Every week, we dip in to our robust multimedia archive to share with you some of the remarkable performances of Heifetz artists – students, faculty, and alumni – captured in concert. Whether it’s in our “home base” of Mary Baldwin University’s Francis Auditorium, in the Blackfriars Playhouse of the American Shakespeare Center, under the Hootenanny Tent, or any of our Heifetz On Tour venues, the cameras and microphones are rolling at practically every single Heifetz performance in the summertime, the better for us to share the musical magic that happens here with the world.
And more of the world is discovering us, too! In 2018, the views on our YouTube channel topped 1 million (it’s over 1.5 million now!), and we tripled the number of our subscribers. In December alone, we had more than 100,000 views to our channel – more than the entire year when we began producing videos in earnest in 2015.
So, in addition to the “regular” Video of the Week feature, once a year we share those videos that have struck the most responsive chord with our viewers. Click here to see the 2017 results, and see below for our “Top Ten of Twenty Eighteen!” And if you like these, there are a whole lot more where they came from, and more highlights from our 2018 season still to come! So check out our YouTube channel and subscribe, so you don’t miss any of the many more videos that are in the pipeline!
Now, the envelope please…
10. Prokofiev, After Intermission:
Violinists Elena Urioste and Melissa White are both noted concert artists AND a dynamic team of musician-focused yoga instructors on the Heifetz Communication faculty under the banner of their Intermission Sessions partnership. They delighted their students at a Stars of Tomorrow concert (right after intermission, of course!) with this in this bravura performance of the Finale from Sergei Prokofieve’s Sonata in C for Two Violins, Op. 56.
One of the most unusual pieces to hit the #Heifetz2018 stage this summer was a little-known sextet by Spanish composer Joaquín Turina called Scène andalouse, or “Andalusian Scenes,” scored for the unusual combination of solo viola, piano and string quartet. It’s in two movements: Crepuscule de Soir (at twilight), followed by A la fenetra (at the window), suggesting a serenade from a lover to his beloved on a balcony. Our Francis Auditorium audience was serenaded in this performance by violist Gilad Karni, joined by pianist Stefan Petrov, and the four members of our student Shenandoah Quartet: Dallas Noble and Luca Sakon, violins; Breanna Lang, viola; and Jacqueline Hager, cello.
17-year-old violist Laura Liu performs the Cadenza for solo viola by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. As Laura explains in the introduction, the Cadenza is an appendix to Penderecki.’s viola concerto: it begins just like the concerto with two repeated descending notes, marked “espressivo.”
To be honest, it surprised us too….when 10-year old preternaturally talented HeifetzPEG student Pauline Lee calmly strode onstage at one of our Saturday night Heifetz Hootenannies and simply announced she would be playing “The Orange Blossom Special….with a twist.” Twist she did, and twirl, and even do a 360-degree turn! Pauline also started something of a violin-playing hula-hoop revolution, picked up first by the Violin Channel….and then imitated by the noisome twosome TwoSet Violin.
2018 was a big year for 19-year old Heifetz Institute alum Zlatomir Fung, who was awarded First Prize in the Cello division (pocketing a $30,000 cash award in the process) at the 2018 Schoenfeld International String Competition,held in Harbin, China..and later traveled to Finalnd to take second place in the International Paulo Cello Competition, losing out to fellow Heifetz alum Brannon Cho. Before his twin triumphs, Zlatomir returned to Heifetzland to try out his competition repertory in front of the friendly audiences at Francis Auditorium… an honor we extend to many of our Artists in Residences getting ready for pressure-packed international competitions. Check out the results of one such required work that Zlatomir and pianist Carlos Avila turned into a performance of ravishing eloquence: Tchaikovsky’s Mozart-inspired Rococo Variations.
In its purest form, the term “Album Leaf” was a common practice by composers, artists, and literati of the 19th century, who would actually create small works in dedication to a friend, patron, or admirer, which would be physically inserted into their album or autograph book, and not intended for publication. The list of composers who left “leaves” behind is long and impressive. Richard Wagner left one such charming Albumblatt behind for a Paris patron, brought to life by Heifetz alum and 2018 Artist in Residence Shannon Lee, joined by pianist Esther Lim.
Recent research suggests that J.S. Bach himself both owned and wrote for the ‘violoncello da spalla,” a small cello-like instrument played more like a guitar than a cello or viola. Last summer, Heifetz concertgoers got the unprecedented opportunity actually to see and hear this instrument in living color, thanks to Heifetz alum and HeifetzPEG faculty member Andrew Gonzalez. Check out this special video of Bach’s music at the Blackfriars Playhouse of the American Shakespeare Center. Andrew will be back with his “da spalla” to play at our “Bach Around the Clock” event in March 2019, and we can’t wait to hear them again!
One of our top videos of the year featured the first piano trio in the brief history of the Heifetz Institute’s “program within a program,” the prestigious Ashkenasi / Kirshbaum Chamber Music Seminar. During the summer, our Wednesday night Stars of Tomorrow concerts feature the students in the A/K seminar, and the debut of the 2018 students did not disappoint. Take a look and listen to the entertaining opening remarks, and dazzling performance, by our piano trio of violinist SooBeen Lee, cellist Nicholas Mariscal, and pianist Jingxuan Zhang!
2. A Polish(ed) Polonaise
Polish composer Henryk Wieniawski’s Polonaise de concert, Op. 4, is a staple of many an aspiring young violinist’s repertoire…a charming piece frequently heard on Heifetz stages in the summertime. But few play it with the panache and precision managed by 17-year old violinist Yehun Danny Jin, joined in this Stars of Tomorrow performance by veteran pianist Beilin Han.
Talk about a debut! Fresh off a plane from London after performing with her mentor Pinchas Zukerman, 12-year-old HeifetzPEG student SoHyun Ko made a dazzling debut with on the Heifetz Stars of Tomorrow stage with this stunner of a performance of Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, or “Gypsy Airs.” Allison Freeman is the pianist. Our top video of the year has logged almost 250,000 views since its debut in late July!