About the Artists – Benjamin Beilman and Roman RabinovichBenjamin Beilman
American violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning plaudits around the globe for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism. The Scotsman has described him as “a remarkable talent, delivering playing of rare insight and generosity, as captivating as it is gloriously entertaining” and The New York Times has praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast.”
During the Beethoven celebrations in 2020, Beilman performed the Beethoven Concerto with the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Janowski, the Wroclaw Philharmonic and their Music Director Guerrero, the Orchestra Metropolitain in Montreal with Han-Na Chang and with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse in Sokhiev’s closing concert as Musical Director. Other highlights in 2019-2020include debuts with the Danish National Symphony, Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna, Antwerp Symphony orchestras in Belgium, Utah Symphony, Minnesota orchestras, and his return to the London Chamber Orchestra to play/direct.
In past seasons, Beilman has performed with many major orchestras worldwide, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Zurich Tonhalle, Sydney Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra, both at home and at Carnegie Hall. In recital and chamber music, he performs regularly at the world’s major halls, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Louvre Museum, Berliner Philharmonie, The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and at festivals he has performed at Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Prague Dvorak, Robeco Summer Concerts in Amsterdam, Music@Menlo, Marlboro and Seattle Chamber Music amongst others. In early 2018, he premiered a new work dedicated to the political activist Angela Davis written by Frederic Rzewski and commissioned by Music Accord, which he has performed extensively across the US.
Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He has received many prestigious accolades including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award. He has an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics and released his first album Spectrum in 2016, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janáček and Schubert. He plays the “Engleman” Stradivarius violin from 1709, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Praised by The New York Times for his “uncommon sensitivity and feeling,” the eloquent young pianist Roman Rabinovich was top prizewinner of the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Israel in 2008, He made his Israel Philharmonic debut under Zubin Mehta at the age of 10, and has since appeared as a soloist throughout Europe and the United States, most recently with orchestras including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Sir Roger Norrington, the Meiningen Hofkapelle, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra and Szczecin Philharmonic in Europe, and the Seattle Symphony, the Sarasota Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony, the Sinfonia Boca Raton in the US.
He has given recitals in venues such as Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre in New York, the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the Terrace Theater of Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and has participated in festivals including Marlboro, Lucerne, Davos, Prague Spring, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. An avid chamber musician, he is also a regular guest at ChamberFest Cleveland while through the global pandemic, Rabinovich and his wife violinist Diana Cohen gave a very successful series of free weekly concerts from their front yard in Calgary.
Rabinovich has earned critical praise for his explorations of the piano music of Haydn. At the 2018 Bath Festival, he presented a 10-recital 42-sonata series, earning praise in The Sunday Times. Prior to that, in 2016 as artist in Residence at the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland, he performed 25 Haydn sonatas in five days, and he has also performed a complete sonata cycle in Tel Aviv. He is currently undertaking a recording project of the complete sonatas for First Hand Records, the with the second volume released in July 2021.
Highlights of Rabinovich’s 2021-2022 season include the Berg Kammerkonzert with violinist Kolja Blacher and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, solo recital tours in UK and US including a three-concert Haydn Day at Wigmore Hall, his debut at the Lofoten Piano Festival and a return to the Capital Region Classical series. Chamber music partnerships this season include violinists Kristof Borati and Benjamin Beilman, cellist Camille Thomas, pianist Zoltán Fejérvári and the Escher and Dover Quartets
Born in Tashkent, Rabinovich immigrated to Israel with his family in 1994 where he began his studies with Irena Vishnevitsky and Arie Vardi, and at age 10 made his Israel Philharmonic debut under the baton of Zubin Mehta. He went on to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Seymour Lipkin, and earned his master’s degree at the Juilliard School where he studied with Robert McDonald.
In 2015, Rabinovich was selected by Sir András Schiff as one of three pianists for the inaugural “Building Bridges” series, created to highlight young pianists of unusual promise. Dubbed “a true polymath, in the Renaissance sense of the word” (Seen & Heard International, 2016), Rabinovich is also a composer and visual artist, who regularly enhances his performances and CDs with his own artwork. He currently resides in Canada with his wife violinist Diana Cohen and daughter Noa.
