Look whose coming to Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival

and what have they been up to recently…

The list of performers attending the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival is pretty long - musicians at the top of their field. As a result, these musicians are also extremely busy. Here are what just a few of them have doing.

Yuja Wang “dazzle[d] Symphony Hall” in San Francisco recently according to Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronical.

Wang's fearless romp through the Prokofiev Second - the most dazzling and downright finger-busting of the composer's five piano concertos - would have been a headline event in its own right. The stunning thing about this 22-year-old virtuoso is not merely the ferocious precision she brings to even the most technically daunting material, but the ease with which she makes it sing, soar and pirouette.

Nikolaj Znaider took on Schoenberg, Korngold, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff & Brahms to end his Barbican residency with the London Symphony Orchestra. Paul Driver of the TimesOnline had this to say about Znaider’s performances:

The contrast between the Schoenberg, fusing traditional form with the new techniques of 12-tone serialism, and the Korngold, injecting perhaps more lusciousness into that form than it will hold, could not have been more pointed. The Korngold begins with a deathless melody and then it’s essentially all over, the formal interest slight, the melody granted a saccharine sovereignty. Znaider gave both works the benefit of what is evidently a deep devotedness, but understandably seemed more exercised by the bracing complexities of the Schoenberg, to which he nonetheless (and for all that he used the score) brought the easeful, silvery eloquence one associates with Mendelssohn’s concerto. He played Brahms’s in a concert under Colin Davis whose first half was Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings — written for this orchestra and here given as crunchingly sonorous an outing as one could want — and Stravinsky’s ballet Orpheus. There is no better vehicle for a soloist’s display of all-round mastery than the Brahms concerto, and Znaider emerged triumphant on every count: power, dexterity, upper-range ease, superbness of tone, passionate projection. He has a wonderful instrument, the “Kreisler” Guarneri del Gesu, whose soul he liberates with each bow-stroke. How marvellous that it doesn’t have to live in a glass case.

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been amazing audiences all over. Last March she stunned Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe with her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut and the Brahms Double Concerto.

Weilerstein was in the zone from the outset, rendering the cello's major opening statement with a large, full sound and an arresting tone that somehow seemed to face outward and inward at the same time.

Gil Shaham and his sister Orli performed Brahms beautifully in New York with a select group of friends. Allan Kozinn of the New York Times had this to say:

Ms. Shaham offered a daringly forceful interpretation of the F minor Sonata. Where the music so much as hinted that power would be welcome, Ms. Shaham supplied it amply, with sharply articulated phrasing as a bonus.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson also performed Brahms here with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra last weekend with an amazing rendition of Brahms Piano Concerto.

These are just a few of the performers coming to Vail this July. To match their intensity, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival is bringing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic to create a month of amazing music. I hope to see you there.

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