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Paganini and Cinderella

Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts

190 South Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 United States View on Map

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Jorg Widmann Aria

Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1

Prokofiev Cinderella: Selections
from the Ballet

About The Performance

Virtuosity and romance. What a pair! Kevin Zhu performing Paganini’s fiery first concerto coupled with Prokofiev’s magical Cinderella told in its entirety through selected excerpts from the ballet.

It was 2018.  The 55th International Paganini Competition in Genoa, Italy.  17-year-old Kevin Zhu took the stage to perform Niccolo Paganini’s first violin concerto.  It was stunning.  He took first prize that year, and now brings the same piece to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, performed on the 1722 ‘Ex-Lord Wandsworth’ Stradivarius violin, which preceded Niccolo Paganini by several generations.   A violinist and composer, Paganini was a musical genius and sensation in his own time – so much so that myths of his age told that his gifts were earned through a deal with the devil.  Without question, Paganini’s soul shines through his first concerto, especially in the hands of Kevin Zhu.

Composer Jorg Widmann provides his six-minute ‘Aria’ to open this performance.  The work, composed in 2015 for strings only, is an Aria in the literal sense. The strings give the impression of imaginary voices with a duo of Violin and Viola acting as protagonists in Widmann’s operatic impression.

This performance climax is Sergei Prokofiev’s Cinderella ballet brought to life through selections telling the entire story through music.  It is a journey through one of the Russian composer’s most melodious and sought-after compositions, which has inspired choreographers and artists since its premiere in 1945 at the Bolshoi Theatre.   It calls for a large orchestra to deliver the jubilant themes and magical storyline that awaits the listener.