Athenaeum Library Gala

Special Concerts

Tchaikovsky: The Complete Works For Violin

A special concert by violinist Victoria Martino and pianist James Lent


Friday, November 2, 2018

All concerts begin at 7:30 PM


Join Victoria Martino and James Lent, as they commemorate the 125th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's death with a performance of his complete works for violin. Now, universally one of the most celebrated and beloved of all composers, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a highly controversial figure in his own lifetime, both for his unconventional personal life, and his unorthodox compositional style. Even the subject of his death has been a topic of ongoing heated debate, ever since it was first announced in November 1893. Restless and misunderstood in life, the composer has been denied a resting place in death, as the mysterious circumstances of his demise continue to be discussed by scholars and biographers.


Public and private life were inextricably intertwined in the genesis of Tchaikovsky's works for violin. His adored and adoring former pupil and protégé, the brilliant young violinist, Josif Kotek, appears to have been both the inspiration and instrument for their creation. Employed at Tchaikovsky's recommendation as a household musician by the eccentric millionairess, Nadezhda von Meck, Kotek needed fresh repertoire for the frequent musical soirees at the estate. Returning the favor, he recommended to Madame von Meck that she commission Tchaikovsky to supply the new compositions. The master readily complied, and posterity has been graced by a rich selection of beautiful and compelling works, several of which are original transcriptions by the composer himself of his favorite pieces.


As a pianist, Tchaikovsky took great pleasure in playing through the entire violin repertoire with Kotek. His famous violin concerto, which was composed in only nine days, came into being after one such session with Kotek. "Seized...quite unexpectedly with a burning inspiration," as the composer confessed in a letter to Madame von Meck, Tchaikovsky was "so carried away" by his desire to write a violin concerto, that, for the first time in his life, he abandoned the piece on which he had been working to begin a new one.


It is a little-known fact that Tchaikovsky initially chose to publish all of his works for violin and orchestra in violin-piano versions, in some cases entrusting the eventual orchestration to pupils, such as Josif Kotek himself. Victoria Martino and James Lent will be performing all of Tchaikovsky's violin compositions in their original editions, thereby affording concertgoers a unique opportunity to hear each of these beloved pieces in a rare and intimate rendition.


A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and the University of California, violinist Victoria Martino has concertized extensively throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan. Considered a specialist both in early music (“period performance”) and contemporary performance practice, she has an enormous repertoire, spanning six centuries. Ms. Martino is passionately committed to the revival of works by major composers that are rarely performed, and has become known internationally for her monographic anniversary concerts and “marathons” of the complete works for violin (unaccompanied and accompanied) by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Corelli, Dvorak, Gade, Grieg, Handel, Hindemith, Ives, Lutoslawski, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Nielsen, Pärt, Schubert, Schumann, Sibelius, Strauss, and Telemann. Martino’s “Mozart Marathon,” an eight-hour performance of all 32 violin sonatas with pianist James Lent, has been presented regularly since the composer’s 250th birthday in 2006 to public and critical acclaim. In 2018, Martino and Lent continue their tradition of anniversary concerts with performances of the complete works of Bernstein (100th birthday) and Tchaikovsky (125th death day). Lent holds a doctor of musical arts from the Yale School of Music, where he studied under Boris Berman, Claude Frank, and Peter Frankl. He currently teaches and coordinates collaborative piano at UCLA and serves as the Music Department’s principal pianist for choral and vocal studies. Victoria Martino plays an original, unmodified Baroque violin by Michael Andreas Bartl (Vienna, 1760), and a modernized violin by Jakob Stainer (Absam, 1670).



Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

1008 Wall Street

La Jolla, CA 92037


Individual Tickets: $35 member / $40 nonmember



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