VC VOX POP | “If You Only Had 3 Months to Live, What Would You Put on Your Farewell Recital?” [Q&A]

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If you only had three months to live, what would you put on your farewell recital?

The Violin Channel recently caught up with 40+ of the world’s top string players to find out …

German-American Violinist, David Garrett:

“If I had only three months to live, the last thing I would think about is what I would play on stage … this is the time you spend with your friends and family … of course I would play for myself but I don’t think I would feel the urge to go on stage

French Cello Soloist, Gautier Capuçon:

“I would do a cello night recital … playing all the cello and piano works …

German Violin Virtuoso, Julia Fischer:

I don’t think I would be on stage playing recitals if I had only three more months to live … I would rather spend that time with my loved ones

German-Canadian Cellist, Johannes Moser:

John Cage’s 4:33 …” 

Canadian Violin Soloist, James Ehnes:

If I had three months to live, I don’t think I’d play any more concerts … I love playing concerts, but I’ve played a lot of them over my career and I’d probably rather spend those last three months doing other things with my family

Korean-American Violin Superstar, Sarah Chang:

“I wouldn’t do anything that dramatic or self serving … I don’t want to be one of those people who drag out their farewell tours for months and months … sometimes even years … I would rather have a fabulous dinner party for all of the people who have meant something special to me … and say thank you to each and every one … and have a kick ass party to end all parties”

Georgian Violin Virtuoso, Lisa Batiashvili:

“I would join a great orchestra to play all 4 Brahms symphonies”

Canadian Cellist, Amanda Forsyth:

“My farewell recital would be Chopin Sonata, Forsyth Pop’s Cycle by Malcolm Forsyth, my dad … and Granados Intermezzo … and whatever newest contemporary piece I was working on at the time

Russian Violin Virtuoso, Ilya Kaler:

“Almost impossible to answer … just a few ideas … Schubert Sonata in A minor and Fantasie in C Major  … Beethoven Sonata op. 96 … and lots of Kreisler … the list can go on and on …”

Dutch Violinist, Rudolf Koelman:

“Funny I actually play each of my performances as if it were my last … and I really love too many great compositions to fit in only one recital … but honestly 3 months to live? …. I’d definitely have better things to do than practicing and giving a farewell recital”

Australian VC Artist Violinist, Ray Chen:

“I’d start with Bach’s Chaconne … and then the recital would evolve into a 3 month long festival where anyone who wants to perform with me can come and play

VC Artist Violinist, Stefan Jackiw:

“All the pieces I’ve wanted to play but either have put off learning, haven’t had the opportunity to play, or haven’t yet had the courage to program … it’s a long list, but Schubert Fantasy would definitely be on it”

Russian-American Violin Soloist, Philippe Quint:

“I think Chaconne would be the main dish … if I can still play it

Mozarteum University Salzburg Pedagogue, Pierre Amoyal:

“If I had to do it … the three Brahms Sonatas … No.3, No.2 and No.1 … in this order”

South Korean Violinist, Dong-Suk Kang:

“I would prefer to play chamber music repertoire … but if I must give a violin recital, perhaps an all-Schubert program … including the Fantasy

VC Young Artist Violinist, Timothy Chooi:

“Moszkowski Suite for Two Violins and Piano (with my brother, Nikki) … Dvorak American Quartet … and Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 2

VC Young Artist Violinist, Ioana Cristina Goicea:

“Most of the chamber music repertoire by Schubert … including the C Major Cello Quintet

VC Artist Violinist, Igor Pikayzen:

“Definitely nothing sentimental … Bach, of course … Beethoven violin concerto … Tchaikovsky Meditation … some Paganini … and with Ysaye to part with the violin properly …. come to think of it, death would be a welcome reprieve after such a program

German Violinist and Kronberg Academy Artistic Director, Friedemann Eichhorn:

I would not play a duo recital … but would ask my wife and my friends to play chamber music together” 

VC Young Artist Violinist, Stephen Waarts:

“Hard to say … maybe Schubert’s String Quintet”

VC Artist Violinist, Benjamin Beilman:

