Violin maestro joining QSO as resident artist
IN AN international coup, the incomparable and mighty master of the violin and conductor Maxim Vengerov has been announced as Artist-in-Residence for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO).
With the orchestra he will present a series of performances in February and November 2017, from a solo concert hall recital, to a full scale performance of magnificent music, including one of his signature works, the great Brahms Violin Concerto.
Born in the Soviet Union, Mr. Vengerov's mother sang and conducted a 500 voice orchestra, and his father played first oboe in the local philharmonic.
Born with music in his blood, he began his career as a solo violinist at the age of five and won international competitions at ages 10 and 15.
He made his first recording at the age of 10 and went on to record extensively for high-profile labels including Melodia, Teldec and EMI, earning, among others, Grammy and Gramophone artist of the year awards. He is regarded as one of the world's finest musicians, often referred to as the greatest living string player in the world today.
He also enjoys international acclaim as a conductor and is one of the most in-demand soloists in all of classical music.
Yet to talk to him, all he wants to say is how much he loves Australians, Queenslanders in particular.
"I love Australia, it's the most extraordinary country,” he said. "There is so much interest in classical music, and it is still developing in Australia. You take pride in your culture. You feel emotion in music and drama.”
Mr Vengerov has been profiled in a series of documentaries including Playing by Heart, which was recorded by Channel Four Television and screened at the Cannes Television Festival in 1999, and Living the Dream, which was released worldwide and received the Gramophone Award for Best Documentary in 2008.
He is inspired by many different styles of music, including baroque, jazz and rock. He has conducted major orchestras around the world and has furthered his studies with Yuri Simonov, an exponent of the Russian-German conducting school.
As if that was not enough he is also an ambassador for UNICEF, something he is very proud of.
"I have been an ambassador for UNICEF since 1997,” he said. "It is my pride. My mother ran and orphanage in Russia, Siberia. I have seen with my eyes that music helps kids overcome difficult crises. I go to Siberia. I want to give something back. I have a modest involvement with my violin. I also go into war zones. Instead of a gun I go in with a violin. A violin is non-verbal, it can even make spiritual contact.”
Maxim lives with his family in Monte Carlo where he regularly performs for the rich, famous and the influential. Yet he says his time in Brisbane will be something very special to him.
"I look forward to working with the (QSO) orchestra,” he said. "Last year we did marvellous concerts. I love the orchestra, they are professional skilful musicians. They are easy-going but also have depth.”