The London Symphony Orchestra’s remarkable International Violin Festival, which begins on 8 April and runs for three months, brings together twelve stars of the violin world and showcases a form that has long captivated audiences – the violin concerto.
Between April and June, the Barbican stage plays host to some of the world’s greatest violinists, from young performers to established violin masters. The Festival features violinists Joshua Bell, Nicola Benedetti, James Ehnes, Isabelle Faust, Alina Ibragimova, Janine Jansen, Leonidas Kavakos, Midori, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gil Shaham, LSO Leader Roman Simovic and Christian Tetzlaff, and features performances of a cross section of the world’s great violin concertos.
The concerts are conducted by Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Gianandrea Noseda, André Previn, Tugan Sokhiev, Krzysztof Urbański and Osmo Vänskä. The LSO International Violin Festival is generously supported by Jonathan Moulds, and the media partner is leading strings magazine The Strad celebrating its 125th anniversary.
The concerts are combined with a programme of extra events celebrating the violin. At LSO St Luke’s, the LSO’s music education and community centre on London’s Old Street, Nicola Benedetti, Veronika Eberle, James Ehnes and Christian Tetzlaff deliver a series of BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts; and there are a number of LSO Discovery events and online Artist Conversations.
The Strad will hold three Strad Sundays in the Barbican, with demonstrations by violin makers during the day followed by panel discussions with violinists and leading experts from the strings world.
On 12 April ‘A guide to violin sound’ examines the tonal differences between instruments and asks whether it is possible to distinguish between a Stradivarius and a ‘lesser’ violin from sound alone. On 3 May, orchestras are explored, with helpful tips and anecdotes from LSO players on navigating the daunting audition process. Finally on 28 June, teaching is in the spotlight, with discussions by leading tutors on how to engage school-age children.