Augustin Hadelich is one of the most sought-after violin soloists in the world today, yet there was a time when he feared he might never be able to play again.
Severely injured in a fire at his family’s farm in Italy at age 15, the child prodigy suddenly went from performing regularly with smaller European orchestras to not touching the violin for six months. The experience of losing, and then having to fight to regain, his ability to play brought the teenager a very mature clarity regarding the importance of music in his life, and he committed himself with new energy to becoming the finest violinist he possibly could.
Twenty years, multiple grand prizes at international competitions, countless performances with the world’s finest orchestras, and a Grammy Award later, Hadelich is considered one of the world’s finest violin virtuosos. Sarasota Orchestra welcomes him for his debut with the orchestra in three performances running February 4–6 at the Van Wezel.
Hadelich, whose sound on the violin has been called “hypnotic,” will perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, a work Beethoven composed just a few years after he finally acknowledged his own worsening deafness and recommitted himself to his art. It is a transcendent work, focused on lyricism rather than virtuosity, yet wickedly difficult to play well. The orchestra will be led by Israeli conductor Yaniv Dinur, also making his Sarasota Orchestra debut in these performances.
The program includes the fascinating Field Guide by young composer and environmentalist Gabriella Smith. Smith grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and spent much of her childhood hiking and making field recordings of the sounds of nature. Field Guide has been performed frequently since its premiere in 2017, and Clive Paget of Musical America referred to Smith as possessing “the coolest, most exciting, most inventive new voice I’ve heard in ages.”
The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s riveting exploration of the concept of fate, his Symphony No. 4. After years of trying in vain to suppress or deny his homosexuality, Tchaikovsky had made a desperate decision to marry one of his students. When the marriage fell apart in only a few weeks, Tchaikovsky found himself pondering the role of fate in our lives as he composed his Fourth Symphony.
He described the work as depicting “the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness. ... There is nothing to be done but to submit to it and lament in vain.” Despite having been composed during a particularly tortuous and anxiety-ridden period in the composer’s life, the work remains one of the pinnacles of late 19th-century Romantic orchestral music, a symphony of extraordinary beauty and profound depth of emotion that still resonates today.
The performances on Feb. 4–6 promise to be powerful experiences. Sarasota Orchestra continues to attract the musicians that the rest of the world is talking about … right here to our sunny home. What a lucky “twist of fate” that we are here to enjoy them all!
To learn more about the concert and purchase tickets, visit Sarasota Orchestra’s website at SarasotaOrchestra.org. Programs and artists for all concerts are subject to change.