One of the most popular violin concertos in the classical repertoire, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto, will highlight The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey’s season opening concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, October 7, at Dolan Hall, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown. Soloist will be Agnes Kwasniewska, the Orchestra’s concertmaster.
Though Agnes Kwasniewska will make her solo debut with BONJ playing the passionately beautiful Max Bruch Concerto in g minor, she has been a vital part of the BONJ sound for several years. She has served as an inspiring concertmaster since 2009 and has appeared as ensemble soloist in concerti by Vivaldi, Reich;, Bach, Corelli and Dittersdorf. She has received high praise for these performances by critics and educators such as E. Michael Markwis (“I’ve seen a different side of Bach…it gave me goose bumps!”) and Sheila Abrams who commented not only on her virtuosic playing, but also on her ability to discover and successfully perform works too rarely heard by composers such as Johann Reicha and Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. Describing her performance of Vivaldi, BONJ Advisory Committee member Jon Plaut said “it was as if a spark had been struck and an exciting fire just took hold and lit up the entire piece.”
While residing in Hong Kong, Agnes was a founding member of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong in 1999. She remains an active guest artist with the ensemble. The renowned conductors with whom she’s worked include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, John Rutter and Henryk Gorecki. Agnes has appeared at Carnegie Hall, New York; The Art Center in Seoul, Korea,; The Art Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Papal Hall, Vatican City; and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. She has recorded with Koch, BBC, and NAXOS. She currently serves on the faculty of the United Nations International School in New York and teaches at her private studios in Manhattan and Madison.
The concerto was first completed in 1866 and the first performance was given on April 24, 1866 by Otto von Konigslow with Bruch himself conducting. The concerto was then considerably revised with help from celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim and completed in its present form in 1867. (information for this paragraph came from Wikipedia)
Bruch was born in Cologne, Rhine Province, on January 6, 1838. It was there he received his early musical training under the composer and pianist Ferdinand Hiller. Bruch had a long career as a teacher, conductor and composer, moving among musical posts throughout Germany. At the height of his reputation he spent three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society. He died in his house in Berlin-Friedenau on October 2, 1920.
Other selections on the program include Symphony #43 Mercury, by Franz Joseph Haydn and Classical Symphony, by Sergei Prokofiev. The Orchestra is conducted by Dr. Robert W. Butts, founder and musical director.
Tickets for this performance are priced at $35/$25/$5/Adults/Seniors/Students under 22 with ID and can be purchased on line at www.baroqueorchestra.org, or by calling the office, 973-366-8922.