Premiere violinist Augustin Hadelich pays a return visit to Santa Barbara, in recital on Wednesday as part of the 100th anniversary CAMA season.
Augustin Hadelich, with pianist Orion Weiss
When: 8 p.m., Wednesday
Where: Lobero Theater, 33 E. Canon Perdido
Tickets are $39 and $49
German violinist Augustin Hadelich, considered among the upper echelon of violinists on the classical scene, is no stranger to Santa Barbara, dating back to the early moments of his precipitous rise. He was a soloist with the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2007 at the Arlington Theatre, soon after winning the esteemed International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. He returned as soloist with the Symphony ten years ago, soon after the orchestra had changed venues to the grand new and remodeled Granada Theatre.
He has since appeared in the CAMA series, including a memorable turn on the Britten Violin Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony, and recital with pianist Joyce Yang at the Lobero in 2016. On Wednesday, he returns to the Lobero—with pianist Orion Weiss in tow—to take part, logically enough, in CAMA’s significant centennial season. This time around, he arrives in town with a new imprimatur to be proud of, having earned Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year” award just last year.
Mr. Hadelich, born in 1984, began playing violin at five, showing great promise in his tender years. At age 15, though, he suffered terrible burns in a fire at the family farm, which delayed his progress for two years. But he prevailed and continued his studies and instrumental growth with a renowned fervor.
“It was a very difficult time that I had to go through there,” he said. “For a few months there, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to play the violin again. That was a very dramatic experience. Once I was well enough to try playing again and I started slowly practicing, I saw that I was still the same person inside and I could still play, and that gave me a lot of strength.
“I took it more seriously after that, once I had recovered from the whole experience. I was also in puberty when this whole thing happened. Once I was well again, I had also turned into a grown-up and I decided that this time, when I started playing again, to take it more seriously, because maybe I realized how easily it can all go away, suddenly. That was a very dramatic moment in my life.”
He studied with Joel Smirnoff at Juilliard and started a career which has known some meteoric heights over the past 15 years.
By way of demonstrating his natural versatility and expressive range, Mr. Hadelich’s most recent recording combines the tried-and-true 19th century stuff of Brahms’ only Violin Concerto and the spikier challenge of the late, great Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. It’s final, 1993 version premiered with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, with Pierre Boulez conducting. Teaming up with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for this recording, Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducting, the violinist soars and conveys great sensitivity in both romantic and Modernist turfs.
Further validating his connection to music of recent and current times, Mr. Hadelich also recorded David Lang’s hypnotic solo violin opus, “Mystery Sonatas–” which premiered at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in 2014 and was just released on the Cantaloupe label. It’s a mesmerizing seven-part score, delivered in tones both hushed and insightful by the violinist, alone.
At the Lobero on Wednesday, the violinist is calling up a duly varied program. He’ll take on the sturdy conventional stuff of Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and violin showpiece supplier Eugene Ysaÿe, as well as music by great American composer John Adams (like Lang, a composer with links to minimalism, but who transcended the genre), and the 2014-vintage “Hyperlude V” by Francisco Coll, a Spanish composer just one year younger than the violinist.
Fortunately, the Hadelich-Santa Barbara mutual admiration society continues.