Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Polina Leschenko

Violin and Piano

December 2, 2018, 4 pm

Music Room

When the Royal Philharmonic Society in London named Patricia Kopatchinskaja as its Instrumentalist of the Year in 2014, the citation described her as “an irresistible force of nature.” Born in Moldova, she first attracted international attention when she won the Henryk Szeryng Competition, and since then has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors and orchestras, including period instrument specialist Philippe Herreweghe. A passionate advocate of new music, she has worked with contemporary composers Fazıl Say, Peter Eotvos, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Encouraged by Martha Argerich, pianist Polina Leschenko has a successful career as a soloist, but is also noted for collaborations with artists such as Sol Gabetta and Alexander Sitkovetsky. Leschenko and Kopatchinskaja recently made an acclaimed recording of three of the works featured in this concert. Writing about their album of Bartok, Poulenc, and Ravel, The Guardian wrote that the performance was “always alive—and [was] always going somewhere . . . [it] glows with mercurially changing color.”

Program:

BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in C Major, Sz. 76, BB 85

FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963)
Violin Sonata, FP 119

INTERMISSION

GEORGE ENESCU (1881-1955)
Violin Sonata No. 3 in A minor

MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Tzigane

Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s versatility shows itself in her diverse repertoire, ranging from baroque and classical often played on gut strings, to new commissions and re-interpretations of modern masterworks.

Kopatchinskaja’s 2017/2018 season commenced with the world premiere of her new project Dies Irae at the Lucerne Festival where she was “artiste étoile.” Following the success of Bye Bye Beethoven with Mahler Chamber Orchestra in 2016, her second staged program, Dies Irae was produced and draws upon music from Gregorian chant to contemporary music. The project was conceptualized using the theme from the Latin Requiem Mass which features music from composers such as Scelsi, Biber, and Ustwolskaja. It will be premiered in North America as part of her position as Music Director at the Ojai Festival this June. The violinist will also revive Bye Bye Beethoven for performances in Berkeley and as part of the Aldeburgh Festival this summer.

György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto is again a feature of Kopatchinskaja’s season, and highlights include performances with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest under Rafael Payare and concerts with Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI.

Last season’s highlights included Kopatchinskaja as Artist-in-Residence at major European venues and festivals including the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Lucerne Festival, and Wigmore Hall, as well as performances with Sir Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in London and New York under Vladimir Jurowski. 

Chamber music is hugely important to Kopatchinskaja as she performs regularly with artists such as Anthony Romaniuk, Jay Campbell, and Sol Gabetta, appearing at such leading venues as the Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Konzerthaus, and Concertgebouw Amsterdam. She is also an Artistic Partner with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and performs with the ensemble regularly, both in Saint Paul and internationally. The summer season will see her give recitals at festivals across Europe; including appearances at the Salzburg Festival with Hinterhäuser, and with regular recital partner Polina Leschenko at the Mecklenburg – Vorpommern, Engadin, and Gstaad Festivals. The duo’s most recent collaboration for new album, Deux released in January 2018 for Alpha, explores and reimagines the sonatas of Ravel, Poulenc, Bartók, and Dohnányi.

Kopatchinskaja was awarded the prestigious Swiss Grand Award for Music by the Switzerland Federal Office of Culture in September 2017, and has already added to her success this season with a Grammy award in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category for her recording, Death and the Maiden, performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra released on Alpha Classics.

A prolific recording artist, the last few seasons have also seen a number of major releases including an album of Kancheli’s music with Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica, an album of duos entitled TAKE TWO on Alpha Classics, a recording of Schumann’s Violin Concerto and Fantasie with WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under Heinz Holliger for Audite, and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Teodor Currentzis and Musica Aeterna released on Sony. Patricia’s recording for Naïve Classique featuring concerti by Bartók, Ligeti, and Peter Eötvös won Gramophone’s Recording of the Year Award in 2013 and a 2014 Grammy nomination.

Awarded a Choc by French music magazine le Monde de la Musique, among others, for “her extraordinarily powerful and virtuosic playing” and her “unique sensibility,” Russian pianist Polina Leschenko has worked with orchestras around the world including the Hallé, Russian National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Bern Symphony, I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Orquesta de Euskadi, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, and Britten Sinfonia.

An accomplished and admired chamber musician, Polina Leschenko also performs frequently at many festivals such as Verbier, Salzburger Festspiele, Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, La Roque d’Anthéron, International Chamber Music Festival in Utrecht, Stavanger, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Oxford, Risor, Istanbul, Enescu Festival in Bucharest, Musiktage Mondsee, Schubertiade, and Gstaad Menuhin Festival. Regular chamber music partners among others include Martha Argerich, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Ivry Gitlis, Julian Rachlin, Maxim Rysanov, Heinrich Schiff, Mischa Maisky, and Torleif Thedéen.

Leschenko has performed in venues such as Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Mozarteum Salzburg, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Köln Philharmonie, Wigmore hall, Cité de la Musique, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Tonhalle in Zürich, Victoria Hall in Geneva, and Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid.

Leschenko was born in St. Petersburg into a family of musicians, and began playing the piano under her father’s guidance at the age of six. Two years later she made her solo debut with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg. She studied with Sergei Leschenko, Vitali Margulis, Pavel Gililov, Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, and Christopher Elton.