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16 Jan 13

Japanese Violin Star to Shine in Skopje

Akiko Suwanai, a virtuoso violinst from Japan, will open the Macedonian Philharmonic's 2013 season.

Utrinski vesnik Skopje

Suwanai will perform the epic Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Kulenovic, a Serbian American, at the Army Hall (Domot na ARM) on January 17 at 8pm.

Suwanai is one of the brightest violinists to have emerged in the late 20th century. In a glittering career, she has won numerous prizes and awards such as the International Paganini Competition in Italy, the International Japan Competition and the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Belgium in 1989 (2nd place).

After becoming the youngest winner of the Tchaikovsky International Competition at the age of 18, she went on to perform in concert and recital in major cities across Europe, North America and Asia, with a broad repertoire ranging from J.S. Bach to contemporary composers, encompassing both the traditional repertoire and world premieres of new works.

The violin that she plays, a 1714 Dolphin Stradivarius, on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation, was once owned and played by the virtuoso Jascha Heifetz (1901–1987). Its owner in the late 19th century, George Hart, who was an instrument dealer in London, gave the violin its unusual name because its striking appearance and colouring reminded him of a dolphin.

Vladimir Kulenovic, on the other hand, is a young conductor whose talent made him a permanent fixture at the Symphonic Orchestra in Utah in the US. However, this year Kulenovic is returning to Europe to perform with the Belgrade Philharmonic as well as making his debut in Zagreb and Ljubljana.

The Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 53 that features on the programme on Thursday in Skopje was the second of the three concerti that Dvorak composed and orchestrated. It was written for the great violinist Joseph Joachim in 1878.

However, as Joachim vas sceptical about the quality of the piece, it was only premiered five years later in Prague by the violinist Frantisek Ondricek, who introduced the piece to audiences in Vienna and London.

The programme at Skopje's Army Hall also includes one of Johannes Brahms' most dramatically intense works, his Symphony No 1. According to great composer, the piece took 21 years to finish (from 1855 to 1876), from initial sketches to the final touches.

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