Russian Master Pieces

  • Concert Information
  • Biography
  • Program Notes
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Date: Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Time: 7:30PM Concert Begins

        * 6:45 – Pre-concert talks are open to all ticket holders

Place: Memorial Auditorium

            1300 7th St

             Wichita Falls, TX

 

Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family in 1991. He made his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony, and his US touring debut with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Since being awarded first prize at the inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in 2013, he has led an active career as soloist, having made over 150 concerto appearances in the US and abroad. 

As a chamber musician, Julian performs extensively in recital with his fiancée Marika Bournaki. In 2016 the Schwarz-Bournaki duo was awarded first prize at the inaugural Boulder International String Competition’s “The Art of Duo,” and embarked on an extensive 10-recital tour of China in 2017. Julian is a founding member of the New York-based Frisson Ensemble and the Mile-End Trio. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, and as a member of the Palladium Chamber Players in St Petersburg, Florida.  

Julian is an ardent supporter of new music, and has premiered concertos by Richard Danielpour, Samuel Jones and Dobrinka Tabakova. In the 17-18 season, he gave the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto with a consortium of six orchestras. 

A devoted teacher, Mr. Schwarz serves as Asst. Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory and on the artist faculty of New York University. Other faculty appointments include faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, and cello faculty at the Eastern Music Festival where he runs programming for the Tuesday evening chamber music series. 

Born in Seattle, Washington, Mr. Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest and the Lakeside School. He continued to the Colburn School in Los Angeles and then The Juilliard School to study with mentor Joel Krosnick (BM ‘14, MM ‘16). Other influential teachers include the late David Tonkonogui, the late Toby Saks, and Lynn Harrell. Julian plays a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743 and an American bow made by Paul Martin Siefried. He is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club. A Pirastro artist, he endorses and plays the "Perpetual" medium set of cello strings. Julian also proudly endorses Melos Rosin.

 

Bruckner: March in D minor

Best known for his nine symphonies and seven masses, Austrian composer Anton Bruckner was born in the sticks in 1824, a fate that plagued how he was viewed and treated by his city-slicker colleagues in Vienna for the remainder of his life. A late-bloomer by classical standards, Bruckner did not come into his own until his forties; as time has proven, though, his symphonies are among the highest accomplishments of the late Romantic period. Although Bruckner further paved the way for the twentieth century symphonic works of Mahler and Sibelius, he turns here to a “lighter” mode of composition, that of the march, which dates back to the late seventeenth century. Many composers before Bruckner did the same—think of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstances marches. Bruckner’s four-minute March in D minor is part of a slightly larger work from 1862 titled Four Orchestral Pieces, which also includes his Three Pieces for Orchestra. This brief work is of interest primarily for two reasons: 1. these are the first orchestral works composed by Bruckner; and 2. the March shows some indications of the symphonic Bruckner to come. The Four Orchestral Pieces were not performed in concert until 1924, over sixty years after their composition.

 

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107

The unassuming cello is the workhorse of the string instruments, providing the sonic foundation for the orchestra, whether as the standard continuo instrument of eighteenth century orchestral music or that of smaller chamber ensembles. In the nineteenth century, Beethoven and Schubert helped move the instrument forward in the orchestral setting by inviting it to carry the melody rather than merely supporting it, and during the later Romantic period, composers utilized it in some of their most profound works, such as the opening theme in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7. Though Shostakovich’s greatest contribution to twentieth century music are his fifteen symphonies and equal number of string quartets, his Cello Concerto No. 1 is one of the most important twentieth century contributions to the instrument’s repertoire. Shostakovich composed his first of two cello concertos in 1959 for cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who committed it to memory in the four days leading up to its premier by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra that same year. The concerto has four movements, the first of which Shostakovich referred to as “an allegretto in the style of a jocular march.” The last three movements are performed with no intervals between them. The Concerto No. 1, which lasts just under thirty minutes, is considered one of the most difficult works in the cello repertoire to perform, along with Prokofiev’s earlier Sinfonia Concertante, which Shostakovich credits as an inspiration.

 

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

Though some critics have shied away from Tchaikovsky’s music, suggesting it is overly emotional and sentimental, it has (perhaps because these attributes) always been popular with audiences, including Shostakovich and fellow Russians Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Tchaikovsky’s greatest gift as a composer was his ability to create flowing, lyric melodies, as seen in the second movement of the Symphony No. 5, which was composed in the summer of 1888 and premiered in St. Petersburg that fall with the composer at the baton. Like his two preceding symphonies, the Fifth is cyclical in structure; that is, it has the same recurring theme of his Fourth Symphony—what has been dubbed the “Fate” theme—but unlike the earlier work, the theme appears in all four movements of the Fifth, its funeral-like character progressing into the more triumphant march we hear in the final movement. Passages of the symphony have been quoted by others on numerous occasions, including in the 1949 Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn movie Adam’s Rib in the form of the Cole Porter tune “Farewell, Amanda,” which borrows form the fourth movement; the “Fate” theme is quoted by Shostakovich in his Symphony No. 7; and even John Denver seems to have gotten in on the act with the opening of “Annie’s Song,” which sounds remarkably similar to the horn theme from the second movement.