall at a certain clip, then why don’t I play the Menuets of the Third Partita in the same tempo? If you think of how fast the fugue from the Ouverture of the Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major is performed, why was I playing the Fuga of the G-minor Sonata so slowly? The same held for the pulses of the famous Sarabandas of Corelli and Ciacconas by Monteverdi or Lully, or Bach’s other Ciaccona, in Cantata 150. I believe composers often think of violin writing as rapid and brilliant, and in my experience it is rare that a living composer requests that we play slower. So my feeling for the general tempos of this music is faster. It swings better.”

As a result, his is a truly unique approach that brings out the works’ dancing rhythms along with their harmonic depth. Indeed, when Shaham committed his unaccompanied Bach to disc for his own Canary Classics label last spring, Germany’s Fono Forum declared:

“Here is a unique take on the world of Bach. It’s Shaham’s choice of tempi that make the music appear in a whole new light: Shaham plays many of the movements faster than they are usually performed – in this way their structures and relationships become clearer, more convincing and easier to comprehend. Streamlined and executed with the utmost lightness, the fugues sound arresting on first listen, but rarely have they been heard with such weightlessness. Almost casually, this Bach recording displays Shaham’s phenomenal violin technique, without which such an effortless realization of the score would not be possible.”

As for his collaboration with Michalek, Violinist pronounced it “a revelation and a joy to witness.” Click here to hear Shaham’s Canary Classics recording of the Chaconne from Bach’s second partita.

Hailed as “one of the most imaginative programming concepts in years” (Musical America), Shaham’s long-term exploration of the many “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” is now entering its eighth season. Besides fostering a wealth of collaborations with the preeminent orchestras and conductors of three continents, last year the project also yielded its first recording, prompting Gramophone to observe: “This is a most distinguished release and I can’t wait for the second installment.” That wait will be at an end this February, when the Grammy Award-winning violinist issues Violin Concertos of the 1930s, Vol. 2, pairing his account of Prokofiev’s Second, featuring The Knights and Eric Jacobsen, with that of Bartók’s Second, recorded with Stéphane Denève and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. To celebrate the new release, Shaham looks forward to performing Bartók’s Second with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Kimmel Center, as well as with the Chicago Symphony; Barber with the Orchestre National de Lyon and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; and Prokofiev’s Second – as on the forthcoming album – on his extensive North American tour with The Knights.

High-resolution photo may be downloaded here.


Gil Shaham: 2015-16 season highlights

Sep: Korngold Violin Concerto with Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta
Oct: Bartók Violin Concerto No. 2 with Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Philadelphia and at
Carnegie Hall
Oct/Nov: Bach Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, with multimedia presentation by videographer David Michalek in Chapel Hill, Carnegie Hall, Princeton, Cambridge, MA.
Nov: European Tour with Sejong
Dec: Bach Violin Concertos with LA Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
Feb: Release of Violin Concertos of the 1930s, Vol. 2 on Canary Classics: Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 with The Knights and Eric Jacobsen, and Bartók Violin Concerto No. 2 with Stéphane Denève and Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Feb/March: North American tour with The Knights: Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 and world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff Chamber Concerto
March: John Williams Violin Concerto with Boston Symphony Orchestra and Stéphane Denève
March/April: Bartók Violin Concerto No. 2 with Chicago Symphony and Susanna Mälkki

Gil Shaham: 2015-16 engagements

Sep 24–26
Berlin, Germany
Berliner Philharmoniker / Zubin Mehta
KORNGOLD: Violin Concerto

Oct 3–Nov 1
BACH: Complete Sonatas and Partitas
With original films by David Michalek
Oct 3: Montreal, QC (Maison symphonique de Montréal)
Oct 20: Chapel Hill, NC (Memorial Hall)
Oct 25: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
Nov 1: Cambridge, MA (Sanders Theatre)

Oct 8–13
Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
BARTÓK: Violin Concerto No. 2
Oct 8–10: Philadelphia, PA (Kimmel Center)
Oct 13: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)

Oct 22
Chapel Hill, NC
Memorial Hall
UNC Symphony Orchestra / Tonu Kalam
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto

Nov 8-12
European tour with Sejong Soloists
BACH: Violin Concerto in E
PENDERECKI: Sinfonietta
VIVALDI: The Four Seasons
Nov 8: Prague, Czech Republic (Rudolfinum)
Nov 9: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)
Nov 10: Munich, Germany (Herkulessaal)
Nov 12: Madrid, Spain (National Auditorium of Music)

Nov 21
Tallahassee, FL
Florida State University
BACH: Sonatas and Partitas

Dec 1
Santa Fe, NM
Lensic Performing Arts Center
BACH: Partitas in B minor, D minor and E major

Dec 3–6
Los Angeles, CA
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles Philharmonic / Gustavo Dudamel
BACH: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Jan 9
Miami, FL
Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
New World Symphony / Cristian Macelaru
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto

Jan 16, 18 & 19Rome, Italy
Auditorium Parco della Musica
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Antonio Pappano
BARBER: Violin Concerto

Jan 28 & 30
Lyon, France
Auditorium Orchestre National de Lyon
Orchestre National de Lyon / Leonard Slatkin
BARBER: Violin Concerto

Feb 3 & 4
Paris, France
Philharmonie de Paris
Orchestre de Paris / David Zinman
BRAHMS: Violin Concerto

Feb 5
London, UK
Wigmore Hall
Solo Bach

Feb 14–March 3
Tour with The Knights
PROKOFIEV: Violin Concerto No. 2
SARASATE: Navarra, Op. 33
JONATHAN LESHNOFF: Chamber Concerto for violin & orchestra (world premiere)
Feb 14: Baltimore, MD (Shriver Hall)
Feb 17: Toronto, ON (Koerner Hall)
Feb 18: Chicago, IL (Harris Theater at Millennium Park)
Feb 20: Atlanta, GA (Emory University Concerts Division)
Feb 21: Athens, GA (University of Georgia)
Feb 25: Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 26: Blacksburg, VA (Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech)

March 17–19
Boston, MA
Boston Symphony Hall
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Stéphane Denève
JOHN WILLIAMS: Violin Concerto

March 26–April 16
BACH: Complete Sonatas and Partitas
With original films by David Michalek
March 26: Ann Arbor, MI
April 14: Berkeley, CA (Zellerbach Hall)
April 16: Seattle, WA (Meany Hall for the Performing Arts)

March 30–April 2
Chicago, IL
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki
BARTÓK: Violin Concerto No. 2

April 6, 9 & 10
Montreal, QC
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal / Kent Nagano
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto

April 20 & 21
Chapel Hill, NC
Student Orchestra

May 5–7
Nashville, TN
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nashville Symphony Orchestra / Giancarlo Guerrero
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto

May 14
Sioux City, IA
Orpheum Theater
Sioux City Symphony Orchestra / Ryan Haskins
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto

May 20–31
European tour with Singapore Symphony Orchestra / Lan Shui
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
May 20: Dresden, Germany (Dresden Music Festival)
May 29: Prague, Czech Republic (Smetana Hall)
May 31: Mannheim, Germany (Rosengarten Mozartsaal)

June 6–9
London, UK
Philharmonia Orchestra / Pablo Heras-Casado
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

June 10 & 11
Napoli, Italy
Teatro di San Carlo
Sinfonica Teatro di San Carlo / George Pehlivanian
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto

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© 21C Media Group, September 2015

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