Nicola Benedetti/Leonard Elschenbroich/Alexei Grynyuk Trio
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue InformationSan Francisco
About This Performance
Sought-after soloists on their own, this “super-trio” has always devoted time to performing together since they were students in London. The result is an uncanny performance precision and warm camaraderie on stage. The London Telegraph enthused, “If any piano trio could achieve star status, it’s surely this one.”
THE SHENSON GREAT ARTISTS SERIES
SCHUBERT: Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat Major, D.929
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50
Joan Kahr, Individual Sponsor
Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and spirited presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high-profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.
Born in Scotland of Italian heritage, Nicola began violin lessons at the age of five with Brenda Smith. In 1997, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School, where she studied with Natasha Boyarskaya. Upon leaving, she continued her studies with Maciej Rakowski and then Pavel Vernikov, and continues to work with multiple acclaimed teachers and performers.
Nicola was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours List, awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2017, the youngest ever recipient, and was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2013 in recognition of her international music career and work with musical charities throughout the United Kingdom. In addition, Nicola has received eight honorary degrees to date.
Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo in 2020, as well as Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). She had the honour of performing live at the 2020 Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony where she collected her award in person. This performance marked the first classical solo violin appearance at the Premiere Ceremony in over 10 years, and was streamed live internationally. Her most recent recording features premiere recordings of two works written especially for her by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto in D and Fiddle Dance Suite for Solo Violin, for which she won her 2020 Grammy. Her past recordings on Universal/Deutsche Grammophon include a varied catalogue of works from Shostakovich and Glazunov Violin Concertos to Szymanowski Concerto (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding) to Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy, which made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official UK Album Chart.
Nicola is one of the world’s leading advocates for quality music education, the role of arts and culture in the wider community and the transformational effect it has on all young people. She has been committed to education projects since the age of 15 and in the past 12 months, Nicola has worked with over 4,000 students and 700 teachers. This commitment to supporting the UK’s music practitioners was underlined in July 2018, when Nicola took over as President of the European String Teachers Association. She has formalised her vision and expanded her commitment to the education of young people and supporting of music teachers by establishing a charitable organisation: The Benedetti Foundation.
The Benedetti Foundation will strive to unite the world of music education through uncovering and sharing its best practices, and celebrating its greatest advocates. It will create explosive, life changing experiences around mass musical events for teachers and young people, that are dedicated to music participation on all levels. The ultimate destination being an empowered society that is more creative, enlightened and fulfilled. The Benedetti Foundation is fiercely devoted towards pulling together individuals and organisations that too often work in isolation. It also produces a signature series of orchestra-based weekend workshops—The Benedetti Sessions—to address, equally, the needs of young musicians and of teachers.
Nicola continues to hold key positions in a number of the country’s most established and high quality youth music organisations including the National Children’s Orchestras (Vice President), Sistema Scotland (Big Sister), National Youth Orchestras of Scotland’s Junior Orchestra (Patron), Music in Secondary Schools Trust (Patron), Junior Conservatoire at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Patron) and many more.
Nicola attracts an enormous amount of worldwide media attention following the various facets of her extraordinary career and her international television appearances have been wide and varied including performing at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to a live audience of approximately 40,000 and TV viewing audience of 9.4 million people.
With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. Conductors with whom Nicola has worked include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiří Bělohlávek, Stéphane Denève, Christoph Eschenbach, James Gaffigan, Hans Graf, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hrůša, Kirill Karabits, Andrew Litton, Kristjan Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Cristian Măcelaru, Zubin Mehta, Andrea Marcon, Peter Oundjian, Vasily Petrenko, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Søndergård, Krzysztof Urbański, Juraj Valcua, Edo de Waart, Pinchas Zukerman and Jaap van Zweden.
Nicola enjoys working with the highest level of orchestras including collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C.
In the 2019–20 season, Nicola makes her debut with the Wiener Symphoniker and undergoes a tour of Asia with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Robin Ticciati. She will also reunite with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and embark on a tour with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra led by Thomas Søndergård. She performs the Marsalis Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and James Gaffigan and with Cristian Măcelaru firstly with the Gothenburg Symphony and then again with the Orchestre de Paris. She will come together again with Karina Canellakis firstly with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and later with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Similarly, she joins Michael Tilson Thomas for concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra and then again with the New World Symphony in Miami. Nicola has also been appointed as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Artist in Residence for 2020 which will include a concerto performance with Sir Andrew Davis, a European tour and education sessions and masterclasses.
