In conversation this week: Movses Pogossian and David Lockington

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Violinist Movses Pogossian will perform a wide-ranging program of contemporary music influenced by Bach next Tuesday night at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. (Photo courtesy of Movses Pogossian)

Movses Pogossian isn’t simply one of the finest violinists I’ve heard, but he’s also one of the kindest and most gracious people that I know personally.

Earlier this year he released a magisterial reading on New Focus Recordings of Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin. Next Tuesday he’ll inaugurate the next stage in his Bach project by way of an “Inspired by Bach” program at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. The concert will be free to the public.

Composer Andrew McIntosh, whose Sheer for violin and eight tuned wine glasses was commissioned for this concert, spoke to me earlier this week about the qualities of Pogossian’s playing that draw his admiration.

“I first met him in 2007 at a class he gave at CalArts when I was a student there.[…] His playing and approach to music were simply incredible. […] There’s an honesty to it that shines through.”

Warmth and generosity: Qualities that mark the musician as well the character of the man.

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David Lockington in high spirits. (Photo courtesy of the Pasadena Symphony)

Meanwhile this Saturday, the Pasadena Symphony will continue their season with a concert of Rossini, Saint-Saëns, and Mozart under music director David Lockington at the Ambassador Auditorium. They’ll be joined by guest pianist Zhang Zuo, better known as Zee Zee.

A prizewinner in the 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition and former BBC New Generation Artist who counts Leon Fleischer and Alfred Brendel among her teachers, Zee Zee has earned considerable critical and public attention both in her native China and abroad. She’ll be paying the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 on Saturday.

The Pasadena Symphony program concludes with Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony. Lockington made some interesting comments about his personal application of historically-informed performance practice in this work during a phone interview earlier this week.

“All music has to be performed with passion.

Whether with or without vibrato, that passion must be there. I personally find it hard to perform Mozart without vibrato. The singing lines of his music, I’m especially thinking of that beautiful slow movement in the ‘Jupiter,’ needs the warmth imparted by that vibrato.”

You can read more about these artists and my respective articles about them here and here.

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