Friday, January 20, 2006

Janine Jansen with Cleveland Orchestra

Perhaps you were at Music Hall to hear the young Dutch violinist Janine Jansen make her American orchestral debut here in November, with the Cincinnati Symphony and Paavo, playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. If so, just listen to the raves she's getting for her most recent Ohio performances--in Cleveland, with Vladimir Ashkenazy guest conducting:
Believe the hype about Janine Jansen; Amazing violinist gives virtuoso performance in wonderful concert with Cleveland Orchestra
By Elaine Guregian
Akron Beacon-Journal, January 20, 2006

The buzz about Janine Jansen is right. In fact, after hearing this virtuoso on Thursday night, I'd say she deserves even more talk than she's getting.

The young Dutch violinist has the whole package: beautiful tone, perfect intonation, seamless technique and great instincts for phrasing -- well, not just for phrasing.

What was most wonderful about this performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall was Jansen's naturalness. At the work's triumphant end, Jansen broke into a big, delighted grin, as if she had just figured out how to ride a bike.


Guest conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy has spent so much time in Cleveland that he has a deep rapport with the group. It was Ashkenazy who conducted Jansen's London debut with the Philharmonic Orchestra in November 2002, and the two of them connected easily at Severance.

Together with the orchestra, they evoked the sizzle of the Tchaikovsky with a single-minded purpose. There was more than virtuosity here, though. Jansen's playing of the theme in the slow movement made it sound poignantly like an ancient Russian song.

American listeners are just getting to know Jansen. She made her American orchestral debut only in November, with the Cincinnati Symphony and Paavo Jarvi.


She's joining Ashkenazy and the Cleveland Orchestra for an upcoming five-concert tour of Florida and Georgia. The timing is perfect.

Thursday's Severance Hall audience went crazy for Jansen, giving her a well-deserved standing ovation. In fact, something happened that I don't think I've ever seen before: a handful of people not only applauded but also stood up after the first movement of the Tchaikovsky.

Talk about capturing the crowd...

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