Russian Violinist Needed Coaxing, But Pop Fusion Is On Display Here

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Russian Violinist Needed Coaxing, But Pop Fusion Is On Display Here

Many violinists, if given the chance to record a CD, would choose short, accessible pieces such as Fritz Kreisler's "Liebesfreud," and "Liebesleid," often granted to concert audiences in the encore. But Viktoria Mullova, virtuoso violinist who has under her belt first prize at the Sibelius Competition in Helsinki in 1980 and the gold medal from the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982, among other laurels, has been turning down suggestions to record such an album for almost 20 years.

"Through the Looking Glass," Ms. Mullova's CD of classical-pop crossover songs, thus came as a surprise when it was released on the Philips label last year.

On March 11 at the Concert Hall in Seoul Arts Center , Ms. Mullova will play some of the pieces from her CD, including Alanis Morissette's "All I Really Want," the Beatles' "For You Blue," the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love," Miles Davis' "Robot," Duke Ellington's "Ad Lib on Nippon," and Weather Report's "Teen Town." She will add Maurice Ravel's "Sonata for Violin and Cello."

Her bid to combine elements of different musical traditions may remind some of the musician Jascha Heifetz, who arranged a variety of pieces of contemporary music - whether in the tradition of jazz or pop - for the violin. Indeed, the idea to record "Through the Looking Glass" came from Ms. Mullova's husband, Matthew Barley, who had noticed that she often played pieces arranged by Heifetz in her solo concerts. Mr. Barley then began to arrange some popular songs as violin pieces for Ms. Mullova and prepared to record the CD.

Ms. Mullova studied at the Central Music School of Moscow under Wolodar Bronin, a renowned musician and teacher and a former student of the great Russian violinist David Oistrakh. She also studied under Leonid Cogan, a prominent music professor, at the Moscow Conservatoire. In 1983, while on tour in Finland, she sought and gained asylum in the United States.

She has performed with many of the world's best conductors - Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti and Seiji Ozawa - and is currently working as a Philips Classics Artist. She plays "Julius Falk," a Stradivarius violin built in 1723 and purchased at a Sotheby's auction.

The performance on March 11 will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are 70,000 won ($55), 50,000 won, 30,000 won or 20,000 won. For more information, contact Credia Arts Management at 02-598-8277 (English service available).


by Lee Jang-jik

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