Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja Makes US Debut with Boston Philharmonic, Now thru 11/24

Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja Makes US Debut with Boston Philharmonic, Now thru 11/24

On rare occasions, a musician will perform with such force and spirit that you sit up straighter, lean a little closer and in an instant realize that something extraordinary is happening. Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja is that kind of grab-your-soul performer. She makes her major US debut with conductor Benjamin Zander leading the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (www.bostonphil.org) tonight, November 21.

Concerts: Tonight, November 21, 7:30PM / Sanders Theatre, Cambridge Friday, November 22, 8:00PM / Mechanics Hall, Worcester Saturday, November 23, 8:00PM / Jordan Hall, Boston Sunday, November 24, 3:00PM / Sanders Theatre, Cambridge.

An acknowledged megawatt star abroad, the 36-year-old Kopatchinskaja arrives in Boston as the hottest property in classical music, having won the coveted 2013 Gramophone Record of the Year with her Naive CD of concertos by Hungarian composers Bartok, Ligeti and Eotvos. For the concert, Kopatchinskaja will perform the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2, one of the standout pieces that netted her the Gramophone award. Bookending the program are two works that complement the Bartok concerto, Brahms' Symphony No. 2 and Weber's Overture to der Freischu?tz.

"What's astonishing about Kopatchinskaja is her intensity and virtuosity coupled with an absolute freedom and courage," says Zander. "Her music just comes at you in 3D. She is unpredictable but incredibly disciplined, with an expressive power that makes you feel as if you never heard the piece before."

Kopatchinskaja's combination of technical brilliance and explosive aural imagination find perfect expression in the work of Barto?k, whose music reflects a great intellect and a soaring spirit. They share a background steeped in the tradition of European folk songs-Kopatchinskaja's parents are popular folk musicians-and an appreciation of the past filtered though a modern sensibility. The violinist has said: "The Eastern European folklore is my blood, contemporary music is the air I breathe and classical music is the skeleton which holds all this together."

"I can't wait to play with her," says Zander, who was unfamiliar with her work until a colleague called to say he had just heard the most amazing violinist. "I listened to everything I could and woke up at 4 AM knowing I had to book her immediately. I have not been so excited to present an artist since I introduced Yo-Yo Ma to Boston when he was in his 20s. A talent like this comes along only once or twice in a lifetime."

"She plays as if she just composed the piece," he continues. "The color, the rhythmic incisiveness and the creativity that she shows in shaping every phrase transform Bartok's music into something that is both true and new. The concerto is the single most difficult piece for an orchestra to accompany in the standard classical repertoire, so the entire evening promises to be exhilarating."

The concert will open with the beautifully haunting Weber overture, a grand and romantic piece too infrequently performed in the US. Brahms-another composer greatly influenced by folk music-will follow Barto?k. "The Second Symphony shows the warmhearted, engaging side of Brahms," Zander explains. "I plan to use a lot of rubato, reinforcing the free spirit that will be afoot with Kopatchinskaja on the program."

If Kopatchinskaja (http://patriciakopatchinskaja.com/) has been flying under the radar in the US, no such thing has been happening elsewhere. For the past decade she has been in high demand, performing at renowned venues with the world's greatest orchestras and chamber ensembles, displaying a vast musical repertoire.

In the last year alone, she has performed with WDR Sinfonieorchester, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. She toured the Netherlands with the Orchestre des Champs-E?lyse?es, Amsterdam Sinfonietta and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and in the summer of 2013 led a twelve-concert tour of Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Her upcoming schedule includes a major European tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for appearances in Vienna, Paris, Brussels, Luxembourg and Stuttgart and a residency at the 2013 Beethovenfest Bonn. She will also appear with the Philharmonia Orchestra and debut with the NHK Sym- phony Orchestra, both with Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Having left Moldova in 1991, Kopatchinskaja studied violin and composition in Vienna and Bern. Among other prizes over the course of her career, Kopatchinskaja won the international Szeryng-Competition in Mexico (2000), the International Credit Suisse Group Young Artist Award (2002), the 2012 Praetorius Musikpreis Niedersachsen Award in the category of innovation and the 2013 Echo Klassik award. Her latest CD-a recording of violin concertos by Prokofiev and Stravinsky with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski-was recently released.

Wherever she has played, this musical sprite has captured the hearts of critics and audiences alike with her intelligence, inventiveness and passion. Kopatchinskaja is a name that may not yet be familiar to American classical music fans but there's no doubt that will change after this whirlwind talent takes Boston by storm in November.

ABOUT THE ORCHESTRA: In 1979, ninety-six enthusiastic players-amateurs, students, and professionals-and a dynamic and probing conductor named Benjamin Zander joined together to found the Boston Philharmonic. The Philharmonic has released five critically acclaimed recordings, including works by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovich and Ravel. Boston Philharmonic concerts have long been a two-part experience; each performance is preceded by one of Benjamin Zander's pre-concert lectures, which prepare listeners to understand the ideas and the structure of the music they are about to hear. The orchestra's season includes performances at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, Sanders Theatre at Harvard University and often Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall.