Leila JosefowiczViolin John NovacekPiano

Leila Josefowicz and John Novacek

Saturday, February 24, 2024 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

“Her virtuosity surfs waves of jubilant energy,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Every performance by Leila Josefowicz is a revelation of new things to be heard and felt in the familiar and a happy introduction to new sounds from less familiar creative voices. John Novacek is “a pianist well worth keeping an ear open for” (Fanfare).


DEBUSSY: Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Minor, L140
SZYMANOWSKI: Mythes “Trois Poèmes”, Op. 30
ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR: Conversio for Violin and Piano
STRAVINSKY: Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss

Performance Sponsors

Joan Kahr
The Bernard Osher Foundation

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Leila Josefowicz’s passionate advocacy of contemporary music for the violin is reflected in her diverse programs and enthusiasm for performing new works. A favorite of living composers, Josefowicz has premiered many concertos, including those by Colin Matthews, Luca Francesconi, John Adams, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, all written for her.

Following summer performances at Sun Valley Music Festival and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Josefowicz’s season began with a return to Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Susanna Mälkki and the Austrian premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s Assonanza with Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Wien Modern Festival. The 2022–23 season sees the introduction of Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto into Josefowicz’s repertoire which she premieres with St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, and, as part of a special triple bill of three contemporary concerti by Hartmann, Adès and Grime, with Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Dalia Stasevska. Further orchestral dates include Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, and Vancouver, Detroit and Atlanta symphonies, and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, NDR Elbphilharmonie and Valencia Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of recent seasons include working with Berliner Philharmoniker, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Royal Concertgebouworkest, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Oslo Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Philadelphia Symphony orchestras, where she worked with conductors at the highest level, including Matthias Pintscher, John Storgårds, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Louis Langrée, Hannu Lintu and John Adams. Josefowicz enjoyed a close working relationship with the late Oliver Knussen, performing various concerti, including his violin concerto, together over 30 times. Other premieres have included John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 with New York Philharmonic, Luca Francesconi’s Duende—The Dark Notes with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Steven Mackey’s Beautiful Passing with BBC Philharmonic.

Alongside John Novacek, with whom she has enjoyed a close collaboration since 1985, Josefowicz has performed recitals at world-renowned venues such as New York’s Zankel Hall and Park Avenue Armory, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress and London’s Wigmore Hall, as well as in Reykjavik, Chicago, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. This season their collaboration continues with recitals in Italy, Spain, Canada, and the US.

Josefowicz has released several recordings, notably for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips/Universal and Warner Classics and was featured on Touch Press’s acclaimed iPad app, The Orchestra. Her latest recording, released in 2019, features Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. She has previously received nominations for Grammy© Awards for her recordings of Scheherazade.2 with St Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.

In recognition of her outstanding achievement and excellence in music, she won the 2018 Avery Fisher Prize and was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, joining prominent scientists, writers and musicians who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.

Pianist John Novacek regularly tours the Americas, Europe, and Asia as solo recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist; in the latter capacity he has presented over thirty concerti with dozens of orchestras. Mr. Novacek began this latest season with an appointment to the Piano and Collaborative Piano faculty of The Mannes School of Music at The New School’s College of Performing Arts.

John Novacek’s major American performances have been heard in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, Merkin Concert Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Symphony Space, Washington’s The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center and Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Hollywood Bowl, and Royce Hall, while international venues include Paris’ Theatre des Champs-Elysées, Salle Gaveau and Musée du Louvre, London’s Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre, as well as most of the major concert halls of Japan. He is also a frequent guest artist at festivals, here and abroad, including New York City’s Mostly Mozart Festival, California’s Festival Mozaic and those of Aspen, Cape Cod, Caramoor, Chautauqua, Colorado College, Great Lakes, Mendocino, Mimir, Ravinia, Seattle, SummerFest La Jolla, Wolf Trap, BBC Proms (England), Braunschweig (Germany), Lucerne, Menuhin and Verbier (Switzerland), Majorca (Spain), Sorrento (Italy), Stavanger (Norway), Toulouse (France) and Sapporo (Japan). He has also made his debut with the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México.

John Novacek is a much sought-after collaborative artist and has performed with Joshua Bell, Matt Haimovitz, Leila Josefowicz, Cho-Liang Lin, Yo-Yo Ma, Truls Mork, Elmar Oliveira and Emmanuel Pahud, and, as well as the Afiara, Colorado, Harrington, Jupiter, New Hollywood, St. Lawrence, SuperNova and Ying string quartets. He also tours widely as a member of Intersection, a piano trio that includes violinist Kaura Frautschi and cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper. Mr. Novacek has also given numerous world premieres and worked closely with composers John Adams, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, George Rochberg, John Williams, and John Zorn.

John Novacek took top prizes at both the Leschetizky and Joanna Hodges international piano competitions, among many others. He studied piano with Polish virtuoso Jakob Gimpel at California State University, Northridge, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude. Subsequently, he earned a Master of Music degree from New York City’s Mannes College of Music, where his instructors were Peter Serkin in piano and Felix Galimer in chamber music. Mr. Novacek’s coaches in composition included Frederick Werle, Aurelio de la Vega and Daniel Kessner.

John Novacek’s original compositions have been widely performed and frequently recorded by major international soloists and ensembles. Commissioning entities include: New York Philharmonic, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Ballet, Accordo/Schubert Club (film score), Fuji TV, Seattle Commissioning Club, Scotia Festival, Eastman School of Music, McGill University, West Texas A&M University, The 5 Browns, Concertante, Ensemble Liaison, Millennium, Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo, Harrington String Quartet, Ying Quartet, Quattro Mani. He has also prepared special arrangements for The Three Tenors, Boosey & Hawkes, EMI, Atlantic Records, John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, Kiri Te Kanawa and pop diva Diana Ross.

CD titles include Road Movies (2004 Grammy© nomination as “Best Chamber Music Performance”), Great Mozart Piano Works, Spanish Rhapsody, Novarags (original ragtime compositions), Classic Romance, Hungarian Sketches, Intersection, Romances et Meditations and, with Leila Josefowicz, Americana (Gramophone: “Editor’s Choice”), For the End of Time, Shostakovich and Recital (BBC Music Magazine: 5 stars/June 2005’s chamber choice). 2020 saw the IBS Classical releases of Chausson’s Concert in D for Violin, Piano & String Quartet and an album of viola sonatas by Glinka, Hindemith and Schubert with Randolph Kelly.

Artist Videos

Leila Josefowicz at The Met

John Novacek Plays Four Piano Blues by Copland