Todd MichaelTodd Michael is a research professor in the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory. Plants have highly complex genomes that result from mixing, reorganizing and restructuring to adapt to diverse and changing environments. Michael’s research focuses on examining these genomes. Specifically, he leverages genetic sequencing technology and computational biology to uncover how genomic differences enable plants to better respond to and exploit their environment.
Michael’s lab examines plants with unique physical forms, carbon and nitrogen acquisition strategies, and growth patterns to better understand the function of specific plant genes. For example, his team pioneered the use of the fastest growing (~1 day to multiply) and smallest (1 mm) flowering plant, Spirodela polyrhiza, as a research model to study a diverse array of plant functions. They also use carnivorous and parasitic plants to examine novel nitrogen acquisition strategies. Additionally, they study plants that perform alternative photosynthesis such as crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to uncover how a genome is rewired to take in carbon dioxide at night and conserve water during the day.
As a member of Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative leadership team, Michael is providing genome sequencing support to create Salk Ideal Plants, which could store excess amounts of atmospheric carbon deep in the ground. His team is investigating the genetic architecture controlling specific traits, such as deeper rooting, in order to take a “genome-informed” breeding approach to help plants store more carbon and adapt to climate change.
BENJAMIN BEILMAN, violin and ROMAN RABINOVICH, piano
Sunday, April 24, 2022
|Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Minor (1917)
|Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96 (1812)
|Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major (1886)
|Claude Debussy||Sonate pour violin et piano
Intermède, Fantasque et léger
Finale: très animé
In 1915 Debussy drafted a project for a series of six chamber works, all titled “sonatas”: the first was for cello and piano; the second, flute, viola and harp; the fourth and fifth for various wind and brass instruments with bass; and the sixth would culminate in a finale of sorts, using all the previous instruments together in a virtual chamber orchestra. Debussy was able to complete only the first three of these works before his death from cancer in 1918.
The Sonate pour violin et piano was composed during the Great War, a particularly difficult period for Debussy. Despite the sonata’s brevity, he struggled tremendously to complete it. Added on to his distress about the war, he was facing serious health and financial issues. In general, French Nationalism was extremely heightened during this period, exacerbated by their dislike of Germans, and Debussy was no exception; he always made it a point to differentiate himself and his music from that of the Germans, signing his compositions “musician Francais.” And this national pride was reflected in his music by looking back to the forms and values of the earlier French masters, Couperin and Rameau for form and inspiration.
The premiere of the Violin Sonata took place in Paris on May 5, 1917, with the composer playing the piano part and Gaston Poulet on the violin, as part of a fundraising concert for French soldiers. It was Debussy’s final public performance.
It is clear that In the violin sonata, his penultimate composition, Debussy’s musical concepts were headed in a new direction—away from the pictorial, “impressionistic” music that had driven his work for the previous 20 years, providing us with a glimpse of what purely abstract wonders the composer might have wrought had he lived longer.
Although the Sonate is imbued with deep melancholy, it is not without Debussy’s wonderful harmonic dexterity and sense of fantasy, and he employed non-traditional tonalities and chromaticism to infuse the music with new sounds and colors. Unlike the violin-piano duos of most of the 19th century, in the Debussy violin and piano sonata each instrument pulls against the counter melody of the other, rather than accompanying one another, creating a different kind of sonority and texture. They challenge each other but ultimately come together. The piano’s poignant opening chords immediately transport the listener into a subdued atmosphere enveloped in nostalgia and sadness. The movement is filled with rhythmic and harmonic ambiguities which fuel a growing momentum. In contrast, the middle movement, Fantasque et léger, is mostly light and capricious with a surprisingly melodious and sensuous second theme. Debussy actually completed the final movement four months before the previous two; it is a showcase of agility for t e performers, with running notes at tremolo-like speed on the piano, and the use of a four octave range on the violin.
|Beethoven||Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96 (1812)|
Beethoven wrote nine of his ten sonatas for violin and piano during the period of 1797-1803, when he was in his late 20’s and early 30’s. Although this was still relatively early in his musical development, he essentially redefined the entire genre of the violin sonata over those seven years. After Beethoven, a violin sonata could have four movements instead of three; it could last ¾ of an hour rather than 15 minutes; and it could be challenging enough that no amateur could possibly play it. And most importantly, after Beethoven, a violin sonata could not be a piano sonata with an optional or secondary violin part—it had to be an equal collaboration between both players.
