Beethoven completed this concerto in such close proximity to when it was supposed to premiere that the soloist had almost no time to prepare it. The same violinist also performed one of his own compositions at the first performance, and he played it upside down on his instrument. I will not be doing that tonight.”
– Geneva Lewis
No wonder she doesn’t need to resort to trick plays…the budding career of Heifetz alum Geneva Lewis has been going mostly right-side up, with her most recent honor being named a Young Artist in Residence on. American Public Media’s Performance Today, the nation’s most popular classical music radio program.
Each year, Performance Today selects five Young Artists in Residence; outstanding students who show great promise for careers in music. Each “YAIR” spends time in the Performance Today studios, where they perform and take part in interviews with host Fred Child. (It’s an honor, by the way, that went to the Borromeo Quartet and our Artistic Director Nicholas Kitchen when the Artist in Residence program was getting started in 1997!)
So, since it’s the Beethoven Year, we’re going to give the Video of the Week honors to a showcase performance in Francis Auditorium by the then-17-year old Geneva and the redoubtable pianist Dina Vainshtein of the timeless Violin Concerto from the Heifetz summer of 2015. No, she doesn’t play the last movement upside down, but Geneva’s performance does perhaps evoke the spirit of Franz Clement, the violinist who premiered the piece in Beethoven’s time. According to a contemporary account, Clement’s “playing is indescribably delicate, neat and elegant; it has an extremely delightful tenderness and cleanness that undoubtedly secures him a place among the most perfect violinists. At the same time, he has a wholly individual lightness, which makes it seem as if he merely toys with the most incredible difficulties, and a sureness that never deserts him for a moment, even in the most daring passages.”