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The New Yorker: Gidon Kremer Confirms His Place as "Greatest Violinist Alive" at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival

Gidon Kremer: "The New Yorker" Nov 2011 by Tes One

Late last month, Gidon Kremer returned to Lincoln Center in New York for the second-annual White Light Festival—which its organizers have described as "an exploration of music’s power to illuminate our interior lives"—to present a program titled Homage to J.S. Bach. Kremer was joined for the concert by cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite and pianist Andrius Zlabys. The program centered around Bach's Chaconne for solo violin, with the US premiere of Silvestrov's Dedication to J.S. Bach for violin and piano opening the concert and works by Sofia Gubaidulina and Shostakovich following.

In the latest issue of The New Yorker, the magazine's classical music critic Alex Ross features the performance in his article examining highlights of the White Light Festival, which runs through November 19 and has also included a collaboration among Rokia Traoré, Peter Sellars, and Toni Morrison and, as Ross notes, performances from the London Symphony Orchestra of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Britten's War Requiem.

"Between the immensities of Beethoven and Britten came an evening centered on one man: the Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer," writes Ross. "Kremer's performance of the Bach Chaconne was the wonder of the night. Herbert von Karajan once declared that Kremer was the greatest violinist alive; this still seems to be the case. His legendary reading of the Chaconne—at once microscopically precise and muscularly human, without virtuoso artifice or false vibrato emotion, unfurled as if in a single breath—has grown ever deeper with age."

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Following his White Light Festival concert, Kremer joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Boston's Symphony Hall for a performance of Schumann's Violin Concerto, which he made "sound earnest and impassioned," writes Boston Phoenix classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz. And speaking of light, "Kremer played with an edgy lightness," says Schwartz, "a lightness of being. And the last movement had the incisive energy it needed to carry the day."

Kremer reunites with his Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra for a tour of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria starting next weekend. For more information and ticket links, go to

To peruse Kremer's Nonesuch catalog, go to the Nonesuch Store, where most CD orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s at checkout.


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