Vadim Gluzman and the
Austin Symphony Orchestra

Vadim Gluzman and the Austin Symphony Orchestra
Dell Hall
Austin, Texas

Audience members poured into Dell Hall for the highly anticipated Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and watched as acclaimed Ukrainian violinist, Vadim Gluzman, strode briskly onto the stage with a unique violin in hand.

Gluzman’s violin dates back to the time of J.S. Bach’s life. The 1690 “ex-Leopold Auer” Stradivari seemed a celebrity unto itself. It was the same instrument on which Tchaikovsky heard his piece played.

The first half of the program featured an old favorite as well as a world premiere. Bernstein’s Candide delighted the crowd with its familiar, exuberant character, while Edward Burlingame Hill’s Fourth Symphony encountered its first ever audience.

Microphones littered the stage as Hill’s piece was recorded for the very first time. Fortunately, no cell phones interrupted.

The crowd grew noticeably after intermission as eager listeners queued up for the climax of the show.

Tchaikovsky’s famed orchestral opening surrendered itself to Gluzman’s commanding solo. The violin and musician sculpted the silence into a potent statement of power.

Gluzman maintained infectious conviction through the most grueling of passages. He remained grounded—emotionally and physically—as he performed.

The musician’s involvement in the piece never faltered. During the tutti sections, when the orchestra joins in between solos, Gluzman moved about the stage in apparent fits of passion, swirling his bow during the lyrical sections and aggressively bobbing his head in moments of fierceness. Provoked by an especially emotional moment, he nearly conducted the cello section himself with his back entirely turned from the audience.

His unaffected presence combined with stunning virtuosity incited an eruption of applause the instant the first movement ended.

The applause lasted so long that Gluzman was forced to gesture for the audience to sit down, mouthing that there was still more to come: two additional movements. His amusing response persuaded the crowd to settle, and the orchestra finally began the second movement.

Following the close of the third and final movement, the audience rose again without hesitation. The thunderous applause called for an encore, which Gluzman granted graciously with a performance of Bach’s Gavotte en Rondeau from the Third Violin Partita. The encore was met with yet another standing ovation.

Maestro Peter Bay rounded out the evening with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, a joyful end to an unforgettable evening for the audience.

Though Gluzman’s virtuosity thrilled the crowd, his technique was merely a vehicle for something greater: a rich and truthful portrayal of the human spirit.

by Jacqueline Perrin