Feb. 10, 2:30 p.m., Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik, known for his “dark-hued tone and razor-sharp technique” (The New York Times), performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, with the Verde Valley Sinfonietta at the Sedona Performing Arts Center (995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road).
Led by Music Director Kevin Kozacek, this program entitled “Sweet Melodies” also includes Debussy’s Petite Suite and Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11.
“The Mendelssohn Concerto is undoubtedly one of the most important violin concerti of the romantic era,” says Kutik. “It is a stunningly beautiful work complemented by its intricate structure and orchestration. It allows for a lifetime of discovery.”
Yevgeny Kutik has captivated audiences worldwide with an old-world sound that communicates a modern intellect. Praised for his technical precision and virtuosity, he is also lauded for his poetic and imaginative interpretations of standard works as well as rarely heard and newly composed repertoire.
A native of Minsk, Belarus, Kutik immigrated to the US with his family at the age of five. His 2014 album, Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures (Marquis Classics), features music he found in his family’s suitcase after immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1990, and debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Classical chart. The album garnered critical acclaim and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and in The New York Times.
As an extension of Music from the Suitcase, Kutik commissioned a diverse group of today’s leading composers for his new project dedicated to building a living archive devoted to family and memory called Meditations on Family: New Works for Violin.
The composers translated a personal family photo into a short musical miniature for violin and various ensembles. Featured composers include Joseph Schwantner, Andreia Pinto Correia, Gity Razaz, Timo Andres, Chris Cerrone, Kinan Azmeh, Gregory Vajda, and Paola Prestini.
Kutik recorded each of the new pieces for weekly digital release online as singles on Marquis Classics, starting in January 2018.
Kutik’s 2012 album, Sounds of Defiance, features the music of Achron, Pärt, Schnittke, and Shostakovitch. His third solo album, Words Fail, was released to critical acclaim in 2016.
Recent highlights include the world premieres of Timo Andres’ Words Fail at The Phillips Collection, Michael Gandolfi’s Arioso Doloroso/Estatico at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, Ron Ford’s concerto Versus with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and Sheila Silver’s Six Beads on a String, as well as the New York premiere of George Tsontakis’ Violin Concerto No. 2 at the 92nd Street Y.
In April 2019 Yevgeny will make his debut at the Kennedy Center, presented by Washington Performing Arts. Additional performances in his 2018-19 season include appearances with the Dayton Philharmonic, La Crosse Symphony, Duluth Superior Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Cape Town Philharmonic in S. Africa and recitals at the Honest Brook Music Festival, Bargemusic and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Yevgeny Kutik made his major orchestral debut in 2003 with Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops as the First Prize recipient of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition.
In 2006, he was awarded the Salon de Virtuosi Grant as well as the Tanglewood Music Center Jules Reiner Violin Prize.
Kutik began violin studies with his mother, Alla Zernitskaya, and went on to study with Zinaida Gilels, Shirley Givens, Roman Totenberg, and Donald Weilerstein.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory and currently resides in Boston.
Sinfonietta Music Director Kevin Kozacek recommends a visit to Yevgeny’s website, yevgenykutik.com, for samples of Yevgeny’s virtuosic performances.
“You will see that we are very lucky to be able to bring Yevgeny to Sedona.” The concert is sponsored by Sedona resident Millicent Leenhouts in memory of her late husband Dr. Thomas Leenhouts, one of the founders of the Sinfonietta.
In addition to the Mendelssohn concerto the Sinfonietta will perform Brahms Serenade No. 1 in D and Debussy’s Petite Suite. All are works written in the 19th century “Romantic” period of music, and aside from the double entendre of “suite and sweet,” they all do feature singable, memorable melodic writing.
Early in his career Debussy composed Petite Suite for piano four hands. It was later orchestrated by another composer and has become one of Debussy’s most popular works, even though it does not sound much like his later, more typical compositions.
The first two movements are settings of poems by Paul Verlaine. The first, En Bateau, sets a scene on a boat that floats across dreamy, moonlit water.
The second, Cortège, pictures a genteel woman preceded by her pet monkey, the train of her dress carried by a servant.
Brahms wrote his enchanting Serenade in D in 1860 while working as a court appointee in Detmold, near Hanover.
It was his first attempt at anything resembling a symphony, and pays homage to Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart in use of their forms and even occasionally in textural references to their works.
For more information about the concert and to buy reduced price tickets (starting at $15), visit the Sinfonietta’s website, VVSinfonietta.org.
Tickets are also available at the door at full price ($20, 40, $50, $65).
Those who have not purchased tickets in advance are asked to please arrive at least 45 minutes early.