Video: Preview Beethoven's Violin Concerto at the Pasadena Symphony and Pops

March 23, 2024 at 2pm and 8pm.

By: Mar. 07, 2024
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Get a preview of Beethoven’s only violin concerto performed by the 'frighteningly awesome' Avery Fisher-winning violinist Francisco Fullana. The magic and romance of Stravinsky’s soaring Firebird rounds out this colorful and majestic program. Check out the video!

Spanish-born violinist Francisco Fullana, winner of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has been hailed as an “amazing talent” (Gustavo Dudamel) and “frighteningly awesome” (Buffalo News). His solo violin album Bach’s Long Shadow, was named BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Choice of the Month. Its five star review stated: ‘Fullana manages to combine Itzhak Perlman’s warmth with the aristocratic poise of Henryk Szeryng’ 

A native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, Francisco is making a name for himself as both a performer and a leader of innovative educational institutions. As a soloist, he has performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Bayerische Philharmonie led by the late Sir Colin Davis, the Sibelius Concerto with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, and the Brahms Violin Concerto with Venezuela’s Teresa Carreño Orchestra under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. His versatility as a performer has brought him to perform with numerous ensembles across the artistic spectrum: from major orchestras such as the City of Birmingham, Vancouver, Aachen, Pacific and Buffalo Symphony Orchestras, the chamber orchestras of Saint Paul and Philadelphia, to the baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire and the new music driven Metropolis Ensemble. Francisco has worked under the batons of Hans Graf, Alondra de la Parra, Christoph Poppen, Jeannette Sorrell, and Joshua Weilerstein, among many others.

Fullana is one of the first international solo violinists to fully embrace and absorb the baroque language of historical performance. His passion for the gut strings has blossomed into fruitful collaborations with Baroque groups all over the world. Last season, Fullana was the Artist-in-Residence with the Grammy-winning ensemble Apollo’s Fire, performing 18 concerto performances on tour, including stops at Carnegie Hall and Severance Hall among many others. They recently released Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on Avie Records to great success: The album debut at #2 of the Billboard Charts and was named Top Ten Album Of the Year by the Sunday Times. BBC Music Magazine’s review stated: ‘Francisco Fullana reveals Vivaldi’s poetry with effortless refinement.’ The partnership continues this spring, performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons on tour around the UK, including stops at Aldenburgh Festival & St. Martin in the Fields.

Highlights of Francisco’s orchestral engagements for 2022-2023 include performances with Madrid, Málaga, Tallahassee, Xalapa and Zacatecas Symphonies, as well as the Symphony of the Americas. Francisco will also reappear with Alabama, Austin, Balearic Islands and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, as well as an ongoing collaboration as Artist-in-Residence with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Recent recital debuts included the Phillips Collection and Palm Beach’s Kravis Center as well as recitals debuts at the Mecklenburg-Vorlpolmmern and Geizeitenkonzerte festivals with his duo partner, pianist Matthias Kirchnerheit. In Asia, his two recital tours of eastern China and Japan have been rescheduled for 2023 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Fullana was 2021/22 Artist-in Residence for the 30th anniversary season of the Grammy-winning baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire, performing 35 concerts as a soloist on tours around the country, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Cleveland’s Severance Hall. 

His passion for working with youth orchestras through the Fortissimo Youth Initiative will be at full display this season. His concerto debut at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Perelman Hall will feature Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the New York Youth Symphony. In 2023, Francisco will embark on a European tour with the Spanish National Youth Symphony JONDE, premiering a new concerto by Mikel Urkiza across 5 countries, culminating at Berlin’s Konzerthaus under the baton of Pablo Gónzalez.

In 2018 Orchid Classics released Francisco’s acclaimed debut recording Through the Lens of Time performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Izcaray. Fullana’s new double album on Orchid, Bach’s Long Shadow, juxtaposes two of the monumental Bach’s Partitas on gut strings and baroque setup with virtuoso solo violin works from the next 3 centuries. Fullana’s love for the sound of gut strings and baroque music has blossomed into an artistic partnership with the baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire. The group led by Jeannette Sorrell joins forces with Francisco for their fiery take on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons both on their newest album just released on Avie Records and was named 2022’s Top Ten Record of the Year by the Sunday Times.

Active as a chamber musician, Francisco is a performing artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, the Musicians from Marlboro tours, the Perlman Music Program, the Da Camera Society, and the LaJolla, Moab, Music@Menlo, Mainly Mozart, Music in the Vineyards, and Newport music festivals. His musical collaborators have included Viviane Hagner, Nobuko Imai, Mitsuko Uchida, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Takács, and Cleveland quartets. Francisco’s Spanish roots are also often explored in collaboration with Hispanic artists such as guitarist Pablo Sainz-Villegas and bandoneonist JP Jofre. Their recital for The Violin Channel’s Vanguard Concerts at Merkin Hall was just released for worldwide release this past month on all major streaming platforms.

Born into a family of educators, Francisco is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, where he matriculated under the tutelage of Manuel Guillén. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Juilliard School following studies with Donald Weilerstein and Masao Kawasaki, and holds an Artist Diploma from the USC Thornton School of Music, where he worked with the renowned violinist Midori.

In 2015 Francisco was honored with First Prize in Japan’s Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition, as well as all four of that competition’s special prizes including the Audience and Orchestra awards. Additional awards include First Prizes at the Johannes Brahms and Julio Cardona International Violin Competitions, the Pro Musicis International Award, and the Pablo Sarasate National Competition.

Francisco is a committed innovator, leading new institutions of musical education for young people. He is a co-founder of San Antonio’s Classical Music Summer Institute, where he currently serves as Chamber Music Director. He also created the Fortissimo Youth Initiative, a series of music seminars and performances with youth orchestras, which aims to explore and deepen young musicians’ understanding of 18th-century music. The seminars are deeply immersive, thrusting youngsters into the sonic world of a single period while inspiring them to channel their overwhelming energy in the service of vibrant older styles of musical expression. The results can be galvanic, and Francisco continues to build on these educational models.

Francisco Fullana performs on the 1735 “Mary Portman” ex-Kreisler Guarneri del Gesù violin, kindly on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.




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