February faculty series recital features classics for violin, piano

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The Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s internationally renowned Regents Professor and Franklin Professor of Violin, Levon Ambartsumian, performs several brilliant works for violin in Ramsey Concert Hall on Thursday, February 2, at 8 p.m. 

Ambartsumian will be joined by long-time collaborator Evgeny Rivkin, professor of piano at the Hodgson School. Ambartsumian said that their goal in constructing the program for this concert was three-fold.

“We wanted to build a program that might be interesting for both of us, considering that we have played so much of this repertoire—violin and piano duos,” said Ambartsumian. “But we also wanted the program to be interesting for the audience as well. And we also wanted to challenge ourselves with something completely new for us and the audience.”

Perhaps a tough task to fulfill all three criteria, but Ambartsumian and Rivkin did just that, beginning with the “crowd pleaser” of the group.

“For this particular program we have chosen Beethoven’s 10th [sonata], which is the most musically challenging Beethoven sonata simply because it is ‘late’ Beethoven, but we have played this many times,” said Ambartsumian.

In searching for a piece with which neither had experience, they found Edward Elgar’s Violin Sonata in E minor.

“We find it to be a gorgeous example of post-romantic style and a piece that is not often played,” said Ambartsumian.

Ambartsumian says that the final work on the program, George Enescu’s Violin Sonata No. 3, is “the most interesting and important work for us.”

“This is music that sounds very different from anything else written for violin and piano,” said Ambartsumian. “It is hard to understand how he was able to put such music on paper.”

The music, in large part, is in the style of folk music from Enescu’s native Romania, but Ambartsumian says it is more than that.

“It is very hard to say anything else about this music, it just has to be heard.”

Tickets are available at pac.uga.edu or the PAC box office for $12 or $6 with a UGA student ID.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing or learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.