Thursday, October 9th 2014, Concert in Oulu, Finland

Oulu Music Centre, 19.00 Uhr


  • Glinka, Michail Ivanowitsch (1804-1857): Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture
  • Saint-Saens, Camille (1835-1921): Havanaise Op. 83
  • Saint-Saens, Camille (1835-1921): Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for violin and orchestra op. 28
  • Bruckner, Anton (1824-1896): Symphony No. 3 d-minor

Oulu Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ari Rasilainen

* * *

Saturday, October 25th 2014, Concert in Vic, Spain

Auditorio Teatro Atlantida de Vic

Rinko Hama, piano


  • Ludwig van Beethoven, sonata No. 7 for violin and piano, c-minor
  • Felix Mendelssohn, sonata for violin and piano, F-major
  • César Franck, sonata for violin and piano, A-major



Past Concerts:

Spain Tour 2014

Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz conducted by Karl-Heinz Steffens

Monday, January 20th 2014, concert in Zaragoza

Auditorio de Zaragoza, 08:15 pm

Wednesday, January 22nd 2014, concert in Alicante

ADDA – Auditorio de la Diputación de Alicante, 8:00 pm

Thursday, January 23rd 2014, concert in Castellón de la Plana

Auditorio de Castellón, 8:00 pm

Friday, January 24th 2014, concert in Vic

Teatre L’Atlantida, Sala Ramón Montanyà, 8:30 pm



  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Overture Nr. 3 zu “Leonore”, op. 72
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Concert for Violin and Orchestra D-Major, op. 61
  • Robert Schumann, Symphony Nr. 1 B-Major, op. 38

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New Zealand Tour 2014

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pietari Inkinen

Thursday, 1st April 2014, concert in Napier

Municipal Theatre, 7:00 pm

Thursday, 3rd April 2014, concert in Hamilton

Founders Theatre, 7:30 pm

Friday, 4th April 2014, concert in Auckland

Town Hall, 7:00 pm

Saturday, 5th April 2014, concert in Wellington

Michael Fowler Centre, 7:30 pm

Wednesday, 9th April 2014, concert in Dunedin

Town Hall, 7:00 pm

Thursday, 10th April 2014, concert in Christchurch

CBS Canterbury Arena, 7:00 pm



  • Richard Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
  • Erich Korngold: Violin concerto
  • Peter Tschaikowsky: Symphony No. 4

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2nd April 2014, Waikato University Hamilton, time tba

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Poland 2014

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pietari Inkinen

9th May 2014, concert in Warsaw, Poland

Concert Hall, 7:30 pm

10th May 2014, concert in Warsaw, Poland

Concert Hall, 6:00 pm


  • Wilhelm STENHAMMAR - Excelsior! Concert Overture Op. 13
  • Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH – Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor Op. 77
  • Jean SIBELIUS – Symphony No. 1 in E Minor Op. 39;2014;5?PHPSESSID=7da7d6a65807b92d5f7d39f25e557063

* * *

Sturday, 7th September 2013, 5:00 pm


Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Stefan Blunier, conducter

Mikhail Ovrutsky and Artur Chermonov, violin


Pablo de Sarasate Navarra op. 33 für 2 Soloviolinen und Orchester (1889)

* * *

Sunday, 29th September 2013, 11:00 am (Introduction 10.15 am)

Monday, 30th September 2013, 7:30 pm (Introduction 6:45 pm)

Staatskapelle Halle, Ari Rasilainen, conducter

Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Hall, Halle


Edvard Grieg »Peer Gynt« Suite No. 1 op. 46

Carl Nielsen Concert for Violin and Orchestra op. 33
Jean Sibelius Sympony No. 6 d-Minor op. 104

* * *



Mikhail Ovrutsky interviewed by Maja Ellmenreich on home and musical home

The three phases in your life – Russia, the USA and Germany – are the theme of this CD. Do you like moving around?

I used to, but not any more, perhaps because I have moved too often … Packing, looking for a place to live, unpacking and familiarizing yourself with the new surroundings are always draining.

What is your favourite means of travelling?

Trains, actually! You travel quickly and comfortably, and can spend your time meaningfully as well. Planes are faster, but also more stressful, and afterwards I suffer the consequences of the changes in pressure, among other things. I am truly relaxed on board a train, and it stays on the ground. I like to watch films when I have my laptop with me, or once in a while listen to music on my IPod.

What kind of music do you listen to while travelling?

Not classical music so much. I like groups like Queen and the Beatles, the somewhat older things, as well as meditative sounds. They are especially suited to riding on trains, while the countryside passes by.

Let us return to that triad: Moscow – Philadelphia/New York – Cologne/Bonn. Three significant stations in a relatively young life. Where is your home?

Difficult to say. My parents live in America, and I always like returning there. I spent the first eleven years of my life in Moscow and Russian is my mother tongue; I was born there and have a strong bond with Russia and Moscow. But I only go there perhaps once every two years. I think that Germany, and particularly Cologne, have become my home in the meantime.

And where is your musical home?

Here in Germany, in Cologne, I would say, since it is here that I have learnt most. When I was small, we naturally attended the Tchaikovsky Competition, and I was often in the Bolshoy Theatre – my father was flautist in the orchestra there. Those are my very first memories of music. But the most important time when most happened, starting when I was 17 or 18, I spent here in Germany.

You grew up in Moscow, where you attended a special school for musically highly talented children. Then the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, the Manhattan School of Music and finally the Cologne College of Music crop up in your curriculum vitae. Which school, which teacher influenced you most?

