This summer, Avery Fisher Prize-winner Gil Shaham is the guest soloist on Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) inaugural U.S. tour playing Britten’s Violin Concerto under David Robertson’s leadership, at venues including Carnegie Hall (July 22), the Tanglewood Music Festival (July 24), Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival (July 28), and L.A.’s Disney Hall (Aug 4). Britten’s concerto is one of those showcased in Shaham’s celebrated multi-season exploration of “1930s Violin Concertos,” which recently yielded a first recording; naming the double album its “Editor’s Choice,” Gramophone pronounced Shaham’s “one of the finest versions of Britten’s Concerto currently available.” The American master violinist rounds out the summer with accounts of three more signature 1930s concertos, undertaking Bartók’s Second at Aspen with Robert Spano (July 5), Barber’s at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony and Leonard Slatkin (Aug 8), and Prokofiev’s Second, also with Slatkin, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl (Aug 12).
Comprised of 120 outstanding 16- to 19-year-old musicians from across the country, the National Youth Orchestra of the USA was launched by Carnegie Hall just last year, impressing the New York Times with its “vitality and confidence.” For their upcoming tour together, Shaham and the orchestra will be led by David Robertson. Shaham and the conductor have already associated, first professionally and then personally, for more than a quarter century, and it is Robertson who partners the Grammy Award-winner on his recent Canary Classics release 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 1; heralding the double album as “the first document of a major musical project,” the New York Times notes that “David Robertson, Mr. Shaham’s brother-in-law, offers eloquent support.” In eight high-profile engagements across the country, Shaham joins Robertson and the NYO-USA for Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto, Op. 15 (1938-39), of which – despite the work’s formidable challenges and somber mood – the Chicago Classical Review observes, “This is music that fits Gil Shaham like a well-tailored glove.” Full details of the tour are provided below.
Since its launch in 2009, the “1930’s Violin Concertos” project has been recognized by the Los Angeles Times as “a terrific programming idea” that Musical America calls “one of the most imaginative programming concepts in years.” Beyond the Britten with the NYO-USA, Shaham turns to three other 1930s concertos to round out his summer season. For his collaboration with the Aspen Chamber Symphony and Robert Spano on July 5, Shaham turns to Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto (1937-38). With Leonard Slatkin and the Boston Symphony, the violinist offers his interpretation of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, Op. 14 (1939) at Tanglewood, in a special 70th birthday celebration concert for Maestro Slatkin on August 8. Shaham reunites with Slatkin at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for an all-Russian concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 12, featuring Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto (1935).
Gil Shaham: summer engagements
June 26 & 27
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Aspen Music Festival
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2
Aspen Chamber Symphony / Robert Spano
U.S. tour (July 20–Aug 4)
Britten: Violin Concerto
National Youth Orchestra of the USA / David Robertson
July 20: Performing Arts Center, Purchase College (Purchase, NY)
July 22: Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)
July 24: Tanglewood Music Festival (Lenox, MA)
July 26: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts (Boone, NY)
July 28: Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park (Chicago, IL)
July 30: Grand Teton Music Festival (Teton Village, WY)
Aug 2: Sonoma State University (Rohnert Park, CA)
Aug 4: Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)