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"