violin

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis, a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto.

As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.)

David Bromberg is best known as a guitar virtuoso, who has collaborated with Bob Dylan and George Harrison and fronted his own band. But he's also a collector of American violins, and his collection is such that the Library of Congress has announced its intention to acquire it.

Claire Harbage / NPR

©Simon Fowler / Decca/Universal

About eight minutes into the first movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s first violin concerto, with soloist Nicola Benedetti, the orchestra trades melodies with the solo violin. The whole movement has been a dense musical search, and if it doesn’t exactly open into a clearing, there is a sense of orchestra and soloist working in perfect harmony. I thought to myself, “That’s some pretty good soundboard mixing” until I remembered I was merely listening to a perfect melding of soloist and ensemble!

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.

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