Michael Ludwig, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's concertmaster, is in Russia. He is going to be performing in the Tchaikovsky International Competition.
Ludwig, pictured at left in a News file photo, is not a contestant. He is performing at the special request of composer John Corigliano, who is one of the jurors, and the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. He will be playing Corigliano's "Red Violin" Concerto.
I associate the concerto with Michael because he has played the piece here -- and his performance with the BPO has been broadcast on Performance Today. Looking on YouTube just now, though, reminds me that an impressive number of violinists play the piece. Joshua Bell played the music in the movie "The Red Violin." Here he is discussing the piece.
Hahahaha... I like watching Joshua Bell in this interview. He looks like a baseball player, sitting there.
It will be fun to hear from Michael how his visit to Russia goes. I am sure he will have stories to tell.
The Tchaikovsky Competition is a complex endeavor. It began June 14 and winds up June 30. Right now they seem to be at a midpoint, with 12 violinists, 12 cellists and 12 pianists all advancing to the next round. One of the pianists, Eduard Kunz, distinguished himself in the last Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. I wonder why I remember his name? Other than that, none of the names looks familiar.
If you register with the Russians (it's free) you can watch the competition live. Hmmmm... I just did. Be warned: A lot of the competition -- speeches, and captions -- will still be in Russian, no matter what language you choose.
It is fun to look at the hall -- large and grand, dominated by a huge portrait of Tchaikovsky.
Michael's concert is sometime on Wednesday.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman