Violinist Nikolaj Znaider Makes His Salzburg Festival Debut Playing Tchaikovsky with Vienna Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel

After summer festival performances in the US with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst, the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Leonard Slatin, Nikolaj Znaider performs in a pair of concerts at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. Znaider will perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto on August 27 and August 29. These will be his first performances with the Vienna Philharmonic since his recording sessions under Valery Gergiev for the recently released Brahms and Korngold concertos, a disc that earned this rave from the Dallas Morning News: “The Copenhagen native with matinee-idol looks serves up deeply committed and lustrously intoned performances of both the Brahms and the…Korngold.” The Daily Telegraph wrote of the Brahms recording: “Znaider’s own playing transmits thoughtfulness, expressive power, concentration and command of the nuances of phrasing, combined with an overarching sense of structure.”

Znaider started his summer on this side of the Atlantic, welcomed back first to Cleveland where he has become a popular visitor. Writing about his interpretation of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival, the Plain Dealer praised a performance “marked by a honeyed tone and exceptional precision. ... Few violinists relish the finer points of music the way Znaider does. No potentially subtle or velvety passage goes by untapped.” The next stop on Znaider’s festival tour was Napa Valley’s Festival del Sole, where he played the Brahms concerto; a few days later he left California for the Bravo!-Vail Valley Music Festival, repeating the Brahms with the resident New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, its new music director.

On August 6, Znaider stepped in to replace Leonidas Kavakos (who was recovering from surgery) at the Hollywood Bowl, playing Tchaikovsky’s concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Leonard Slatkin. Although he was brought in at very short notice, Znaider dazzled both audiences and critics with his seemingly effortless performance. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times reported:

“[Znaider] has learned from Heifetz to make the impossible sound effortless… Znaider skated over the orchestra, his reflexes a delight. Nothing Slatkin could throw at him fazed him. The central Canzonetta was weightless and a wonder.”

Znaider rounds out his summer with appearances at the Jerusalem Intern ational Chamber Music Festival (Sept 1 and 2) and then at northeast Germany ’s regional Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Sept 5), where he will play Brahms’s concerto with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields . His summer draws to a close in the Swiss Alps at the Ascona Festival (Sept 10); there he conducts the Lugano Orchestra in a concert featuring Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2, which he will lead from the violin.

Earlier this summer Znaider recorded Sir Edward Elgar’s violin concerto with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Sir Colin Davis for release next year on BMG/Red Seal, the Sony Classical-held label for which Znaider records exclusively. He will perform the work widely next season, during the centennial of its creation.

Nikolaj Znaider at the Salzburg Festival
August 27 & 29, Salzburg , Austria
Vienna Philharmonic / Gustavo Dudamel
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto


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