RHEINGAU, Germany – Among the many special cultural events held in Germany during the summer, the Rheingau Music Festival is perhaps the most famous, not only for its location in the magnificent castles and basilicas of the Rhine valley, but also for the world class performers it invites. Among them this year is the 22-year-old exceptional violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian.
For HR2Kultur, the regional Hesse cultural radio, “He makes the violin glow,“ and is “one of the highlights of the Rheingau Music festival so far.“ That was on July 19, the day after his concert in the Johannisberg Castle, where he was joined on the piano by Maximilian Kromer. At the conclusion of the performance, he was formally presented the LOTTO prize by the festival’s artistic director Michael Hermann. The LOTTO prize, which includes €15,000, is awarded annually to an extraordinary young talent who has performed at the festival. Tjeknavorian won it for a concert in 2016. The jury selected him for his “brilliant technique and his incredible sense of interpretative subtleties“ and noted that “so much naturalness, sympathetic charisma and pleasant modesty coupled with a great virtuosity are rarely experienced with a great musician.“
The works selected for this year’s concert, as Tjeknavorian described in the brochure, all express the spirit of friendship, the motto of the festival. The three romances by Clara Schumann were composed and dedicated in friendship to Joseph Joachim, and the FAE Sonata “was a present from his closest friends Johannes Brahms, Albert Dietrich and Robert Schumann.“ It was Joachim who arranged the Hungarian dances by Brahms for violin and piano. The second part of the program featured Eugene Ysaye, with a sonata he composed for violin solo, and a sonata he received as a wedding present from Cesar Franck. “Last but not least,“ he concluded, “my close friendship to my longstanding duo partner Maximilian Kromer is of special significance on this extraordinary concert evening.“
A Rising Star in Europe
The young violinist has already performed in the most renowned concert halls in Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic, where he appeared with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, in a series called Debüt im Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the same series where Daniel Barenboim, Jessaye Norman and Simon Rattle had made their debuts before him. He performed the Sibelius violin concerto. He also appeared in the spectacular new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie in January of this year, as well as in Cologne and Dortmund. In Vienna’s Konzerthaus in April, he stepped in for David Garrett, who was ill.
The Beare’s International Violin Society, a private foundation, made a Stradivari available to him two years ago and he has been performing on this historic instrument since then. In a television interview at the beginning of August, he said, “The thought fascinated me: this violin was built in 1698, when Mozart had not composed anything, Beethoven had not yet thought about his violin concerto and the architects had not conceived the Elbphilharmonie, and yet I pick up my violin and enter such a huge concert hall and it sounds.“