“Brahms A major sonata … Chris Rogerson Once … and Schubert Fantasie”

New England Conservatory Cello Pedagogue, Laurence Lesser:

“Can’t answer this …  either I’ll drop dead in a hurry or have a lingering illness with no more recitals … and in any case it would be too hard to choose

Berlin Philharmonic Concertmaster, VC Artist Noah Bendix-Balgley:

“A sad scenario … but I would first ask the presenter to turn the recital into a chamber music extravaganza … and then I would program some of my favorites … Schubert Cello Quintet … Mozart Divertimento … Brahms C minor piano quartet … and a late Beethoven Quartet”

American Violinist, Rachel Barton Pine:

“If I had a whole three months, I’d play as many concerts as possible with lots of different repertoire … for the very last one, I’d definitely include my favorite unaccompanied Bach, the third sonata in C Major … and Augusta Read Thomas’s Incantation – which she actually wrote for Catherine Tait’s final recital …

Japanese Violin Pedagogue & Former Tokyo String Quartet Violinist, Koichiro Harada: 

“Mozart D Minor Quartet … Ravel Quartet … and Beethoven Op. 131”

Russian-born Austrian Violin Pedagogue, Boris Kuschnir:

“If to perform with an orchestra: Beethoven Violin Concerto and Chausson Poème … If to perform with a piano trio: Schubert Piano Trio in B major and in E Flat Major … If to perform with a string quartet: Schubert The Death and The Maiden, and Tchaikovsky String Quartet No. 3 in E flat minor Op. 30″ 

American Concert Violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers:

“Would begin with Bach’s Air … play in a mariachi band … perform a bit of the Beethoven VC … Vivaldi’s Four Seasons … and end with Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion … a great closer would be New Orleans jazz song: “When the Saints Go Marching In” – with vodka martinis passed round the house”

Russian-German Violinist, Kirill Troussov:

“Vitali’s Chaconne … Franck’s Sonata in A-Major and Mélancolie”

Portuguese-American Violinist, Elmar Oliveira:

“A Brahms sonata … a Beethoven sonata … a Mozart sonata … and a piece by Schubert”

Boston Symphony Concertmaster, Malcolm Lowe:

“I would play a maudlin Gweedore Brae at Tarbolton Church in Manitoba … then have a big party with great food and great drinks … accompanied by great country fiddling long into the night under the moon and stars”

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

“Wow, what a dark question … Mozart Sonata K.304 … Brahms Sonata No. 1 in G Major … Bach Chaconne … Franck Sonata … Chopin Nocturne in D Major”

London Symphony Orchestra First Violinist “Queen of Bling”, Maxine Kwok-Adams:

“Rather than spend 3 months practising … I’d hire an orchestra to play Mahler’s 2nd symphony – The Resurrection”

Armenian-American Violinist & Pedagogue, Ida Kavafian:

“Schumann No. 2″

VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:

“Bach Chaconne … Brahms Violin Sonata No. 1 … Franck Sonata

VC Artist Cellist, Pablo Ferrández:

“With piano: I would play some Beethoven sonata, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov … with orchestra: probably Dvorak and Schumann concertos”

VC Artist Calidore String Quartet Cellist, Estelle Choi: 

Bach Cello Suite No. 6 … and Beethoven Op. 132″

VC Young Artist Violinist, William Hagen:

“It is so hard for me to answer this question … There is too much good music to play … I would ask for requests – and then pick my favorite program from the requests” 

VC Rising Star Violinist, Anne Luisa Kramb:

“Chamber music: Prokofiev’s 1st Violin Sonata, Kreutzer Sonata and Franck Sonata … Concerto: Sibelius”

VC Young Artist Violinist, Luke Hsu:

“Some of the wonderful pieces by Sibelius for violin and piano … and then Bach’s second partita”

VC Young Artist Cellist, Zlatomir Fung:

“I would play all the music that I always wanted to learn but never had enough motivation to … death seems like a terrific motivator … Berio’s Sequenza XIV, Schnittke’s Second Sonata for Cello and Piano … and perhaps Milton Babbitt’s More Melismata