Last season’s highlights include collaborations with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Frankfurter Museumsorchester, Toscanini Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra with Pablo Heras-Casado. She also undertook tours with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain culminating in a concert at the BBC Proms. During the summer, she joined forces with Iván Fischer to perform with the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl and performed the Marsalis Violin Concerto at the Aspen Music Festival under Robert Spano and at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music with Cristian Măcelaru.
With her regular duo partner pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Nicola frequently performs recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and festivals with most recent highlights including Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rome, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen, Bielefeld and Kiel. Nicola is also a devoted chamber musician and collaborates with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, who have been performing as a trio since 2008. Past performances include London’s Cadogan Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Edinburgh Festival, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Ravinia Festival, New York’s 92nd Street Y and Hong Kong City Hall. In November 2018 the trio embarked on a month-long Australian tour giving nine performances in seven cities. This season the trio reunites for a European tour in the Spring of 2020.
Nicola plays the Gariel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.
Described by the New York Times as “a musician of great technical prowess, intellectual curiosity and expressive depth”, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich has performed as a soloist with the world’s leading orchestras.
He gave his Vienna Musikverein debut on a European Tour with the Staatskapelle Dresden, his US debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, his Asian debut at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and appeared five times at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.
A committed performer of contemporary music, Elschenbroich has commissioned several new works from composers including Mark-Anthony Turnage, Luca Lombardi, Arlene Sierra and Suzanne Farrin. He gave the world premiere of Mark Simpson’s first Cello Concerto – written for him—with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at Bridgewater Hall, and Brian Elias’ first Cello Concerto at the BBC Proms.
In 2012 he co-founded the Orquesta Filarmonica de Bolivia, the first orchestra to perform a Mahler Symphony in the nation’s history. Elschenbroich returns to Bolivia on a regular basis to lead educational projects and develop the orchestra. This commitment led Elschenbroich to explore the field of conducting with various orchestras across Latin America and the UK. He gave his London conducting debut, leading The Telegraph to write “Elschenbroich gave a performance of Brahms’ 1st Symphony that at times touched the heights.”
Elschenbroich has worked with a number of eminent conductors including Semyon Bychkov, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Mark Elder, Charles Dutoit, Manfred Honeck, Kirill Karabits, Dmitri Kitajenko, Andrew Litton, Juanjo Mena, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, Vasily Sinasiky, and Edo De Waart. As soloist he has performed with the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Phiharmonic, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, Dresden Staatskapelle, Swedish Radio Symphony, Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, Residentie Orchestra, Nagoya Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Pacific Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Elschenbroich’s first three albums for Onyx Classics focused on 20th century Russian repertoire, from Rachmaninov to Schnittke. 2016 saw the release of Siécle, a portrait of a century of French music from Saint-Saëns to Dutilleux, recorded with the BBC Scottish Symphony. They have received 5-star reviews from The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Financial Times, as well as receiving Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. This year, after a decade worldwide performances together with Alexei Grynyuk, Onyx Classics released their recording of the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas. The album received wide critical acclaim, including Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Album of the Month in BBC Music Magazine, and is also available on vinyl.
His many awards include the Leonard Bernstein Award, Förderpreis Deutschlandfunk and Borletti Buitoni Trust Award. In 2012 he was named BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, he was Artist-in-Residence of Deutschlandfunk for the 2014-15 season, and Artist-in-Residence at the Philharmonic Society Bremen from 2013-2016.
Born in 1985 in Frankfurt, Elschenbroich received a scholarship, aged ten, to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London. He later studied with Frans Helmerson at the Cologne Music Academy.
He plays a cello made by Matteo Goffriller “Ex-Leonard Rose-Ex-Alfredo Piatti’ (Venice, 1693), on private loan.
Kiev-born pianist Alexei Grynyuk displayed tremendous interest in music from his early childhood and started performing at the age of six. As a thirteen-year-old he was already appearing with Ukrainian orchestras playing Chopin and Mozart piano concertos as well as winning international prizes including the first prize at the very last All-Soviet-Union piano competition in Moscow named after Sergei Diaghilev.
This year Alexei Grynyuk embarked on a massive 27-concert concerto tour of the United States performing Schumann and Prokofiev 3rd piano concertos with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine as well as giving a piano trio New York debut at the 92nd Street Y Kauffman Hall with his regular trio partners Nicola Benedetti and Leonard Elschenbroich. Future engagements include solo debut at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and performing Beethoven's Choral Phantasy for the first time with the Kiev Philharmonic.