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Virtuoso violinist joins NZSO for winter concert tour


One of the most versatile and exciting violinists of the decade makes her New Zealand Symphony Orchestra debut in June.

Carolin Widmann, hailed by critics for her “immense skill and sensitive musicality”, will perform Stravinsky’s unique Violin Concerto as part of the NZSO’s Winter Daydreams tour in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch.

The German violinist, named Musician of the Year at the 2013 International Classical Music Awards, has performed with the Berlin, London, Netherlands Radio, and BBC philharmonics, BBC Scottish Symphony and other leading orchestras. Her recordings include a critically-acclaimed interpretation of Mendlessohn and Schumann concertos.

“I would go as far as to say a sound is alive. I have to treat it with the utmost love, otherwise I kill it. I have to let it speak,” says Widmann.

The violinist is also passionate about performing new music and playing in non-traditional venues with different artists. She has worked with choreographers and performance artists, designed concert programmes for museums and played a solo recital in a football stadium for a project curated by an architect.

Stravinsky was initially reluctant to write his Violin Concerto, which Widmann will play, due to his limited knowledge of the instrument. Accomplished violinist and violist Paul Hindemith convinced Stravinsky that being unfamiliar with the instrument would help make the work truly original.

The acclaimed Fawzi Haimor will conduct Winter Daydreams. The maestro was praised by critics when he last conducted the NZSO in 2016. Christchurch’s The Press said he drew a “stunning performance from the orchestra”, The Dominion Post was “impressed all night” by his talent and The New Zealand Herald found him “Enviably fluent and personable”.

With the NZSO, Maestro Haimor will mark composer and NZSO Chief Executive Christopher Blake’s 70th year with performances of his Angel at Ahipara. Maestro Haimor will also conduct Tchaikovsky’s majestic Symphony No. 1 Winter Daydreams, one of the composer’s most loved works.

Angel at Ahipara was inspired by an image taken in 1992 by renowned New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison of a statue of an angel in a cemetery at Ahipara in the Far North. Blake visited Ahipara five years later. “The music captures the hope and desolation of the angel and the memory of the soul over which she stands guard,” he says.

Tchaikovsky worked so hard while composing his First Symphony Winter Daydreams that he suffered from insomnia, which led to hallucinations. Musicians and audiences were unimpressed when they heard individual movements. But after several revisions the entire symphony was a hit when first performed.

Tchaikovsky later said that while Winter Daydreams was an immature piece “fundamentally it is still richer in content than many of my other, more mature works”.

Tickets for the Winter Daydreams in Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin are available via ticketmaster.co.nz, and in Christchurch via ticketek.co.nz

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