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Virtuoso plays "stolen" violin

Virtuoso plays "stolen" violin

Media Release

for immediate release

23 May 2005

Virtuoso plays "stolen" violin

"A genius. the beauty of his sound, a transcendent technique, impeccable phrasing. everything is united so that Pierre Amoyal touches and profoundly moves us as soon as his bow touches the strings of his Stradivarius." [Le Figaro]

"One had to admire the violinist's big, darkly vibrant tone and effortless technique. passionately intense." [Los Angeles Times]

Pierre Amoyal, one of the greatest violinists in the world today, travels to New Zealand in June to perform Berg's Violin Concerto with the Auckland Philharmonia, and to serve on the jury of the third Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

Pierre Amoyal plays the famous 1717 "Kochanski" Stradivarius, regarded as one of the most beautiful violins produced by Stradivarius, with an extremely rich and luminous tone. The violin was owned by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Polish violinist Pavel Kochanski, among others, before Amoyal purchased it in the early '70s. Fifteen years after acquiring his "dream" instrument, it was stolen, and not recovered for four years. "I felt as though I had lost my voice and a part of my spirit as well," Amoyal said. "But these years were in fact very positive ones for me as I learnt an important lesson, that the violinist is responsible for creating the sounds coming from his instrument, and not vice-versa." Amoyal continued his concertising while a specialised lawyer in Rome worked on returning the violin. He treated the case in exactly the same manner as a human kidnapping, to ensure the violin's return, undamaged - which, after considerable drama it was, with the help of the Italian carabinieri.

Pierre Amoyal is well known to music lovers throughout the world. When he was only 12 years old he completed his studies at the Paris Conservatory with a first prize. The young prodigy then studied for five intense years with the legendary Jascha Heifetz. At the age of 22 he made his European début with the late Sir Georg Solti and the Orchestre de Paris, followed by appearances in all the major European capitals, as well as in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and in the Far East. He has played under the most important conductors of the last three decades: von Karajan, Ozawa, Boulez, Maazel, Solti, Pretre, Sanderling, Rozhdestvensky, Rattle, and Myung Whun Chung, to name only a few.

Pierre Amoyal was the youngest musician ever to be nominated as a professor at the Paris Conservatory. He now lives in Switzerland and teaches at the Lausanne Conservatory. In addition, he is in great demand throughout the world as a soloist and a competition judge - in 2006 he serves on the juries of the Sibelius International Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition.

Pierre Amoyal is a very touching example of a virtuoso whose exceptional talents have never hindered his love of hard work, or his development of the most essential human qualities.

Amoyal: "Heifetz told me that it doesn't matter how long it takes to get to the top. It's how long you stay there that counts."

Amoyal has been at the top for 20 years now, "And if I am still there after so much time it is because I learned from him [Jascha Heifetz] that it is not fashion that is important, but the profound qualities of the human being and the artist. There is not one concert I've played when I haven't asked myself afterwards: What would he have thought of that? - not technically or violinistically, but in terms of my personal involvement in the music making. Because of this I've never played a concert that was not 100% sincere. That's the best thing that he has given me."

[from an interview in The Strad magazine]

Auckland Philharmonia Vero Premier Series, Concert 7

Thursday 16 June - 8pm, Auckland Town Hall

Christopher Wilkins (conductor), Pierre Amoyal (soloist)

Suppé: Light Cavalry Overture

Berg: Violin Concerto (Critical Edition by Douglas Jarman, 1996)

J. Strauss: Emperor Waltz

Brahms: Symphony No.4 in E minor

Adult tickets from $23; concessions available (service fees apply). Phone the Ticketek Orchestra Hotline on 307 5139.

Michael Hill International Violin Competition

Sat 4 to Mon 6 June, all day (Rounds I & II) - Queenstown

Wed 8 and Thu 9 June, 7pm (Round III) - Auckland

Sat 11 June, 7.30pm (finals with the Auckland Philharmonia) - Auckland

All competition rounds open to the public. Phone the Ticketek Orchestra Hotline on 307 5139.

The Auckland Philharmonia receives major funding from Creative New Zealand and a major grant from Auckland City.


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