In 2001, a 17-year-old Augustin Hadelich came from Italy to play in his first performance in the United States with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
At 8:15 p.m. Thursday in the Amphitheater, the violinist will again take the stage at Chautauqua Institution, returning for his ninth time.
“We really feel that Augustin is almost a son of Chautauqua,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president and director of programming.
The venue isn’t the only thing Hadelich will find familiar about today’s performance, as he has worked with Rossen Milanov, CSO music director and conductor, several times before.
Milanov, in his second summer in the role, said he looked at the last CSO season with a bird’s eye view to determine what should be tweaked or changed. Although some details may have changed, inviting Hadelich back to Chautauqua did not.
The conductor makes a big difference to a soloist. The collaboration completely changes a performance, Hadelich said, and determines whether the soloist will enjoy the performance or not.
When Hadelich picked up a violin at age 5, he said it wasn’t really his choice. He grew up in a musical household with his two older brothers playing piano and cello.
“My parents decided to get me a violin one day,” Hadelich said. “And I got more and more serious about it.”
That seriousness led to Hadelich’s graduation from The Julliard School in 2007. This year, he will play with more than 16 orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, London Philharmonic and The Philadelphia Orchestra.
However, Hadelich said, he really got his start with the CSO.
When Hadelich performed with the CSO two years ago, he asked to play composer Henri Dutilleux’s violin concerto in preparation for recording with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony, Moore said.
In February of this year, Hadelich received his first Grammy in the category of “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” for that Dutilleux recording.
“I am also personally thrilled because I love Dutilleux and our winning this award might lead to more people discovering his beautiful and somewhat neglected concerto,” Hadelich wrote on his site.
Moore said the Institution is pleased to have an ongoing relationship with Hadelich and honored that he looks to its community for support in his artistic growth.
Hadelich’s solo tonight will feature Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, op. 26. The concert also features Antonín Dvořák’s Carnival Overture, B. 169, op. 92, and Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet: Selections from Suite Nos. 1 and 2, op. 64.
Hadelich described his solo piece as exciting, passionate and beautiful. He also labeled it as one of the most beloved and frequently played concertos.
Despite its popularity, Hadelich said he took an eight-year break from playing Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, op. 26, for a while, but enjoyed going back to it.
“You rediscover every-thing you liked about it and see it with fresh eyes,” Hadelich said.
Hadelich will also rediscover the good memories he said he has in connection to Chautauqua and the CSO.
“It’s a happy feeling when I come to the gates and see the place again,” Hadelich said.
Moore said the feeling is mutual between Hadelich and the Chautauqua audience, who fell in love with him early in his career and looks forward to listening each time he returns.