All my teachers were naturally important. But even at the age of eleven, when Vengerov and Repin were in Professor Bron’s class, I dreamt of playing to him sometime. Then it really happened one day, and that left a deep impression on me. After studying in America for five years, I had left my family at the age of sixteen and come to Germany by myself in order to study with him. That became perhaps the most beautiful and musically most intense time of my life.

Zakhar Bron has now made you his assistant. What kind of teacher are you?

I only teach his pupils, who are all highly talented. I therefore try to deepen what Professor Bron has taught them. To begin with, I simply attend to aspects I notice. Then I try to support them technically or help them understand something, like when the form is not quite clear to them.

Let us leave Cologne and Bonn and go back a step. When you were 11 or 12 years old, you moved with your parents and sister from Moscow to Philadelphia, where several members of your family already lived. Was it still a great cultural shock for you to move from Russia to the USA?

That was my first plane journey – a day I remember very well. When we landed in the USA, my first impression was: Wow! Colours! Neon signs everywhere, everything lit up and shining!

Colours and fresh horizons on the one hand, but on the other you could hardly speak English …

My sister had already had English at school for some time, but I had only had it for perhaps half a year. It was not so easy, because I went straight to a public middle school and understood nothing for a time. But after six months to a year I could already speak very well, found friends, and everything was going better by the time I began attending the Curtis Institute at 15.

For this CD you have now chosen music that represents the three countries in your life. How did you get the idea? How did you choose the pieces?

My first thought was to take something from each of the countries. I chose music I feel very close to. I chiefly associate Tchaikovsky with Moscow, for I heard his operas, ballets and symphonies early in my life. My mother worked in broadcasting at the time and was always bringing recordings home; I remember that we listened to his “Mélodie” and “Méditation”, as well as to the Violin Concerto with Oistrakh. Those were my earliest musical experiences. Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher, “memories of a dear place”, is a nostalgic piece.

Does it have a lot of the “Russian soul” for you?

Certainly. Tchaikovsky dedicated it to the place where he wrote it. It was a place with which he felt closely connected, and that is the way I feel about Moscow. I think of the music school, my friends and relatives who still live there, and most of all of my first musical experiences.

Your sister has also left there and now lives in Philadelphia. You have played music with her right from the start. Playing Tchaikovsky with her – is that particularly easy?

You’re right, my earliest memories are of playing with my sister, and I feel incredibly good with her, no matter what we play. We know and understand each other without words. And Tchaikovsky naturally brings back memories for her that are just as intense as mine.

Let us briefly stay in Moscow and talk about Prokofiev. Tchaikovsky’s music contains lyrical and virtuoso passages, and there is a great deal of lyricism in Prokofiev too. Do the Five Melodies represent typical Prokofiev for you?

Everything that has to do with magic or fairy tales is typical Prokofiev, rather as is the case with Britten. Whenever I listen to Prokofiev, I am impressed by the variety of colours, allowing one to imagine incredibly many scenes. For example, I think of Russian fairy tales, forests … The Tchaikovsky is incredibly beautiful and lyrical. Prokofiev is different, for he is concerned with stories and the appropriate atmosphere.

In the next phase of your career we meet the Americans and Gershwin. Does that jazzy musical language mean a lot to you?

I very much like playing these pieces, especially because Jascha Heifetz arranged them. He played on one of the first CDs I heard in America, and I immediately became a great fan of his. His tone, his technique, and above all his sense of rhythm and his phrasing are impressive. He spent most of his life in America, and in these arrangements I seem to hear something of the effect American music had on him. Listening to him in that way, I can picture him walking through New York with his violin, gathering impressions … That is how I myself felt in my first days and weeks in New York, when I left the train, for example, and almost dislocated my neck trying to see the sky.

Bach and Gershwin – do they belong in different leagues for you?

Interpretations of Bach’s music certainly vary almost as much as those of jazz standards, and there are musicians who find Bach altogether jazzy. Naturally there are great differences, but there are perhaps more parallels than many people think.

Why did you choose this particular Bach sonata?

The G minor Sonata is the first solo violin piece I ever performed. It is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the violin as a solo instrument. I also see it as an important foundation stone of violin literature. Some movements are technically not very demanding, but one needs to bring along a modicum of musical experience, as well as experience of life. One needs to know exactly what one wants to convey.

In the case of Mendelssohn’s F major Sonata, I picture you and your sister playing it together very early. Despite the fact that there is now an urtext version, you have decided on Menuhin’s version of 1953 here. Is there more Menuhin or more Mendelssohn in it?

I know the Urtext edition, but for me the same applies as for the D minor Concerto. There are pieces that Mendelssohn himself later changed. It was Menuhin who discovered and first published this work. It is therefore legitimate to speculate whether Mendelssohn would have made changes if he had published it. Menuhin is a major role model for all violinists and he put a great deal of thought into the matter. His version appears to have greater formal clarity than the urtext to me, and my choice is also my way of paying tribute to him. I have only been performing the piece since coming to Germany; my sister and I often include the sonata in our concert programmes now, especially because we can imagine that Mendelssohn himself might have performed it with his sister Fanny. That inspires us.

You are both adults now, and very successful musicians. Have you always got along well together, musically and as brother and sister?

Good times, bad times … (laughs) – no, we have a very close relationship. We nevertheless get along best when we make music. The occasional disagreement is funnily enough never about music. With other people it is often the other way round.

She is your big sister, four years your senior. Does that make her your musical adviser?

When I was little, she was the one who told me that the violin is my instrument. She had been playing the piano for several years, but also loved the sound of the violin; perhaps she even then foresaw that we would make music together. I even remember the day she persuaded me to ask our father for a violin. I was four years old at the time. So all this is ultimately thanks to her.

Translation: J & M Berridge