Despite his anguish at the onset of his deafness, Beethoven’s creative output between the mid- 1790’s and 1804 was remarkable, producing the first three symphonies, the first three piano concertos, the Triple Concerto, the Op. 18 Quartets, twenty-three of the thirty-two piano sonatas, nine of the ten violin sonatas as we, as a host of other piano pieces and chamber works.
Beethoven’s progress from the relatively small-scale sonatas of Op. 12 and the great “Kreutzer” sonata of 1803 was extraordinary even by his own standards. Five years at most lie between them. By the time he came to write his Op. 47 violin sonata, Beethoven had enlarged the genre to concerto-like proportions—indeed, in his sketch for the title page he alters the description of its style from “brilliante” to “molto concertante quasi come d’un Concerto” (almost like a concerto). The work was originally written for the young virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower, but re-dedicated to the celebrated violinist Kreutzer, who in fact never played the work.
Another seven years passed before Beethoven was to write another violin and piano sonata, this one, his tenth and last, Op. 96, composed for the French violinist Pierre Rode. Rode’s style of playing must have been very different from Bridgetower’s, since this sonata could hardly contrast more sharply with its predecessor; it is calm, intimate, and almost totally lacking in bravura. The beginning of the first movement sets the tone, with its dialogue between violin and piano growing out of a mere scrap of melody. This incandescent and lyrical movement is conceived upon surprisingly classical lines for the Beethoven of 1812, apart from a brief excursion into E-flat major just after the start of the recapitulation. E-flat is also the key of the deeply felt slow movement, which, as Nigel Fortune pointed out in The Beethoven Companion, foreshadows both Schumann and Brahms in its keyboard textures and subtleties of harmony.
The following movement, Scherzo in G minor, is characterized by sharp off-beat accents within a generally quiet dynamic level. The contrasting Trio, with its soaring melody, is once again in E flat major, and the little coda at the end is in G major.
The finale is a set of seven variations, based on a popular Viennese song, which digress considerably from the original melodic line while still remaining close to its underlying harmonic structure. Beethoven rounds out the final movement with an exuberant coda.
|Cesar Franck||Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major (1886)|
Cesar Franck’s Violin Sonata, written only four years before his death, is one of the finest chamber works to emerge in the closing decades of the 19th century. Franck wrote it as a wedding present for his friend and Belgian compatriot, the great violinist Eugene Ysaye, who gave the piece its first performance on December 16th, 1886. The work drew immediate attention and acclaim, and its undimmed popularity has subsequently prompted numerous transcriptions, including those for cello and flute.
Franck’s approach to classical structure was always flexible, as the three movement D minor Symphony readily demonstrates. Although the violin sonata is cast in four movements, the opening Allegro ben moderato resembles an extended prelude. It introduces, at first hesitantly, and then with growing confidence, the germ-cell out of which the entire work grows (the violinist’s first three notes), and is found in the opening theme of each successive movement. This prelude also establishes the work’s underlying A major tonality, significant because the ensuing Allegro, a movement of dramatic gestures and strong contrasts, is in D minor. Despite the title Recitative-Fantasia and its rhapsodic character, the musing third movement also largely adheres to classical procedure. The Allegretto poco mosso finale, for all its sunny disposition, is a masterly summation of what has gone before: both “cyclic” themes reappear, and the principal theme is reconstructed in canon form—nowhere is Franck’s sleight-of-hand more brilliant and defter. The piece ends with a highly exciting and robust coda, and the sonata as a whole stands as one of the most complete expressions of Franck’s musical personality.
SCHEDULE FOR EACH EVENT
|3:30 PM||Registration opens|
|4:00 PM||Concert begins in the Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium|
|5:00 PM||Faculty speaker|
|5:15 PM||Concert resumes|
|6:00 PM||Concert concludes|