Maxim Vengerov 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘These last three years of my life were extremely interesting and productive,”
says violinist cum conductor Maxim Vengerov, speaking from his Monaco home prior
to his performance in Tel Aviv on September 18. The concert will take place at
the Smollarsh Auditorium (which serves as a temporary home for the Israel
Philharmonic during the Mann Auditorium renovations) with a program that
features Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’s Fourth
Vengerov will be accompanied by an ad-hoc orchestra, composed
of the Israeli orchestra players, led by Evgeny Tzirlin.
Three years ago
Vengerov, one of the leading violinists of the younger generation, announced
that he was temporarily quitting his busy solo career and switching to
conducting. But he has recently returned to violin playing, combining both
activities, and earlier this year he performed Brahms’s sonatas in Israel with
his first conducting teacher, Vaag Papian.
“For me, these three
‘sabbatical’ years have been extremely productive,” he
“During my entire life I’ve been learning a lot, and not only
about violin playing. For example, there was a period when I discovered the
At the time he had said in an interview, “Its voice is
so beautiful, I cannot imagine my life without it.”
Vengerov. “I was teaching music and occasionally conducting. But I soon I
realized that conducting was not something one can do like a hobby; it demands
your total dedication. Whatever I do, I want to learn from the inside, and that
was the reason for the temporary halt in my solo career. I entered the class of
maestro Yuri Simonov from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. He belongs to the
Russian-German school of conducting and traces his musical roots back to Gustav
Mahler,” he says.
“Now that I’ve conducted quite a few symphonic pieces,
I feel it’s time to return to the violin, enjoy my two musical professions and
be able to express myself through both. For example, I have pieces like
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade in my repertoire, where I perform all the violin
solo parts. By the way, there was only one musician who did it in the past,
Eugene Isai, who was not only a virtuoso violinist but also a very good
Vengerov is about to start a concert tour with Ensemble
Orchestral de Paris, “which is rather a chamber orchestra, that of the Beethoven
kind. I will play and conduct Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, and in the second
part of the concert I will conduct his Eroica symphony, which more or less
represents the typical framework of my concerts nowadays – a violin piece
followed by a symphonic one.”
He has also resumed teaching. “I just
signed a contract with the Yehudi Menuhin Academy in Gstaadt, Switzerland, as
music advisor. It involves lessons, masterclasses and performances with the
Academy Ensemble. I’m also negotiating with the Royal Music Academy in London,
and I lead the annual Musica Mundi International chamber music course and
festival, where I work with 45 young talented musicians aged eight to
Among his numerous activities, the busy musician has inaugurated a
10- day master course in Gdansk, Poland.
“Studying with 27 young
violinists was a sheer pleasure, and the course organizers asked me to continue
next year. Hopefully, it will become an annual event.”
And as if this
were not enough, Vengerov will head the jury of the 14th International Veniavsky
Violin Competition in Poznan, give two concerts with the Moscow Philharmonic in
Moscow and St.
Petersburg, tour Poland and appear with the Prague
Philharmonic and pianist Fazil Sai in several venues in Italy, Germany,
Lichtenstein. And he hasn’t abandoned his Baku orchestra, either.
to catch him here. It seems it may be quite a while before he has time to
return.Maxim Vengerov performs Beethoven’s Violin Concerto under Evgeny
Tzirlin on September 18 at 8:30 p.m. at the Smollarsh Auditorium in Tel Aviv.