To introduce Beethoven’s monumental “Kreutzer” Sonata for piano and violin, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rita Dove shares her poem “The Bridgetower”, about the virtuosic Black English violinist George Bridgetower, to whom the Sonata was originally dedicated. To all accounts Bridgetower’s premiere performance was stunning. But Beethoven’s frequent fallings out with friends and colleagues was unfortunately no different with his one-time great friend, Bridgetower. After a quarrel, Beethoven rescinded the dedication and bestowed it on the much less appropriate violinist, Rudolphe Kreutzer. Ironically, Kreutzer deemed the piece “outrageously unintelligible” and never played it!
Following Dove’s fascinating introduction, TANK Trust Laureate* Rachell Wong and Music Director Eric Zivian take on this epic work on period instruments. Join us for this exciting virtual event!
This performance is sponsored by Dawn Williams and Drew Levy.
*The Valley of the Moon Music Festival TANK Trust Laureate Program supports the development of emerging professional musicians performing on period instruments. For more information, please see: https://valleyofthemoonmusicfestival.org/tank-trust-laureate-program/
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS:
RACHELL ELLEN WONG, VIOLIN
A rising star on both the historical performance and modern violin stages, violinist Rachell Ellen Wong is a 2020 recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has performed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in the UK, Canada, Italy Costa Rica, Panama, China, and New Zealand. A sought-after collaborator, her growing reputation as one of the top historical performers of her generation has resulted in appearances with such respected ensembles as the American Bach Soloists and The Academy of Ancient Music, and tours with Bach Collegium Japan, Les Arts Florissants, and others. Equally accomplished on the modern violin, Ms. Wong made her first public appearance with the Philharmonia Northwest at age 11 and has since performed as a soloist with such orchestras as Seattle Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Panamá, and Orquesta Sinfónica (Costa Rica).
Miss Wong served as a 2019-2020 Mercury Chamber Orchestra Juilliard Fellow, and as an American Fellow of The English Concert. Her numerous awards include the inaugural Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition Grand Prize, among others. She performs on a baroque violin from the school of Joachim Tielke, and on a modern violin by Carlo de March.
ERIC ZIVIAN, FORTEPIANO
Music Director and Co-Founder of the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, Eric Zivian graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to receive graduate degrees from the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. He studied piano with Gary Graffman and Peter Serkin and composition with Ned Rorem, Jacob Druckman, and Martin Bresnick. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center both as a performer and as a composer.
Since 2000, Mr. Zivian has performed extensively on original instruments, playing fortepiano in the Zivian-Tomkins Duo and the Benvenue Fortepiano Trio. He is also a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and has performed with the Empyrean Ensemble and Earplay. He is a frequent guest artist on the San Francisco Conservatory’s faculty chamber music series. Mr. Zivian’s compositions have been performed widely in the United States and in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2020, Eric is performing the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas on fortepiano. A new weekly installment of the series is posted each Sunday on the Valley of the Moon Music Festival YouTube channel.
RITA DOVE, INTRODUCTION
American poet and essayist Rita Frances Dove served as poet laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995, and as poet laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. Among her many honors are the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, the 2009 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, as well as twenty-eight honorary doctorates. President Bill Clinton bestowed upon her the 1996 National Humanities Medal, and President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts, making her the only poet who has received both medals.
Her books of poetry include Collected Poems 1974-2004 (W.W. Norton, 2016), recipient of the 2017 NAACP Image Award, the 2017 Library of Virginia Award and a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award; Sonata Mulattica (W. W. Norton, 2009), winner of the Hurston Wright Legacy Award; On the Bus with Rosa Parks (W. W. Norton, 1999), named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Thomas and Beulah (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1986), which won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Dove is a trained classical cellist and gambist. She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where she has been teaching since 1989.