Sunday, November 21, 2010

Julia Igonina

Julia Igonina is a Russian concert violinist born on April 3, 1978 (Heifetz was 77 years old.)  She is widely known as a champion of contemporary violin works, though her repertoire includes the standard concertos of Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Prokofiev, Sibelius, and all the rest.  One of the rare pieces she plays is Alexander Tchaikovsky’s second violin concerto, a fiendishly difficult work.  Her recital repertoire is also incredibly extensive.  She began her violin studies at the age of six with Vyacheslav Khavkin at the Glinka Music School in Minsk (1984-1997.)  Afterward, she studied with Eduard Grach at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, from which she graduated in 2004.  (Grach has become the most eminent violin pedagogue in the Russian Federation since Zakhar Bron went to the Royal Academy in England.)  Her debut came at the age of fourteen with the Belarus State Orchestra playing the Mendelssohn concerto.  She has since concertized extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  As far as I know, she has never played in the U.S.  Igonina has also won (between 1998 and 2005) several major violin competitions.  As Nicolo Paganini played for royalty, Yehudi Menuhin played for the Pope, Isaac Stern played for the U.S. President, and Chloe Hanslip played for the Queen of England, Julia Igonina has also played for a highly placed world dignitary - the President of the Republic of China (Jiang Zemin - 2004.)  In 2008, she became the leader of the New Russian Quartet, based at the Moscow (Tchaikovsky) Conservatory.  She began to judge at international violin competitions in 2009.  YouTube has several videos of her playing, including a brilliant interpretation of the Vitali Chaconne which Heifetz made famous.  Igonina plays on a Vincenzo Panormo (aka Vincenzo Trusiano) violin (made circa 1789) - formerly, Julian Sitkovetsky's violin.  (Photo of Julia Igonina by Anna Chobotova) 

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