Bella Hristova, violin Performed on Monday, June 17, 2013 Gould Rehearsal Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia There are many chaconnes to speak of in baroque music. Monteverdi, Corelli, Biber, Purcell, Couperin, and Handel are just a few of the composers who frequently used the form, which bears many similarities to the passacaglia. But when one speaks of “the Chaconne,” there can be little doubt that they are referring to the towering final movement of J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor. Longer in duration than the preceding four movements, its weight and influence extends beyond the partita itself, and farther than even Bach could have envisioned. Since its composition an unbroken line of musicians and composers have sat in awe as they studied, performed, and absorbed this model of function and form—a pillar on which Western music itself sits. But form alone is not enough to captivate mankind for nearly three centuries, and there isn’t exactly a dearth of examples for Bach’s architectural genius. One could just as easily praise The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, or the “St. Anne” Prelude and Fugue as proof of the gospel according to Bach. So why the Chaconne? Johannes Brahms may have put it best in a letter to Clara Schumann: “On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”
Johann Sebastian Bach
VIOLIN PARTITA NO. 2 IN D MINOR, BWV 1004
Recorded Date: 17-06-2013
Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, violinist Bella Hristova is a young musician with a growing international career as a soloist and recording artist. Her talent has been recently recognized with a prestigious 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, given to outstanding instrumentalists and based on excellence alone. The Strad has praised, “Every sound she draws is superb”, and the Washington Post’s The Classical Beat has stated she is “a player of impressive power and control”.
Following summer engagements at music festivals including Mainly Mozart, Chesapeake Chamber, Cactus Pear, Summer Stars Chamber, Brevard, and Skaneateles, Ms. Hristova’s 2013-2014 season features a mix of solo, recital and chamber music performances among them performances of concertos by Korngold, Vivaldi, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, Barber, Beethoven and Bruch. Engagements of note include Bella leading/performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic; performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; a national tour with the Musicians from Marlboro; a solo violin recital at Vermont’s Brattleboro Music Center; a Christmas eve performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E, Op. 64 at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra, and two world premieres written specifically for her: David Ludwig’s concerto with the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Anthony Richie’s violin concerto with New Zealand’s Southern Sinfonia. North American appearances also include orchestral engagements with the symphony orchestras of Amarillo, Bakersfield, Des Moines, Edmonton (Canada), Meridian, Southwest Michigan, Westmoreland, and the InterSchool Orchestra of New York, as well as recitals with the Tuesday Musical Club, Music for Youth, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Arts Council of Moore County. Abroad, Ms. Hristova also appears with New Zealand’s Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Recent highlights include the 2013 late spring release of her newest recording, Bella Unaccompanied, (A.W. Tonegold Records) a CD of works for solo violin, featuring John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Caprices, Kevin Puts’s Arches, Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Etudes, Nathan Milstsein’s Paganiniana Variations and J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D, BWV 1004. Appearances included performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, at the Young Concert Artists Gala Concert at Alice Tully Hall, with the Mississippi Symphony, City of London Sinfonia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Korea’s Cheongju Symphony Orchestra, at the
Cerritos Center for the Arts, at Free For All at Town Hall, at the Shanghai International Music Festival, and at Seoul National University.
A sought after chamber musician, Mr. Hristova was selected as a member of CMS Two and has frequently performed chamber music at Lincoln Center, as well as at The Grand Teton Festival, Music@Menlo, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Music from Angel Fire, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Marlboro Music Festival. She has appeared multiple times on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio.
In addition to the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Bella Hristova is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including First Prize in the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, First Prize of the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, and Laureate of the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. She made her debut in the Young Concert Artists Series during the 2009-10 season at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, sponsored by the Rhoda Walker Teagle Prize, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. Ms. Hristova is the first recipient of YCA’s Helen Armstrong Violin Fellowship, and has been honored with the Miriam Brody Aronson Award, the Ruth Laredo Memorial Award, the Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women Artists. Ms. Hristova currently holds the John French Violin Chair of YCA.
As a result of winning the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, Ms. Hristova made a critically acclaimed concert tour of New Zealand, and a similarly acclaimed CD of solo violin works by the Belgian virtuoso Charles de Bériot (Naxos). Gramophone praised her first recording, “The brilliant passages come easily to her, … with an elegance that perfectly suits the music. … she’s an admirable advocate for Bériot.” And Music Web International stated, “…this disc is an absolute winner… …The musical diversity across the thirty eight minutes of these pieces [12 Scènes ou Caprices pour le violon Op. 109] is a delight. None of which would count for much if they were not played with the extraordinary virtuosity and musical maturity of Bella Hristova. … Hristova combines jaw-dropping technical prowess with real style.”
Born in Pleven, Bulgaria in 1985 to Russian and Bulgarian parents, Ms. Hristova began violin studies at the age of six. At twelve, she participated in master classes with Ruggiero Ricci at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 2003, she entered The Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked with Ida Kavafian and studied chamber music with Steven Tenenbom. She received her Artist Diploma with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University in 2010. Ms. Hristova plays a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin, once owned by the violinist Louis Krasner.