It is always a pleasure when someone other than your immediate family members love and appreciate the art you create. All jokes aside, I was very honored to receive accolades from The Strad Magazine, the UK-based monthly classical music magazine about string instruments, in their October 2017 issue. My album Sonata-Song received a glowing review, described as a “vivid, varied recital”, with the title piece by Aram Khatchaturian receiving a “definitive performance”. The reviewer has “nothing but praise for [the] tonally most alluring renditions of the pieces” and… so I don’t have to blush retelling these quotes, please read the rest here. And get yourself a copy!
Yours truly is making his conducting debut with New York’s Camerata Notturna on May 6, in Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Sean Lee, soloist. That this is no ordinary group is demonstrated by the poster below – “Cameratans” are a bunch of very creative and interesting people. Buy tickets here.
I spent a week in Toronto as Guest Principal Viola of the Toronto Symphony in early April. And what a program it was – in addition to the excellent Joe Johnson, the orchestra’s Principal Cello, in R. Schumann’s Cello Concerto, we played Mahler’s Tenth Symphony. A serious piece for any viola section, what with its many, despairingly bleak statements made by the violas alone in the first movement, one of which opens the symphony, in strong contrast to the more luscious and positive rest of the movement. (Oh, and another fifty minutes of music after the first!) (Read More)
I was in Ottawa on March 13 to coach the violists and chamber music students of the University of Ottawa’s School of Music. It was great fun, I learned and was inspired by the students, the sense of the community was heartwarming, I got to see some old friends, and last but not least, I had lots of poutine!
I have been dreaming of starting a group with my friends and I for years now. We started off by getting together to read symphonic works in an informal atmosphere, and the energy and enthusiasm we found were unique and memorable. At first I was doing this to practice conducting, but it quickly became obvious this was about a lot more than that for all of us – it was and is about friendship, sharing, music. It’s been a few years and here we are, the time has come to bring our group to the audience. I have taken the liberty of drafting the following manifesto:
“Music for the People is an ensemble, flexible in size, which performs symphonic and chamber music written from 1600 onward. We believe that classical music is for everyone, and that its depth and beauty can be enjoyed by all, regardless of previous experience and exposure. We want to be a laboratory for how art music would be experienced and performed had it only been discovered in the 21st century and we had the task of introducing it to today’s world, without preconceived notions from anyone.