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Simone Lamsma
Robert Kulek

Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:30 PM Weill Recital Hall
Violin sonatas by two 20th-century masters are performed by Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma, who “plays with the kind of artistry and maturity that makes one wonder if she started playing the violin before she was born” (Cincinnati Enquirer). She performs Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 1, noteworthy for its first movement’s muted scales that were likened by the composer to “wind in a graveyard,” and Strauss’s Violin Sonata, a youthful work with heartfelt melodies that point to the lyric splendor of his mature music. There’s also the world premiere of a James MacMillan work commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of its 125 Commissions Project.

Part of Salon Encores.


Simone Lamsma, Violin
New York Recital Debut
Robert Kulek, Piano


JAMES MACMILLAN Violin Sonata, "Before the Tryst" (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)

PROKOFIEV Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80

R. STRAUSS Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18


DUSHKIN “Sicilienne” (after Romanze from Weber’s Violin Sonata, Op. 10, No. 1)

Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Public support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.

Distinctive Debuts is supported by endowment gifts from The Lizabeth and Frank Newman Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

At a Glance

JAMES MACMILLAN  Sonata for Violin and Piano, “Before the Tryst”

This virtuosic single-movement sonata is the latest of several works based on a folk-style melody that MacMillan composed more than 30 years ago to words by Scottish poet William Soutar. The music’s fusion of tenderness and angularity, high-octane energy, and free-floating languor is typical of the Scottish composer’s multivalent musical language.

SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80

Like much of the music Prokofiev wrote after his return to the Soviet Union in 1936, the dark-minded Sonata in F Minor represents an attempt to mediate between his distinctively modernist style and the music for the masses that all Soviet artists were expected to produce under the banner of “socialist realism.” The brilliance of the violin part reflects the influence of David Oistrakh, to whom the sonata is dedicated.

RICHARD STRAUSS  Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18

Written in 1887, when Strauss was just 23 years old, the Sonata in E-flat Major contains the seeds of the musical genius that would shortly bear fruit in his pathbreaking symphonic tone poems and operas. Op. 18 was his last piece of abstract chamber music; virtually all of his later instrumental works would be inspired by literary or philosophical programs.


Simone Lamsma

Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma is respected by critics, peers, and audiences as one of classical music's most striking and captivating musical personalities. Conductor ...

Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma is respected by critics, peers, and audiences as one of classical music's most striking and captivating musical personalities. Conductor Jaap van Zweden, with whom Ms. Lamsma enjoys a close collaboration, describes her as one of the leading violinists in the world.

With an extensive repertoire of more than 60 violin concertos, Ms. Lamsma has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Chicago, RTVE, Frankfurt Radio, and New Zealand symphony orchestras; the Cleveland, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; BBC Philharmonic; and Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI.

Highlights of the 2016-2017 season include debuts with the National and Vancouver symphony orchestras, Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, as well as return invitations to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and Royal Flemish Philharmonic.

In April 2017, Ms. Lamsma returns to the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic to perform the world premiere of Matijs de Roo's Violin Concerto at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This season also marks her Japanese debut, performing with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra as well as in recital with pianist Yurie Miura. A dedicated chamber musician, Ms. Lamsma's recital appearances include her recent debut at London's Wigmore Hall with pianist Robert Kulek.

In 2015, her most recent recording of sonatas by Mendelssohn, Janáček, and Schumann with Robert Kulek was released on the Challenge Records label, receiving high accolades from the press. Her recording of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Sofia Gubaidulina's In tempus praesens with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic under James Gaffigan and Reinbert de Leeuw was released earlier this year, also on Challenge Records. Ms. Lamsma plays the "Mlynarski" Stradivarius (1718), on generous loan to her by an anonymous benefactor.

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Robert Kulek

Pianist Robert Kulek has performed with distinguished artists who include Nikolaj Znaider, Arabella Steinbacher, Daniel Müller-Schott, Augustin Hadelich, Kyung Wha ...

Pianist Robert Kulek has performed with distinguished artists who include Nikolaj Znaider, Arabella Steinbacher, Daniel Müller-Schott, Augustin Hadelich, Kyung Wha Chung, Gil Shaham, Julia Fischer, Julian Rachlin, Viviane Hagner, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and Alisa Weilerstein, as well as the Jerusalem, Vogler, and Aviv quartets.

Mr. Kulek has performed at venues that include the Philharmonie in Berlin, Semperoper in Dresden, Philharmonie in Cologne, Herkulessaal in Munich, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Tonhalle in Zurich, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Musée du Louvre in Paris, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Seoul Arts Center in South Korea, and Casals and Oji halls in Tokyo, among others.

Festival appearances have included Schwetzingen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Nymphenburger Sommer, and Rheingau in Germany; Lucerne and GAIA in Switzerland; Colmar and Saint-Denis in France; White Nights in St. Petersburg; Storioni and Zeist in the Netherlands; Ravinia in Chicago; and the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival.

Since 2012, Mr. Kulek has been a faculty member at the Cologne University of Music, and he gives master classes at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and the Royal Irish Conservatory in Dublin.

He has recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Orfeo, Pentatone, Avie, Tudor, and Challenge labels. His recordings have received Edison Award nominations, and have been named Editor's Choice in Gramophone and Selection of the Month in The Strad.

An American of Latvian origin, Mr. Kulek studied at the Mannes School of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Yale University, as well as with Richard Goode and Maria Curcio. He lives in the Netherlands.

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