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Johnny GandelsmanViolin

Johnny Gandelsman

Friday, February 18, 2022 | 7:30pm

St. Mark’s Lutheran ChurchVenue InformationSan Francisco


About This Performance

Violinist Johnny Gandelsman’s solo performance pairs the unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 3 by J.S. Bach with newly commissioned works as part of his This Is America project. Celebrating the country’s rich cultural tapestry and myriad perspectives, the program also features composers Clarice Assad, Rhiannon Giddens, Tyshawn Sorey and Conrad Tao. The Boston Globe describes Gandelsman as “a delightfully unconventional fiddler…with a balletic lightness of touch and a sense of whimsy and imagination that are rare.”


This Is America

J.S. BACH: Suite No. 3 For Solo Cello, BWV 1009 (Transcribed for violin)
EBUN OGUNTOLA: Reflections
TYSHAWN SOREY: For Courtney Bryan
CLARICE ASSAD: O (World premiere; commissioned by San Francisco Performances)
ANGELICA NEGRON: A través del manto Luminoso
RHIANNON GIDDENS: New to the Session

Artist Information

Performer Biography

Grammy award winning violinist and producer Johnny Gandelsman’s musical voice reflects the artistic collaborations he has been a part of since moving to the United States in 1995. Richard Brody of The New Yorker has called Johnny Gandelsman “revelatory” in concert, placing him in the company of “radically transformative” performers like Maurizio Pollini, Peter Serkin and Christian Zacharias.

As a founding member of Brooklyn Rider and a member of the Silkroad Ensemble, Johnny has closely worked with such luminaries as Bela Fleck, Martin Hayes, Kayhan Kalhor, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Morris, Anne Sofie Van Otter, Alim Qasimov & Fargana Qasimova, Joshua Redman, Suzanne Vega, Abigail Washburn and Damian Woetzel. He has appeared with Bono, David Byrne, Renee Fleming, Rhiannon Giddens, I'm With Her, Christian McBride, and many others.

Gandelsman integrates a wide range of creative sensibilities into a unique style amongst today's violinists, one that according to the Boston Globe, possesses “a balletic lightness of touch and a sense of whimsy and imagination”. Johnny’s recording of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, which reached #1 on the Billboard Classical Chart, and made it onto NY Magazine and NY Times Best of the Year lists, was described by the Boston Globe as “Sparklingly personal Bach, shorn of grandeur, lofted by a spirit of dance, and as predictable as the flight of a swallow.”

A passionate advocate for new music, Johnny has premiered dozens of new works, including music by Lisa Bielawa, Tyondai Braxton, Daniel Cords, Christina Courtin, Reena Esmail, Bela Fleck, Gabriela Lena Frank, Bill Frisell, Osvaldo Golijov, Gonzalo Grau, Ethan Iverson, Vijay Iyer, Colin Jacobsen, Gabriel Kahane, Rubin Kodheli, Angel Lam, Ljova, Dana Lyn, Nico Muhly, Padma Newsome, Shara Nova, Edward Perez, Matana Roberts, Kyle Sanna, Gregory Saunier, Caroline Shaw, Kojiro Umezaki, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, Du Yun, Evan Ziporyn and John Zorn.

Johnny has been producing records since starting his label, In a Circle Records in 2008. Recent credits include Brooklyn Rider’s Spontaneous Symbols (In a Circle 2017); Johnny’s own recording of the complete Sonatas and Partitas for violin by J.S. Bach (In a Circle, 2018) and 2 albums with Silkroad Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma: Music for “The Vietnam War”, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (In a Circle, 2017); and Sing Me Home, a Grammy-award winner for Best World Music album (Sony, 2016)

Johnny was born in Moscow into a family of musicians. His father Yuri is a professor of Viola at Michigan State University, his mother Janna is a pianist, and his sister Natasha is a violinist as well. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Amber Star Merkens, and their two kids, Julius Ivry and Raiya Leone.

Artist Video

Johnny Gandelsmann Plays Stravinsky’s Elegy