Soloists Augustin Hadelich and Orion Weiss have performed their way across America — and developed a close musical connection. Today, the two musicians will join forces in a powerful chamber music duo.
Hadelich, a violinist and Musical America’s 2018 Instrumentalist of the Year, and Weiss, a pianist and Classical Recording Foundation’s 2010 Young Artist of the Year, will perform at 4 p.m. today, July 29, in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall as part of the Chautauqua Chamber Music Guest Artist Series. The program is spread across two centuries; it begins with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 1800 Violin Sonata No. 4 in A minor, and ends with John Adams’ 1995 “Road Movies.”
Hadelich has performed with every major orchestra in America — and collected a Grammy Award along the way. In a 2018 interview with Interlude magazine, he said that “music is vital to the human spirit. It’s essential to play music written today and not live only in the past. That being said, in any era of music history, the majority of music written isn’t great, and our time is not an exception. As time passes, it’s as if a fog lifts, and gradually it becomes clear what the great, enduring works of art are.”
At 35, Hadelich is a youthful voice in the world of elite musicians. Born in Tuscany to German parents, he attended Juilliard and has been a New Yorker — and an internationally touring artist — ever since.
Hadelich has performed solo, with orchestras and in chamber groups. He told Interlude that chamber music is a more personal interaction with listeners.
“In chamber music and recitals, I can explore the softer dynamics and more subtle nuances, and feel the more intimate involvement of the audience,” Hadelich said in 2018. “In terms of communication with the other musicians though, I actually find little difference between how I communicate with other musicians in a concerto and in chamber music. There is no concerto that does not require the soloist to listen intently and interact closely with the orchestra throughout.”
Weiss, another young and rising musician, agrees. While chamber music is a more intimate setting, Weiss said, it requires the same careful listening as any musical performance.
“All music is chamber music — response and communication, dialogue and listening,” he said.
Weiss and Hadelich have more than just a musical connection; the two have been friends for years, Weiss said.
“We became friends years ago at the Seattle Chamber Music Society, and connected immediately, both personally and musically,” Weiss said. “We always make each other laugh, and we have a great time making music together.”
Weiss said he is excited for today’s multi-century program.
“The program is diverse and wide-ranging and filled with wonderful challenges and amazing music,” Weiss said. “The Beethoven Sonata is unbelievably taut and intense. (Johannes Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100) is warm, emotional and inspired. (Claude Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G Minor, L. 40) is a masterpiece of gesture, color and drama. And ‘Road Movies’ is so fun to perform; it’s so rhythmically complex and intricate. I think the audience will hold their breath from excitement.”
Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts, said the two artists fit together like “puzzle pieces” in a week of musical performances. When Moore asked Hadelich about the possibility of a chamber music recital at Chautauqua, she said, he proposed a duo with Weiss.
“This is a week of intertwined collaborations — it’s a wonderful puzzle piece,” Moore said. “Even though everyone loves Augustin here, they have never heard him in a small, intimate chamber setting at Chautauqua.”
Moore said the two musicians will perform in various settings throughout the week. Weiss will perform with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Tuesday in a premiere of American composer Jeremy Gill’s “Concerto D’Avorio,” and Hadelich will perform with the CSO on Thursday, in a concert featuring pieces by Russian composers Sergei Prokofiev and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Complimentary tickets for this concert must be obtained at the Main Gate Welcome Center starting at 7 a.m. today. It will also be livestreamed in the Hall of Christ.