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August 2013
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Vengerov: An On and Off Relationship?

Maxim Vengerov

Hear Vengerov, Monday at 8:00 PM

For those of us not born to rip through Tchaikovsky like a hot knife through butter, it’s painful to see a virtuoso walk away from an instrument. As a youth, Maxim Vengerov was a regular with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony; in his twenties he pulled the highest fees of any violinist, but at thirty-two, the Russian powerhouse stopped playing. There was much talk of burn-out—he had been performing since five, recording since ten, and had already recorded the entire violin repertoire. For some months he had complained of an exercise-related injury, and had expressed an interest in the study of conducting—whatever the reason, Maxim Vengerov put down the violin.

Over a four-year period, and free from endless hours of practicing, Vengerov did take up conducting; he began teaching at the Royal Academy of Music; he started a family; he also put more energy into charitable work. In essence, his was a worthy life, but how does one escape those nagging questions about such a gift gone dormant? Happily, those questions no longer apply: in the Spring of 2012, Maxim Vengerov walked back on-stage with his 1727 Stradivari in-hand. Luckily, Ravinia snagged some dates for Chicago, and Vengerov was back—all the way back: Vengerov was in top form for his Chicago performances.

Beethoven: Violin Sonata in G, Op 96
Schubert: Sonata-Duo in A
Franck: Violin Sonata in A
Saint-Saens: “Havanaise”
“Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso”

Hear the Martin Theatre recital broadcast on WFMT, Monday at 8:00 PM.

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