Saturday night, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presented an exceptional lineup when they paired an introverted canonic jewel with two extroverted works from the 20th century. Audience members were treated to a well-designed program that gave the CSO an opportunity to display their stylistic expertise in both Manuel de Falla’s and Dmitri Kabalevsky’s boisterous works and Schumann’s gentle symphony.
The horrors had begun. The “Night of Broken Glass” was Nov. 9, 1938. It was the beginning of the “Final Solution.”
In the spring of 1939, English composer and pianist Benjamin Britten traveled to Canada and then to the United States, where he remained for three years. He came up with the idea for a concerto for violin and orchestra — it was to be his Opus 15, completed that year, premiered the next and modified by the composer throughout the next two decades.
Jacques Israelievitch, strings chair in Chautauqua Music Festival’s Instrumental Program, will host a violin master class at 2 p.m. today in McKnight Hall. Five students will each play one piece and he will critique their performances. Israelievitch said he hopes to open a dialogue between himself and the students so that they can have a new perspective on the pieces.
“Summer is a wonderful time to recuperate and to reboot my system,” said Ilya Kaler, a well-traveled and well-versed violinist. “And Chautauqua is the ideal location for that.”
A man who spends his summers on the grounds, and with his wife in the orchestra, Kaler considers Chautauqua to be his second home.
But all rest and no work makes Kaler restless, so he will again teach a violin master class from 2 to 4:30 p.m. today in McKnight Hall.
Jacques Israelievitch revels in deciphering the notes less-played. Kanae Matsumoto loves to give spirit to the notes she plays. Together, they revitalize classics.
In a dedication to rarely performed classical pieces, violinist Israelievitch and pianist Matsumoto will host a recital at 4:30 p.m. today in Fletcher Music Hall.
One of the last times the two appeared on stage, they played all 10 Beethoven sonatas in one day. It took six hours.
“We came out fairly unscathed,” Israelievitch said. “So, when we finished the last sonata, I felt like we could start all over again.”
At 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater, Anne Akiko Meyers will cut to the heart of Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra followed by Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (Titan), led by guest conductor Andrew Litton.
The concert is a tribute to Emile Simonel, a CSO violist for 45 years, who died in March. Simonel also worked as the CSO’s orchestra manager for a time.
It is both Litton and Meyers’ first time visiting Chautauqua. The two are close friends and colleagues, who recorded the Mendelssohn concerto together 10 years ago. They have been collaborating since they met working for the Swedish Radio Orchestra when Meyers was 18.
Repertoire and technique go together like violin maestros Almita Vamos and Jacques Israelievitch. You cannot have one without the other.
“Some teachers go left and some go right; we go along the same straight line,” Vamos said about her and Israelievitch’s similar approaches to music. “I studied with Louis Persinger, and he studied with Josef Gingold. And they both studied with Eugene Ysaye, so we have a similar background.”
Vamos will instruct Israelievitch’s students in her violin master class from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. today in McKnight Hall.
Practice makes perfect, but only if you are committed to it.
“I didn’t like it because it was a chore,” violinist Laura Park said.
During the transition from eighth to ninth grade, Park found herself disconnecting from the instrument she had held since she was 5.
Though Park would practice violin for five hours a day, she often entertained daydreams about a different practice.
“I would say, ‘Oh mom, I want to be a lawyer,’ ” she said. “But then I found out about performing with an orchestra on stage as a soloist. Doing that — I never had as much fun ever in my life.”
Now, Park will be the main focus from 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater. She will take the stage with the Music School Festival Orchestra, led by conductor, mentor and friend Timothy Muffitt.
“When I talk to students, I always find metaphors to compare musical things to life,” said Jacques Israelievitch, renowned violinist and chamber musician.
From 2 to 4:30 p.m. today in McKnight Hall, Israelievitch will be teaching a violin master class. The 64-year-old strings chair at the School of Music has been teaching since he was 16. He is the youngest graduate at Le Mans Conservatory in France, having finished the program at age 11.
“If you can read words, you can read music,” Israelievitch said. “You’re such a sponge at that age. You can learn things by osmosis.”