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New Recording Features Violinist Livia Sohn
Performing Britten & Berger

A new CD released by Eloquentia features violinist Livia Sohn as soloist in Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto, Op 15, paired with Jiyeh, a concerto by Israeli-American composer Jonathan Berger. Written for and premiered by Livia Sohn in 2007, Jiyeh is scored for chamber orchestra, violin, cimbalom, percussion and strings. The album coincides with the ongoing Benjamin Britten centennial celebration.

Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto (1938-39) was written against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. The music evokes the composer’s abhorrence of fascism. Jiyeh, written by Jonathan Berger almost seventy years after the Britten Concerto, expresses Berger’s rejection of war, brutality and inhumanity. “Paired together, these works present musical reflections of a world gone mad—by composers whose aesthetic, while stylistically diverse, share a sensibility of lyricism and expressivity,” comments Berger.

Jiyeh is a town on the Lebanese coast built upon the ancient city of Porphyreon. On July 14, 2006, the third day of the military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, a rocket hit the fuel storage area of an aging power station in Jiyeh. The potential ecological disaster of tons of oil spilling into the Mediterranean Sea while the military conflict was escalating became to Berger, “a metaphor of the absurdity and tragedy of this, and of all war.”

The Britten Concerto was recorded live in May 2010 at the Teatro Marrucino in Chieti, Italy. Luigi Piovano conducts the Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro Marrucino di Chieti. Berger’s Jiyeh was recorded live in February 2008 at the Banff Centre with Henk Guitttart conducting the Banff Centre Chamber Orchestra.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Hailed by Opus Magazine as “a stunning musician,” violinist LIVIA SOHN performs widely on the international stage as concerto soloist, recitalist and festival guest in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and New Zealand. The Strad magazine says “Livia Sohn possesses a remarkably lithe and transparent tone of exceptional purity. Her virtually blemishless accounts are nothing short of remarkable. Even when under the most fearsome technical pressure at high velocity, every note rings true with pinpoint accuracy.”

This past season saw Livia performing such wide-ranging concertos as Tchaikovsky and Bruch to Britten and Rorem with orchestras in North America and Europe. Upcoming concerts from this season take Livia to Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver and Berlin.

Livia gave her first public performance at the age of eight. When she was twelve, she was awarded First Prize in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition. She attended the Juilliard Pre-College Division from the age of seven, at which time she began her studies with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. She continued under their tutelage at the Juilliard School where she also studied chamber music with the legendary Felix Galamir. Livia plays on a J. B. Guadagnini violin crafted in 1770 and a Samuel Zygmuntowicz made in 2006. She has been on faculty at the Music Department of Stanford University in California since 2005. Livia can be heard on the Naxos and Eloquentia labels.

JONATHAN BERGER’s music ranges from vocal, orchestral and chamber works to electroacoustic constructions. He was featured as composer-in-residence at Spoleto Festival USA (2010) with a version of the harrowing and chilling Theotokia (written for Dawn Upshaw), based on Berger’s recent research into auditory hallucinations. Berger’s opera, Visitations, premieres this Spring.

Miracles and Mud (NAXOS) Berger's recent recording of music for solo violin and string quartet, has received considerable critical acclaim, deemed “remarkably impressive...superbly performed and recorded” by Arkivmusic. His works can also be heard on the Sony Classical, Centaur, Neuma, CRI, and IMA labels. Berger has received commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation, WDR, the Bourges Festival, Chamber Music America, and the Mellon Fund, among others.

Playfully called “a musician who accidentally became a scientist” by American Public Media’s Weekend America, Berger is an active researcher with over 70 publications in a wide range of fields relating to music, science and technology. Berger explores the power of music to surprise, elicit memory, captivate attention, and to express and convey emotion. Berger is the Denning Family Provostial Professor in Music at Stanford University where he teaches composition, music theory, and cognition at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

For further information about the recording, please contact Milina Barry PR.

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