Joshua Brown and Milana Pavchinskaya
Joshua Brown, violin
Milana Pavchinskaya, piano
December 9, 2020
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
David Schwan, host
Claude Debussy – Violin Sonata in G minor, L. 140 (13′)
I. Allegro vivo
II. Intermède: fantasque et léger
III. Finale: très animeé
Clara Schumann – Three Romances, Op. 22 (11′)
I. Andante molto
II. Allegretto: Mit zartem Vortrage
III. Leidenschaftlich schnell
Henri Wieniawski – Faust Fantasy, Op. 20 (15′)
Joshua Brown was first recognized for his debut performance with the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of fifteen, for which he received glowing reviews from critics including “stunning,” “brilliantly played” and “spellbinding.” Following that debut, Joshua has gone on to perform with dozens of orchestras, has performed in concert halls on three continents, and has been featured on NPR, WFMT, WNIU, WCLV, ElmhurstTV, and Fox5DC.
Additionally, Joshua won the 2019 International Violin Competition of Leopold Mozart in Augsburg, Germany, securing the First Prize, “Mozart” Prize, the Audience Award, the Chairman of the Jury Special Prize, the Kronberg Academy Special Prize, and the CD Production Special Prize. Other competition victories include the Cooper International Violin Competition (Second Prize and the Audience Award) and the IX International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (the Audience Award, Special Prize, the Academy of Arts Golden Medal, and the Siberian Academy of Arts Talent Award). Joshua was also named a Yamaha Young Performing Artist and was awarded the Luminarts Cultural Foundation’s Fellowship for Strings. As part of Kairos String Quartet, Joshua won Gold Medals in the Junior Division of both the Fischoff National Chamber Competition and the M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition.
A recipient of the Stradivari Society of Chicago, Joshua is grateful to play on a 1679 Pietro Guarneri violin from Cremona. Joshua currently studies violin with Donald Weilerstein at New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) on a full Deans Scholarship. For the five years prior to NEC, Joshua studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago’s (MIC) Academy as a Scholarship Fellow. Other scholarships include the North Shore Chamber Music Festival’s Haag/Galvin Young Artist and Arkady Fomin Scholarship, the American Opera Society of Chicago’s Scholarship, the Highland Park Music Club Scholarship, and the Parkridge Civic Orchestra’s International Rotary Scholarship. Joshua is passionate about reaching and connecting with new listeners and towards that end, maintains a very active presence on his Instagram account @joshuabrownviolinist.
Milana Pavchinskaya is a well-known concert pianist, teacher, and experienced vocal and instrumental accompanist. She was born in Odessa, Ukraine, where she graduated from the famous Special Music School of Stolarsky. She continued her music education in Moscow, Russia, in the Gnessin Institute of Music with her teacher Maria Gambarian, where she got her degree in piano performance, chamber music, and accompaniment. When Milana Pavchinskaya moved to Chicago, she got her masters of music in pedagogy and performance from Northwestern University, where she was the recipient of the Hoverson Piano Award in honor of Pauline Lindsly because of her musical and academic excellence.
Since then, you can hear Mrs. Pavchinskaya often in various venues. She especially enjoys collaborating with other musicians and participated in many chamber music festivals, such as the Jewel Box Series at Northeastern University, Chamber Music Series at North Park University, Winter Chamber Music Festival at Northwestern University, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Music in the Loft, and many others. Currently, Milana Pachinskaya can be heard at local venues including WFMT, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a frequent collaborator with members of the CSO. In the past, she made a guest appearance on Oprah. Currently, she is on the faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she teaches piano and coaches advanced string players.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Violin Sonata in G minor,
L. 140 (1917)
The Sonata for Violin and Piano was composed at a dark time in the life of Claude Debussy; written while battling late-stage cancer, it was to be the last piece he wrote before his death. To a colleague, he self-deprecatingly remarked, “I only wrote this sonata to be rid of the thing…” However, the sonata, though uncharacteristically short, features ever-shifting colors and capricious mood changes, which lend it a transcendent, unforgettable temperament. The first movement, Allegro vivo, moves between tranquility and shimmering brilliance. The second movement, Intermède: Fantasque et léger, blends capricious elements with jazz influences, with some sections sounding at home in an early 1900s nightclub. The third and final movement, marked Finale: Très animé, is full of brilliance and light; Debussy himself described it as “filled with tumultuous joy.”
Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Three Romances, Op. 22 (1853)
In her 61-year concert career, Clara Schumann was considered one of the greatest pianists of her time; her contributions in the world of composition, however, were often overlooked. Her Three Romances, Op. 22 are among the last pieces she wrote before the death of her husband, Robert, after which she stopped composing. All three Romances are characterized by their elusive, ever-wandering nature and long melodic lines. The first Romance, Andante molto, is passionate and warm, but with hints of a darker, more melancholy character appearing throughout. The Allegretto is more muted in nature, with a violin line that seems troubled and wandering; a brief reprieve of cheerfulness appears in the middle of the piece but leaves as suddenly as it arrives. The final Romance, marked Leidenschaftlich schnell, is characterized by its rippling piano line that accompanies long, singing melodies from the violin.
Henri Wieniawski (1835-1880)
Faust Fantasy, Op. 20 (1865)
Henri Wieniawski, one of the greatest violin virtuosos to ever live, composed his ‘Faust’ Fantasy, Op. 20 in 1865 and based the work on themes from the famous opera Faust by Charles Gounod. In the opera, Faust, the main character, sells his soul to the Devil, Mephistopheles, in exchange for eternal youth — a decision that has unsurprisingly catastrophic results. Wieniawski’s take on the opera follows the arc of the story, chronicling Faust’s deal with the Devil, as well as his seduction of Marguerite, the woman he loves. The piece, written as a device for Wieniawski to demonstrate the full range of his virtuosic talents, involves fiendishly difficult and virtuosic embellishments that truly utilize the full technical range of the violin, as well as its emotional and operatic abilities during many tender moments.
Don’t miss the Avalon String Quartet
next week on the
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday!
Wednesday December 16, 12:15pm