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Venice Baroque Orchestra and violinist Nicola Benedetti
Kansas City, Missouri
Thursday, 16 February 2017 - 7:30 PM
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Nicola Benedetti is an incredibly versatile musician, performing everything from the great Romantic violin concertos by Brahms and Tchaikovsky to modernist works by James MacMillan and even lush Hollywood scores. Her Folly Theater concert will feature music by Italian Baroque composers Francesco Geminiani, Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi. See full program below.

Benedetti, who began playing the violin when she was four, studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School for young musicians in England. One of her memorable early experiences was playing second violin in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Concerto for Two Violins. The great violinist Menuhin himself was the conductor. “He was such a powerful force when he entered a room,” Benedetti said. Everybody was hushed. It was a very special moment when he would come to the school.

Over the years, Benedetti has studied with early music specialists, learning the subtleties of Baroque performance practice. But she says her playing and that of the Venice Baroque Orchestra is far from academic or clinical. “If you were not to analyze it and just listen to the wildness of a composer like (Antonio) Vivaldi, it inspires a certain freedom,” she said. “To me, it’s just unavoidable, no matter how much you would choose to do something different, you have to go in that direction.”

The Venice Baroque Orchestra, last presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series in 2002, is certainly not known for staid performances. They bring 18th-century music alive, with verve and fire. Benedetti will be featured in almost every work on the program, but she says that she will be “integrated” into the ensemble. “They are a very collegial orchestra and also have a lot of spontaneity and they inspire a lot of trust in me,” she said. Founded in 1997 by Baroque scholar and harpsichordist Andrea Marcon, the Venice Baroque Orchestra is recognized as one of the premier ensembles devoted to period instrument performance. The Orchestra has appeared in many more cities across the United States than any other Baroque orchestra in history.

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