Los Angeles Music Preview: HADELICH and URBAŃSKI (Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on November 17, 2016

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles


In the past five years, I have encountered only a handful of fresh-to-the-scene classical soloists who completely enraptured—those who combine the old-school magnetic quality of superlative technique with energetic experimentation, soul, and discovery. Among the electrifying performers that have made me literally lean forward in my seat are cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianists Daniil Trifonov and Behzod Abduraimov.


But when Juilliard-trained violinist Augustin Hadelich performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it was a revelation. (Hadelich was a late replacement for Christian Tetzlaff in 2015.) Grounded yet ethereal, intense yet warm-hearted, jocular yet serious, the now 32-year-old played his 1723 Ex-Kiesewetter Stradivarius, taking a work I thought I knew and transformed it from a violinist’s showcase into an intimate and achingly beautiful experience.


Certainly, Hadelich has a superior technique—crystal clear top notes and precise, incredibly long trills—but his soulful interpretation rendered the Beethoven so quiet, emotional, and sensitive that it actually roused the spirit. Indeed, the audience burst into sustained applause after the first movement (Allegro) and somehow couldn’t stop. Without ego, Hadelich continually bowed his head in appreciation over and over and over. At one point, I wondered if the patrons believed the Concerto was complete, but they had simply fallen in love and could not control themselves. He was never ostentatious yet he was continuously hypnotic. The more tender his playing, the more rapt we became.


Since then, the Italian-born German has become one of the most in-demand players on the world stage, and his only Los Angeles performance in the near-future is coming up on November 25, 2016. For 3 days, he will return to Disney Hall with the LA Phil to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, Turkish. The program, which includes Brahms Symphony No. 2 and Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, will be led by Krzysztof Urbański (pictured above), the 34-year-old Polish conductor and composer who this year enters the sixth season of his highly acclaimed tenure as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.


(Friday evening’s intermissionless concert forgoes the 13-minute Beethoven for a “Casual Friday” event: After the the concert, enjoy complimentary beer tastings from Monkish Brewing and Alosta Brewing while you mingle with members of the LA Phil.)

I have now seen Hadelich four times–from recital to grand halls–and I can safely promise you he is one of our greatest, if not the greatest violinist alive. To familiarize yourself before you go (and attend you must), listen to Hadelich performing the Turkish with Edo de Waart and the Chicago Symphony:

photos courtesy of LA Phil

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Krzysztof Urbański, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave.
Friday, November 25, 2016 at 8 (casual Friday)
Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 8
Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 2
for tickets, call 323.850.2000 or visit LA Phil

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