Arts and Culture

Israeli violinist to play Tchaikovsky concerto with TSO

Vadim Gluzman
Vadim Gluzman

Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman will perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra next month.

Named NPR’s #1 New Classical Music Face of 2008 for his recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Gluzman will perform the concerto with the TSO and conductor George Hanson on Thursday and Friday, February 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 14 at 2 p.m. at the Tucson Music Hall.

Gluzman was born in Ukraine in 1973 and began studying violin at age 7. When he was 16, his family immigrated to Israel.

The effect on his musical career was huge, he told the AJP in a phone interview.

“Oh my gosh,” he laughs. “I went from a totalitarian society to a society of freedom of choices, in every way imaginable, from where you studied and with whom you studied, to what kind of musical phrase you are going to play in the next minute and why. It was as if someone uncuffed me.”

Gluzman played for violin virtuoso Isaac Stern many times in Israel and in the United States. “He was just an incredible influence on me, musically and personally,” he says, adding that Stern was “this incredible larger-than-life personality” who helped build “almost each and every cultural institution in Israel.”

Gluzman, who performs regularly with dozens of major orchestras worldwide, says the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto “is arguably the most beloved violin concerto of all times.” The only person who didn’t love it initially, he says, was the man to whom it was dedicated, Hungarian violinist, teacher and composer Leopold Auer.

“He decided that it was unplayable,” Gluzman says. Auer later reconsidered and made all his students learn the piece, he says, ensuring its fame.

The violin Gluzman plays is the 1690 ex-Leopold Auer Stradivarius, on extended loan to him through the Stradivari Society of Chicago. Thus he will be playing the Tchaikovsky concerto on the violin for which it was written, “although the concerto was never performed in public on this fiddle” by Auer, he explains.

TSO’s Tchaikovsky program will also feature his Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique.” Tickets, $20-$72, are available at, at the TSO Box Office located at 2175 N. Sixth Ave., or by calling 882-8585.