violin

Nathan Cone / TPR

 

One piano and four strings can yield a world of sound, according to violinist Charles Yang. With his musical partner Peter Dugan, Yang’s November 10 show for ARTS San Antonio exceeded expectations of what a violin recital can be, incorporating Ravel, gypsy melodies, virtuoso improvisations, and exciting arrangements of classic and contemporary pop and rock songs that sounded almost as if they were meant to be for violin and piano.

On a long drive, Itzhak Perlman will sometimes listen to classical music on the radio and try to guess who's playing.

"There is always a question mark," he says. "If it's good, boy, I hope it's me. If it's bad, I hope it's not me."

© Stefan Höderath / DG

Virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter isn’t waiting around for young people to come to the concert hall anymore. For her latest album, she takes the music to their house, performing with Lambert Orkis, Mahan Esfahani, and her young Mutter Virtuosi at a nightclub in Berlin.

This weekend, San Antonio native Nancy Zhou returns to South Texas, and David Mairs, the music director of the Mid-Texas Symphony, couldn’t be happier about it.

“Am I blessed, or what?” he exclaims with a smile.

Zhou began studying violin at an early age under her father, Long Zhou. After graduating from Keystone School, she continued her studies at Harvard University and the New England Conservatory. Now 22, her concert appearances have taken her around the globe, but she’s not jaded. Mairs says that’s something he has enjoyed when working with younger performers.

“With young soloists, it’s rare to see anybody young who’s doing well come in with that attitude of, ‘Well, this is my 52nd Tchaikovsky violin concerto. I’ll do it, where’s the check?’ There’s a freshness [with young performers]. Everybody benefits from that!”

Mairs has enjoyed a long relationship with Zhou, dating back to when she was an eight-year-old violinist with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio.

“She could play well, but she had the attention span sometimes… of an eight-year old!” he recalls.

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