The Queensland Symphony Orchestra has today announced violin virtuoso Maxim Vengerov is set to perform the original scoring of the Sibelius Violin Concerto during the Australian orchestra's 2015 season – making him one of only a handful of violinists in history granted permission to perform the work.
Originally written in 1904 and premiered by Victor Novacek to disappointing reviews, Sibelius made substantial revisions and cuts to the score before re-premiering it in its current form 1 year and 8 months later - with soloist Karel Halíř and conductor Richard Strauss.
The noticeably longer and more demanding original version was largely unknown until 1991, when Sibelius' heirs permitted one live performance and recording on the Swedish label BIS – played by the then 24 year old Leonidas Kavakos, with conductor Osmo Vänskä.
“When planning the 2015 season and negotiating to bring Maxim Vengerov to Brisbane, he had expressed a strong desire to perform the Sibelius Concerto – however I had the situation where it had already been programmed in our season with our newly appointed Soloist in Residence, Shlomo Mintz,” Queensland Symphony Orchestra Artistic Director, Richard Wenn, who was responsible for BIS's 1991 marketing initiatives, has told The Violin Channel.
“With 2015 being the sesqui-centenary of Sibelius’ birth, I managed to reconnect with my former contacts and sort special permission from Sibelius' grandson before presenting the suggestion to a very receptive Mr Vengerov,' Mr Wenn has said.
Russian soloist Ilya Gringolts will also perform the work, with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, at the Sibelius Festival during the 2014 season – under the baton of conductor Okko Kamu.