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The New York String Orchestra with Yefim Bronfman at Carnegie Hall

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Carnegie Hall

New York String Orchestra
Rohana Elias-Reyes,
Director, New School Concerts

Jaime Laredo, Conductor
(Jaime Laredo Web Page)

Yefim Bronfman, Piano

Jinjoo Cho, Violin
Pamela Frank, Violin
Bella Hristova, Violin
Kyoko Takezawa, Violin

Carnegie Hall
Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 24, 2018

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) The Hebrides Overture, 1830.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) Concerto for Four Violins and Orchestra in B Minor, Op. 3, No. 10, “Allegro, “Largo-Larghetto”, “Allegro”, 1711.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58, “Allegro moderato”, “Andante con motto”, “Rondo:Vivace”, 1806.

On December 19th, sixty-four young, gifted musical artists arrived in New York to meet Conductor, Jaime Laredo, after being chosen from a list of la crème de la crème of high school and college music students. They originate from twenty-four states and seven countries, including the US, and work twelve hours/day for one and one-half weeks in professional orchestral and chamber seminars and coaching in this program of The New School’s Mannes School of Music. Tonight is the first of two seasonal concerts they are performing at Carnegie Hall under Maestro Laredo’s baton. The New York String Orchestra Seminar, founded in 1969 with Alexander Schneider, violinist and conductor, now has 2,300 alumni, including Yo-Yo Ma and Cho-Liang Lin. Alumni have gone on to become leading solo artists, orchestra conductors, music directors, and more. In 1993, Maestro Laredo, a chamber musician, conductor, and soloist, became the Seminar’s Artistic Director and Conductor. Laredo is also Music Director of the Vermont Symphony. Tonight’s Guest Pianist, Yefim Bronfman, has performed with the world’s leading orchestras and in internationally renowned concert halls. He regularly performs on tour, in recital series, and in festivals. The four Guest Violinists, Jinjoo Cho, Pamela Frank, Bella Hristova, and Kyoko Takezawa, all have splendid artistic reputations.

Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture introduced tonight’s program. The performance was vibrantly melodic, with calm, poised students, all reverently focused on the Maestro. A bucolic theme unfolded, as Carnegie Hall Program Notes indicate that a 20 year-old Mendelssohn “was inspired by the wild, Hebrides islands” in Scotland’s coastal waters. The theme was wistful and elegant, with youthful optimism. In its scoring, bassoons, flutes, oboes, strings, horns, trumpets, strings, and clarinets are listed. Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and Orchestra in B Minor, with three movements, “Allegro, “Largo-Larghetto”, and “Allegro”, brought out Ms. Cho, Ms. Frank, Ms. Hristova, and Ms. Takezawa. This vivid and vibrant Concerto includes generous solos for each of these masterful violinists, as well as blended musical eloquence. Danceable, undulating themes synthesize into exotic inflections and phrases. The “Allegro” finale is imbued with rhythmic and harmonic intensity.

Yefim Bronfman joined the stage for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major. with three movements, “Allegro moderato”, “Andante con motto”, and “Rondo:Vivace”. The obvious chemistry and mutual respect between Mr. Bronfman and Maestro Laredo were apparent. Mr. Bronfman kept close eye contact with the Maestro throughout the evening, as did the 64 student musicians, filled with wonder and pride. Most remarkable was a piano-cello passage, with Mr. Bronfman accompanied by the principal cellist. As the Program Notes also mention that the Seminar stresses a chamber music approach and personal expression, I could see that the students were at ease and exuding emotionality in the moment. Mr. Bronfman introduced the “Allegro moderato”, and the Orchestra echoed a variation in another key. It was almost as if the students were taking cues from the pianist, as well as conductor. The central “Andante con motto” was introspective, brooding, and resonant, while the “Rondo-Vivace” imploded with rapturous, warm-hearted refrains, some even operatic in force. The students performed with seamless, sparkling talent. Kudos to the New York String Orchestra and Jaime Laredo, kudos to Ms. Cho, Ms. Frank, Ms. Hristova, and Ms. Takezawa, and kudos to Yefim Bronfman.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at