Shlomo Mintz is one of the most acclaimed violinists of our time, and on Monday he will be the featured soloist for the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra’s season opener.
“He doesn’t perform that much in the U.S. and it’s extraordinary that he would come perform with the orchestra,” said Kevin Hekmatpanah, director of the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra and professor of music. “It’s a rare and golden opportunity for the people in Spokane and the Northwest.”
According to the concert news release, “Mintz is considered by colleagues, audiences and critics [as] one of the foremost violinists of our time, esteemed for his impeccable musicianship, stylistic versatility, and commanding technique.”
Mintz said he’s excited to come to Gonzaga and play with the students because it is an opportunity to “pass on musical knowledge and heritage to the next generation.”
“[Hopefully, this experience will allow students to] witness a great artist who has played hundreds of times and is still committed to it and committed to elegance,” said Hekmatpanah. “To see somebody so centered on depth and perfection and beauty is inspiring.”
This opportunity will also allow students to connect with Mintz in a one-on-one environment.
“I enjoy working with college orchestra[s] because they have an enthusiasm and want to live in the good that comes through their playing,” Mintz said.
During the concert Mintz will be featured in the “Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64” by Felix Mendelssohn.
Mintz picked the Mendelssohn piece because he has been playing it his whole life. He first played the piece at age 11. It was also the time when people began to recognize Mintz’s talents.
“The [Mendelssohn] concerto is always challenging because it is written in such a perfect manner,” Mintz said. “Not one note is wasted throughout the entire piece, so I try to treat it with the utmost respect and appreciation.”
“[The selection] is one of the most famous and beloved violin concertos. It’s a perennial favorite and very accessible to the audience,” Hekmatpanah said. “It’s like a romanticized Mozart, very elegant and refined with very lively gorgeous melodies.”
Also featured that evening will be the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra playing “Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Mintz will also be putting on a master class on Saturday that is open to students as well as the general public.
“The class will allow for students to play the piece uninterrupted and then [Mintz] will give feedback,” Hekmatpanah said.
“It is very important to understand how to listen. Everything is in the ear,” Mintz said. “I often work on this to make the student understand the importance of knowing how to listen to his or her own sound and at the same time using the knowledge to be able to make significant changes in her performance.”
Mintz said he hopes to get “inspiration, excitement and willingness [from] students to work closely with classical music.”
“The music department is committed to excellence and giving our students the most important opportunities, they can have and bringing someone of this caliber directly impacts their education,” Hekmatpanah said.
Bringing Mintz to Spokane will bring students and teachers from all over Eastern Washington, not just people of GU.
The master class will be held on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Music Hall on campus and the concert will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Tickets for GU students are free with a student ID, $16 general admission and $13 for students/seniors with ID.
Riley Utley is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @rileyutley.