Violinist to help start ASO season

Armenian violin concerto, Brahms' Symphony No. 2 among pieces on program

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September 27, 2001|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

And still they come.

Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman are now grand old men of the violin, with a burgeoning younger generation - Gil Shaham, Midori, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Hilary Hahn, Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Maxim Vengerov, Cho-Liang Lin, Kennedy, Sarah Chang, and the rest - already installed alongside them at the pinnacle of their profession.

Can the market bear additional violinists?

Well, why not? Musical talent is rather like pitching: You can't have too much of it.

So adding her name to the mix these days is Icelandic violinist Judith Ingolfsson, who comes to Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in the state capital this weekend to open the 2001-2002 season with Leslie B. Dunner's Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Ingolfsson will play the vital and exotic Violin Concerto of 20th-century Armenian composer Aram Khatchaturian.

Symphony No. 2 by Brahms and "Kickoff," a bracing six-minute curtain-raiser by Pittsburgh-based composer David Stock, round out the program.

Ingolfsson is the 1998 Gold Medal winner of the International Violin Concerto Competition of Indianapolis, one of the most prestigious prizes a violinist can win.

An up-and-coming virtuoso, Ingolfsson made her debut at New York's Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2000. She has performed solos with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch and with the orchestras of St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Diego and Kansas City.

An active recitalist in the United States and Europe, Ingolfsson is scheduled to make her debut with the National Symphony this season under Leonard Slatkin's direction.

The Khatchaturian concerto, though rather underappreciated, is a first-rate piece: melodic, folksy in its exotic Russian way, and packed with enough technical fireworks to keep a young virtuoso (and her audience) involved and happy.

Unlike Brahms' First Symphony in C minor, over which he slaved for years, the gorgeously sustained melodies of his great Second Symphony, in D major, flowed out of him with relative ease.

"Whether or not I have a pretty symphony I do not know," Brahms wrote. "I will have to ask some wiser people."

Most wise listeners have been enchanted by this symphony since it premiered Dec. 30, 1877, with Hans Richter conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.

It is full of terrific tunes (the second theme of Movement 1 is a dead ringer for Brahms' famous "Lullaby"); the solos for woodwinds and brass contain some of the most eloquent passages ever composed. And a jauntier, more jubilant ending to a symphony has never been written.

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra has announced that both of this weekend's concerts will be dedicated to the police officers and firefighters of Anne Arundel County. Anyone involved with this type of public service is invited to call the orchestra and arrange seating for either performance.

The Annapolis Symphony opens its 2001-2002 concert season at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts at 8 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday. For tickets and subscriptions, call 410-263-0907 or 410-269-1132.

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