Classical: Passion, Paganini and Zionism

Violinist Adrian Justus is building his concert career in Israel.

By SARAH HERSHENSON
June 24, 2015 18:00
3 minute read.
Violinist Adrian Justus

Violinist Adrian Justus. (photo credit: PR)

 
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Concert violinist Adrian Justus is passionate about Paganini. On Saturday evening, June 27, he will perform Paganini’s Concerto No. 1 and La Campanella and Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy with the Solani Rishon Lezion Orchestra at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv.

“Paganini was the ultimate violinist,” says Justus. “He played and wrote everything the violinist can do. His music is a joy to play and a pleasure for the listener to hear.”

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Justus has been performing since he was a young boy in Mexico. He has won prizes at many prestigious competitions, such as the Gold Medal at the Henryk Szerying International Violin Competition. A tall, graceful, soft-spoken violinist, he was described by the critic of the Japan Times as a violinist who could produce more passion with a few strokes of his bow than most of us could in a lifetime.

“Music is more than reproducing the notes printed on the sheet music,” Justus points out. “The violin is an instrument of communication. Its vibrations touch the heart and speak to the soul.”

Justus was born in Mexico City in 1970. His grandfather, a wellknown dermatologist from Hungary, and his grandmother were attending the 1939 World Science Fair in New York City when Hitler sealed Hungary’s borders. It was illegal for them to stay in the US, and Mexico was the country that welcomed them. The family remained in Mexico.

Adrian’s father, who is president of the World Organization for Orthodontists, was Adrian’s first violin teacher.

“My next teacher,” says Justus, “Robert Vazka, taught me that it is the hand that holds the bow that has limitless capabilities. It produces different sounds, colors and effects and is the key to virtuosity. Every day, I play Paganini caprices, which are the showpiece of bowing possibilities, in addition to Bach and scales.”

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Today, Israel is Justus’s home base. Eighteen years ago, he made aliya from Mexico. After weighing the pros and cons, Zionism won out.

“My parents and family are still in Mexico. Now I am married to Orly Marcowitz (who is a musicians’ representative), and we are blessed to have a son who is three years old and loves music and the theater.”

When Justus is on tour, he thinks of himself as an ambassador for the State of Israel.

“I was not required to join the IDF, and through my music I feel that I am doing something for the country. I love this country very much, and I am not afraid to speak up and explain the issues that confront us. In most instances, people thank me for giving them more information,” he says.

“People are people, and communication is the key,” he adds. “A turning point in my life was when I was a teenager on a music program in Japan. The young Japanese musicians did not know very much English. We learned to communicate through our music,” he recounnts.

“All violins,” he points out, “are constructed of hard and soft woods, which come from various places in the world. There is a saying that ‘It is one world, and the world is round.’ The violin vibrates and speaks to the soul. The tonality of the individual cultures might be different, but the vibrations are the same.”

Justus will perform on the Guarnerius del Gesu (1744), on loan from the Juvi Cultural Foundation at his concert in Tel Aviv.

“This violin,” he says, “is famous for its brilliant sound, perfect for Paganini.”

Adrian Justus will perform on June 27 at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv. For ticket information: (03) 966-0177 or 054–788-9565

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