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Listen to an Interview with Maria on Texas Public Radio (TPR)

FANFARE Magazine Review of French Fantasy CD

Maria Bachmann’s French Fantasy
by Lynn René Bayley February 2013
DEBUSSY Beau soir (arr. Heifetz). Violin Sonata in g.
FRANCK Violin Sonata in A. SAINT-SAËNS Violin Sonata No. 1 in d • Maria Bachmann (vn); Adam Neiman (pn) • BRIDGE 9394 (68:49)

Violinist Maria Bachmann presents here three of the most famous French violin sonatas along with Jascha Heifetz’s transcription of one of Debussy’s most popular chansons. Robert Maxham raved about her recital disc on Endeavor 1020, The Red Violin, in Fanfare 31:2 (and, in fact, has given good reviews to a number of her discs), and her recording of sonatas by George Rochberg and Beethoven (the “Kreutzer”) on Connoisseur Society 4178, made way back in 1991, was given qualified praise by David K. Nelson in Fanfare 14:4. An indication of how far Bachmann has come in those intervening 16 years may be gleaned from the fact that Nelson described her tone as “sturdy rather than pretty,” while Maxham who also interviewed Bachmann in 30:6, described her tone as of 2007 as firing her recital “with a white-heat intensity that could melt asbestos.” I personally found her tone exceptionally beautiful in places, but nowhere more so than in the Heifetz transcription of Beau soir. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that as soon as she began playing this, what popped into my mind immediately was the exquisite if somewhat eerie vocal quality of Clara Rockmore’s theramin, although I don’t think Rockmore ever recorded this piece. Bachmann achieves exactly the same kind of echt- vocal phrasing and expression that Rockmore did in pieces like Rachmaninoff’s “O cease thy singing, maiden fair,” so close to that of a soprano that one is almost stunned to realize that there are no words and that the performer is playing an instrument, not singing.

Much of the same quality can also be heard in the very opening of the Franck Sonata, yet as the music progresses one hears—as Maxham so aptly put it—an intensity that could melt asbestos. Bachmann uses not only constant vibrato in her playing but a slightly wider vibrato than one is used to hearing nowadays…it’s a sound that one associates with such French musicians of the past as Grumiaux or Neveu. Throughout the Franck sonata, in fact, one is also acutely aware of the splendid contribution of pianist Neiman, whose playing follows Bachmann into every nook and crevice of the score with extraordinary sensitivity and alertness.

The duo carries the same combination of suavity and intensity into their perusals of the Debussy and Saint-Saëns sonatas, indeed making so much of this music that after a while one is only conscious of the sound of the music, and not necessarily the intervention of the performers, which to my mind is the way it should be. The ebb and flow of the music is expertly, I would even say perfectly, judged by the two artists—note, for instance, the exceptionally well-defined “rocking rhythm” in the opening movement of the Saint-Saëns, which Bachmann leads perfectly into the following passages, and which imparts an acute attention to detail within the longer lines of the complete movement as it unfolds. This seems to be typical of her music-making, an expression as much of delight in the structure of the work as much as in its emotional content.

One may also hear how far she has developed her tone from its days of “sturdiness” to its present richer, at times more seductive, quality in the Adagio of the last-named sonata. There is a certain coolness about this music; it is relaxing but in an arresting manner, not exactly seductive, yet Bachmann manages to entice the listener via subtle inflections while maintaining the proper emotive balance. She makes of the last movement an exciting moto perpetuo that absolutely soars, so magically intense it is even in the soft passages. Quite simply, this is an outstanding disc, and one that will captivate you.
- Lynn René Bayley

November 1, 2012- FRENCH FANTASY CD
release on Bridge Records

with Adam Neiman, piano
Debussy: Sonata in G Minor
Debussy: Beau Soir (arr. Heifetz)
Franck: Sonata in A
Saint-Saens: Sonata No 1 in D minor

Music by Glass at Metropolitan Museum
"Ms. Bachmann played Mr. Glass's Sonata for Violin and Piano with the kind of intensity
and ardor normally reserved for Romantic fare, and approach that suited the restless permutations of the outer movements and the limpid central section....deliriously beautiful sound and expressive spirit."
-The New York Times, June 14, 2011

GLASS HEART CD Release, