Jean-Guihen Queyras at Piatigorsky International Cello Festival 3/12/12

March 12, 2012

Los Angeles is very lucky to have this amazing cello festival this week (Ralph Kirshbaum, the festival’s artistic director). It is 10-day festival inviting first class cellists from all over the world. I could not attend the first night of this festival, but I listened the opening concert of 5 concertos on KUSC. Living in LA, we miss having chance to hear European musicians (unless we get there). Some of the cellists on the opening concert were new to me. All of 5 concertos were done excellently, especially Jean-Guihen Queyras’ Haydn C Major Concerto. It was an eye-opening performance for me. By the way, I am a pianist. I have heard this very popular concerto for many times, and Queyras’ performance was fresh and creative, as if he was improvising at the sight with silky and smooth tone. His interpretation was individual. I enjoyed his playing so I went to listen his recital sharing with Tomas Demenga on Saturday 3/10.  Queyras played 2 of my favorite cello repertoire, Britten Suite No. 1 and Cassado Suite. Both are unaccompanied pieces. He tried for maximum dynamics and expression contrast, but it never went extreme or strange. When people try to play with individual and unique interpretation, sometimes it starts sounding not natural or organic. But Queyras keeps music united and fresh. I look forward to hearing his performance/CDs in future. In the second half, Demenga’s performance with Robert Thies, piano, was fascinating with unique programming. The festival is offering many exciting performances and masterclasses around LA until Sunday 3/18.

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