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Nikolaj Znaider celebrates centenary of Elgar Violin Concerto

If the opening months offer any indication, 2010 looks to be a big year for “phenomenally gifted” (Chicago Sun Times) violinist Nikolaj Znaider.  The focal point of Znaider’s season is Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto, which celebrates its centennial in 2010. Having toured the work across Europe, Znaider now brings it to the States, performing the concerto under Leonard Slatkin in Washington DC (Jan 7-9), Sir Colin Davis in Boston (Jan 14-19), and Edo de Waart in Milwaukee (Jan 22 and 23) with dates to follow at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Vladimir Jurowski (May 6, 7 and 8), and with Valery Gergiev at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg (May 23), and the Vienna Philharmonic (May 28-31).  Elgar’s Violin Concerto will also be the focus of Znaider’s latest recording, also directed by Davis, and due for release by Sony Masterworks on January 5.  On both the tour and the recording, Znaider plays the very same Del Gesù violin that Fritz Kreisler used for the world premiere of the concerto, under the baton of the composer, on November 10, 1910.

For his new CD on Sony Masterworks, Znaider performs the work with Sir Colin Davis and the Staatskapelle Dresden.  The album is due for release on January 5, 2010 (the concerto’s centennial year), just in time for Znaider’s American performances of the work with the orchestras of Washington (the National Symphony Orchestra), Boston, and Milwaukee.  Znaider is an exclusive Sony/BMG recording artist. The Elgar recording is his sixth recording for the label; his most recent release was a highly-praised pairing of the violin concertos by Brahms and Korngold, performed with the Vienna Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev on a disc Fanfare “urgently recommended for its penetrating performance of Brahms’s Concerto and for its revelatory one of Korngold’s.”

After his Elgar performances, the Danish violinist turns to another cornerstone of the Romantic violin repertory, the seminal Mendelssohn Concerto, which he plays with Leipzig’s legendary Gewandhaus Orchestra on its U.S. tour in February, culminating with a Carnegie Hall performance on February 27. 

German violin virtuoso Ferdinand David, to whom Mendelssohn first proposed the idea of his Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, was at that time concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.  Fittingly, it is with this same ensemble, under its current music director Riccardo Chailly, that Znaider will tour the work this February, making stops in Palm Desert, CA (Feb 18), Costa Mesa, CA (Feb 19), and Newark, NJ (Feb 26) before the final concert of the tour at Carnegie Hall on February 27.  Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette wrote of Znaider in March 2009: “No one person should have the range of ability that Znaider possesses.  A ravishing tone across the complete register, virtuosity for the quick and the nuanced and artistic soul that allows him to sing out in the most compelling fashion.  At 33, he already stands in an elite class of violinists worldwide.”

Star violinist becomes leading conductor

The new year also sees Nikolaj Znaider returning to the podium as Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He has also been re-invited to

conduct the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Dresden Staatskapelle, Russian National Orchestra and in forthcoming seasons, will make his conducting debuts with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, and Bergen Philharmonic.



Nikolaj Znaider’s US engagements, early 2010:
January 7, 8, and 9, 2010
Washington, DC
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
National Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Elgar: Violin Concerto
January 14, 15, 16, and 19
Boston, MA; Symphony Hall
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, conductor
Elgar: Violin Concerto
January 22 and 23
Milwaukee, WI; Uihlein Hall
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Edo de Waart, conductor
Elgar: Violin Concerto
January 30
Örebro, Sweden
Örebro Concert Hall
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Nikolaj Znaider, conductor
February 4 & 5
Bergen, Norway
Bergen Philharmonic
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Feb 18
Palm Desert, CA
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Feb 19
Costa Mesa, CA
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Feb 26
Newark, NJ
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Feb 27
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

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© 21C Media Group, December 2009

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