Violin Concertos - Ittai Shapira
'The Old Man and the Sea' was commissioned by Molloy College, Madison Theatre for the "Innovative Classics" Series
In his dual role as violinist-composer, Ittai Shapira is a rarity in the 21st century, but follows a long line of musicians who, in writing and performing their own works, have relished both forms of creativity.
Ittai Shapira regularly performs with prestigious artists across the globe. Engagements include performances with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic under Sir Neville Marriner, Cape Town Philharmonic, Czech National Symphony under Libor Peek, Detroit Symphony under Yoel Levi, English Chamber Orchestra with Yuri Bashmet at the Barbican, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israeli Virtuosi at Alice Tully Hall hosted by Itzhak Perlman, The Knights, the Philharmonia, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Russian Philharmonic with Thomas Sanderling, and the Symphony Orchestras of Budapest, Harrisburg, Jerusalem, Omaha and Shanghai. Performances include a tour of Finland and Sweden with the Oulu Sinfonia, and a tour of Shapira's own composition, Concierto Latino, with the Key West Symphony.
In his role as a composer, Ittai Shapira continues to write a variety of works, including a Double Violin Concerto entitled Magyar, a Violin and Cello Concerto, 'Sephardic Journeys', and a set of Solo Violin Caprices.
Ittai Shapira made a critically-acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 with the Orchestra of St Luke's, performing the world premiere of the Violin Concerto written for him by compatriot Shulamit Ran. His recording of this concerto is featured in a compilation of Ms Ran's works performed by Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 2006 Ittai Shapira reached an audience of 55 million playing on the Jerry Lewis Telethon, televised nationally in the US. In the same year, Shapira toured a concert piece written for him by Glen Roven, The Runaway Bunny, which he performed with Glenn Close, as well as recording the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Brooke Shields.
Ittai Shapira performs as recitalist and chamber musician throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and China, at venues ranging from the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Louvre Auditorium to the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. He frequently performs as a chamber musician with the ensemble Concertante, and also appears at international festivals, recent examples including those at Aspen, Banff, Ravinia and Schleswig-Holstein.
Ittai Shapira's discography (for labels including Champs Hill, EMI, Meridian Records, Sanctuary Classics, Quartz and Sony/BMG) represents his interest in both standard and unusual repertoire: from Bruch to Berio. Shapira's playing is also featured in the soundtrack for a film made about Daniel Pearl, The Journalist and the Jihadi. Shapira is the dedicatee of no fewer than fourteen concertos, the most recent of which is the Katrina Concerto by Theodore Wiprud. Ittai Shapira continues to collaborate with some of today's most respected and communicative composers, enjoying particularly fruitful musical relationships with Avner Dorman and Dave Heath.
Ittai Shapira, who now lives in New York, grew up in Israel, where he studied with the renowned pedagogue Ilona Feher. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay and Robert Mann. A recipient of the prestigious Clairmont Award, Ittai Shapira co-founded the Ilona Feher Foundation with esteemed colleague Hagai Shaham, dedicated to the nurturing and promotion of young Israeli violinists.
Ittai Shapira plays a 1745 Guadagnini Violin
Ittai Shapira would like to thank Stephen Cabell, Avner Dorman, Dave Heath and Theodore Wiprud for their musical influence and advice during the composition of The Old Man and the Sea.
'The Old Man and the Sea'
Neil Thomson is one of the most widely-respected and versatile British conductors of his generation. Born in 1966, he studied with Norman Del Mar at the Royal College of Music in London and later at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Sanderling.
He has conducted and recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia (in a broadcast with Steven Isserlis) and in the past five years has worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra in Denmark, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo, Palermo,Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan in Mexico, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra. In May 2005 he was invited to conduct the 50th Anniversary Memorial Concert for George Enescu with the Romanian National Orchestra and soloists David Geringas and Carmen Oprisanu.
Since 2008 he has made successful débuts (and immediate re-invitations) with the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the Orquestra Nacional do Porto and the WDR Rundfunkorchester,Koln.
He has performed with many distinguished soloists including Sir James Galway, Dame Moura Lympany, Sir Thomas Allen,Dame Felicity Lott, Philip Langridge, Sarah Chang, Steven Isserlis, Julian Lloyd Webber, David Geringas, Natalie Clein, Gyorgy Pauk, Brett Dean, Jean-Philippe Collard,Peter Jablonski, and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
Recent collaborations include a Schumann Cello Concerto with Steven Isserlis, a Liszt Second Piano Concerto with Stephen Hough and the premiere of Joseph Phibb's new Percussion Concerto with Dame Evelyn Glennie at the Cheltenham Festival.
From 1992 until 2006 he was Head of Conducting at the Royal College of Music. The youngest-ever incumbent of this post (first held by Sir Adrian Boult in 1916 and thereafter by conductors such as Sir Malcolm Sargent, Constant Lambert, Vernon Handley and Norman Del Mar).
He was made an Honorary Member of the RCM in 1994 for his services to the institution and has established an enviable reputation as an orchestral trainer.
His skills as a natural communicator have enhanced an already growing reputation as a teacher throughout Europe. He was invited twice to the EU-sponsored masterclasses in Vilnius, Lithuania and has been a Guest Professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg,the Krakow Academy of Music and the Conservatoire "Arrigo Boito" in Parma. In 2002 he was invited by Lorin Maazel to be on the jury for the European rounds of the Maazel Conducting Competition. In 2007 Neil was on the jury, alongside Gunther Schuller, for the Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico City and in May 2012 for the Prokofiev Conducting Competition in St.Petersburg.
Born in Warsaw, Krzysztof Chorzelski enjoys a diverse career as a chamber musician, recitalist and conductor. He is the violist in the Belcea Quartet - a leading chamber ensemble of the younger generation. The quartet's activities have taken him all over the world, with regular appearances on all major stages including London's Wigmore Hall, New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre, Théatre de Chatelet in Paris, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Vienna's Konzerthaus. Their recordings for EMI have received critical praise and awards such as the Gramophone, Midem Classics and Diapason D'Or. He appears regularly as a chamber music partner with musicians such as Piotr Anderszewski, Stephen Kovacevich, Imogen Cooper, Katya Apekisheva, Andrew Zolinsky, Natalie Clein, the Alban Berg, Ysae, Jerusalem and Pavel Haas Quartets. He is currently viola and chamber music professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Having studied conducting with Neil Thomson at the Royal College of Music and with Diego Masson at the Dartington Summer School, Krzysztof is further pursuing his interest in this field. He has founded the Metamorphosen Ensemble - a London-based chamber orchestra, with which he appeared at St. John's Smith Square in London.
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