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Andrei Ioniţă, Cello‍ ‍
Naoko Sonoda, Piano

Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
Andrei Ioniţă by Daniel Delang and Naoko Sonoda by Philipp Plum
Romanian cellist Andrei Ioniţă is the first-prize winner of Moscow’s 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition. The Guardian wrote of his performance, calling him “a musician with a sparkling technique and the priceless ability to respond to what is going on around him while he is displaying it.”


Andrei Ioniţă, Cello
Naoko Sonoda, Piano


P.A. LOCATELLI Cello Sonata in D Major (arr. Piatti)

STRAVINSKY Suite italienne

BACH Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor



BACH Arioso from Cantata BWV 156 ("Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe")

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

At a Glance

PIETRO ANTONIO LOCATELLI  Cello Sonata in D Major (arr. Carlo Alfredo Piatti)

An Italian contemporary of J. S. Bach, Locatelli expanded the boundaries of violin technique in ways that anticipated the scintillating pyrotechnics of Paganini and his peers in the 19th century. Cellist Alfredo Piatti—another latter-day virtuoso—arranged movements from two of Locatelli’s popular violin sonatas to create this bravura showpiece.

IGOR STRAVINSKY  Suite italienne for Cello and Piano

Stravinsky’s tuneful neoclassical ballet Pulcinella, inspired by Italian commedia dell’arte, has long been an audience favorite. Seeking to capitalize on its appeal, the composer spun off no fewer than four concert arrangements, including this effervescent five-movement suite tailor-made for Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH  Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008

Although Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello fell into obscurity after his death, they reemerged in the 20th century to become a cornerstone of the modern cello repertoire. The Second Suite, in the plangent key of D minor, is characterized by a richly varied palette of textures, tone colors, and expressive effects. 

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  Cello Sonata in D Minor, Op. 40

Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D Minor of 1934 is a study in sharp and often jarring contrasts, veering from one stylistic and emotional extreme to another. In harmonizing these diverse and often discordant elements, the young Russian composer created a highly personal musical language of extraordinary power and beauty.


Andrei Ioniţă

Winner of first prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the phenomenal young cellist Andrei Ioniţă is known as a versatile musician focused on giving gripping, deeply felt ...

Winner of first prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the phenomenal young cellist Andrei Ioniţă is known as a versatile musician focused on giving gripping, deeply felt performances. He has been recognized for his passionate musicianship and technical finesse.

Highlights of Mr. Ioniţă’s 2017–2018 season include performances with the Hallé Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra. He also makes his recital debut at Wigmore Hall.

The previous season featured major debuts with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, and Munich Philharmonic, and recital debuts in Chicago and Washington, DC. The 2015–2016 season included performances with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev at Cadogan Hall in London, as well as performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica di Bologna, and Bucharest’s George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Ioniţă also performed recitals in Berlin, New York, Munich, St. Petersburg, and throughout Italy before undertaking a chamber music tour of Korea with violinist Clara-Jumi Kang and pianist Lucas Debargue. In June 2014, he collaborated with Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy’s festival, Chamber Music Connects the World. In the past few years, Mr. Ioniţă has been heard in such venues as the Kammermusiksaal at the Berlin Philharmonie, Herkulessaal in Munich, Stadtcasino Basel, and Romanian Athenaeum. He regularly collaborates with Valery Gergiev, Mikko Franck, and Cristian Măcelaru.

Before winning the Tchaikovsky Competition, Mr. Ioniţă won first prize at the Aram Khachaturian International Competition (June 2013), and second prize and the special prize for interpretation of a commissioned composition at the ARD International Music Competition (September 2014). In 2014, he also received second prize at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann in Berlin.

Mr. Ioniţă was born in 1994 in Bucharest and began taking piano lessons at the age of five before receiving his first cello lesson three years later. He studied under Ani Marie Paladi in Bucharest and Jens Peter Maintz at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He is a scholarship recipient of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and performs on a cello made by Giovanni Battista Rogeri in 1671, generously on loan from the foundation.

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Naoko Sonoda

Japanese-born pianist Naoko Sonoda is a prizewinner of several international piano and chamber music competitions, including the Argento and Trieste competitions in Italy, and the ...

Japanese-born pianist Naoko Sonoda is a prizewinner of several international piano and chamber music competitions, including the Argento and Trieste competitions in Italy, and the Łódź Competition in Poland. Solo and chamber concert invitations have taken her throughout Europe and Asia, and to festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Her chamber music partners include Kolja Blacher, Hartmut Rohde, Mark Gothoni, Danjulo Ishizaka, Jens Peter Maintz, and Andrei Ioniţă. She has performed with such renowned orchestras as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and appeared in world-class venues, most notably the Berlin Philharmonie, Mariinsky Theatre, and Wigmore Hall.

Ms. Sonoda is in high demand as a collaborative pianist; she was named best collaborative pianist at the International Music Competition in Markneukirchen (2013), Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition in Warsaw (2015), and XV International Tchaikovsky Competition (2015). Her performances are regularly broadcast on international radio and television, including Kulturradio RBB and ZDF in Germany, NPO Radio 4 in the Netherlands, and the BBC.

Ms. Sonoda studied with Yoko Okumura, Seiko Ezawa, and Mikhail Voskresensky at the Toho Gakuen School of Music before studying at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Rainer Becker. She also studied chamber music with Tabea Zimmermann, Markus Nyikos, and Natalia Gutman. She has taken master classes with Hans Leygraf, Ferenc Rados, Klaus Hellwig, Pascal Devoyon, and Jacques Rouvier.
After graduating, Ms. Sonoda was engaged as collaborative pianist by the Universität der Künste Berlin, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, and Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar.

In the 2017–2018 season, she makes her debut as collaborative pianist at the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Colombia, among other recitals in Barcelona, Paris, Romania, and Tokyo.

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