Practicing life

Virtuoso violinist Bracha Malkin says music is what she does when she is not running after her children.

Bracha Malkin 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Bracha Malkin 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Herzliya Chamber Orchestra opens its 30th season with a concert starring young American virtuoso violinist Bracha Malkin. The program features Festive Overture by Yasha Heifetz; Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra by Max Bruch; and Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. Harvey Bordowitz, the artistic director of the orchestra, conducts.
This is not Malkin’s first appearance in Israel, far from it. She has appeared as a soloist with the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Rishon Lezion Symphony, as well as in recitals, and the devoted audience finds the vivid and fiery sound of her 1757 “Trechman” Guadagnini violin unforgettable.
Russian born and US raised, Malkin is a winner of the Wieniawski International Violin Competition and the Paganini International Violin Competition. She now enjoys a globe-trotting career.
She began studying music at age four with her father, Isaac Malkin, who was a professor at the Leningrad Conservatory. She later continued her studies with him at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division.
Arts in Russia have always been taken seriously, and studying with a parent could have a difficult experience, “but our situation was unique,” she says. “We are very similar in character. It was a very respectful relationship. He never pushed me, and even now if something is really important to me, I play it to him.”
Malkin, who has been featured on the Musical America 2008 website as an up-and-coming talent, is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and holds the Performer Diploma with Distinction from Indiana University, as well as a master´s degree from the Maastricht Conservatory.
She says she feels a strong affinity “for the Russian violin school, which has produced many outstanding musicians, and there is a lot to be learned from them.”
Her repertoire is extremely wide and includes contemporary music. She admits that for her, there’s not such a thing as a favorite composer. “I love Schubert, but I love Shostakovich just as I like Brahms. It really depends on the day and on my mood.”
Together with her sister, violinist Anat Malkin Almani, she formed The Malkin Duo, which has given performances in Argentina, Israel, Italy, Uruguay, Colombia and throughout the United States.
“I think Anat is more talented, since she plays both violin and viola,” laughs Bracha. “There’s a fantastic repertoire for two violins and for violin and viola. It is deep and beautiful. We used to play together a lot. Playing with a sister is a wonderful experience, I highly recommend it,” she laughs.
Malkin recently released her debut album, entitled Violin and Piano Sonatas with pianist Cullan Bryant.
“We have often performed together, so recording a disk was quite natural,” she says.
With all these activities, does she have any time left for anything but music? “Oh sure, I have to! I have a family.
We run around and do all those Mommy and Daddy things. Music is just a part of my life.”

Herzliya Performing Arts Center on November 9 and 11 at 8:30 p.m. Preconcert lecture by Harvey Bordowitz starts at 8 p.m. For reservations, call (09) 950-0761.