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Stradivari Stars Set to Sparkle

Augustin Hadelich and Mayuko Kamio visit Buffalo with primo violins

Young violinists Augustin Hadelich and Mayuko Kamio join the BPO at Kleinhans

The days when the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performed a half dozen or so concerts every year, at its then summer home at Artpark in Lewiston, are becoming an ever distant memory. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to remember that Artpark also used to host several usually very fine opera productions every summer, including the only local production of Wagner’s monumental Ring Cycle, over the course of several seasons, as well providing the only local venue for productions by internationally renowned touring ballet companies, such as the Russian Kirov Ballet.

In addition to its series of outdoor concerts, the BPO will perform two concerts at its home in Kleinhans Music Hall this coming weekend. On Friday July 18 at 7pm, BPO music director JoAnn Falletta will be on the podium for a concert being billed as “The Rising Stars of the Stradivari Society”. The Italian-born, German violinist Augustin Hadelich will be joined by the Japanese violinist Mayuko Kamio in a concert of violin works that will feature the two young virtuosos playing both individually, and together, along with the members of the BPO. The soloists will be performing on a pair of the finest violins in the world made in Cremona, Italy, during the first few decades of the 18th century. Augustin Hadelich will perform on the 1723 “Ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivarius, on loan to him from the Buffalo-based industrialist Clement Arrison, a member of the Stradivari Society. Mayuko Kamio will perform on the 1735 Guarneri del Gesu “Sennhauser,” currently on loan to her from another member of the Stradivari Society, who in one of the finer traditions of philanthropy chooses to remain anonymous.

Founded in 1976, the wealthy members of the Chicago-based Stradivari Society purchase the rare violins, violas and cellos that are valued well into the millions. They then loan them to talented up-and-coming violinists, who themselves cannot even begin to contemplate purchasing such prohibitively expensive instruments. This arrangement is beneficial for all the parties involved as the owners of the instruments gain the public prestige of having their generosity associated with some of the most promising young violinists in the world while these same violinists gain the enviable advantage of performing on the very finest instruments. The instruments themselves also benefit, as the best way to insure the playing longevity of a wooden instrument that is many hundreds of years old is to make certain that it is performed on often.

Augustin Hadelich is no stranger to Buffalo audiences after delivering a memorable performance of the Brahms violin concerto in March of 2013. He showed exceptional talent from an early age, before a terrible accident on his family’s farm left him severely burned all over his face and upper body at the age of 15 in 1999. Thankfully, Hadelich healed over the course of the next few years, going on to graduate from Julliard and to become the gold medalist of the 2006 Indianapolis International Violin Competition which launched his international career. Hadelich will be the soloist in two gypsy-themed pieces, the Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen, Op. 25 by the great 19th century violin virtuoso Pablo de Saraste, and Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane, while he will join Mayuko Kamio in Bach’s Concerto in D minor for Two Violins and String Orchestra, BWV 1043.

Japanese violinist Mayuko Kamio showed great talent from a very early age, making her concerto debut in Tokyo at the age of ten under the baton of Charles Dutoit, in a concert broadcast on NHK television, the premier station in the country. In 2007, at the age of 21 she was the youngest violinist ever to become the gold medalist at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and she has since gone on to an international career in Europe and the United States. Myuko Kamio will be the soloist in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ transcendently ethereal pastoral romance, The Lark Ascending, before switching gears as soloist in Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op. 20.

Maestro Falletta will begin the concert with Mihail Glinka’s Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla and end it with Emmanuel Chabrier’s colorful España.

Doctors of the World with the BPO

The next day, Saturday, at 8pm in Kleinhans, JoAnn Falletta will lead the members of the BPO, together with several dozen guest musicians from around the world, who are also doctors, in a concert benefiting the new John R. Oshei Children’s Hospital. The BPO and Children’s are collaborating in this effort to begin to bring Buffalo’s cultural assets to the children and their families in the hospital’s care. The program includes some of the most popular works in the classical music repertoire including Gustave Holst’s colorful tone poem The Planets, Leonard Bernstein’s bubbling Overture to Candide and Ottorino Respighi’s irresistibly orchestrated Pines of Rome. General Admission is $25 with all ticket proceeds benefiting Children’s Hospital.

Tickets: 885-5000. Information: bpo.org.

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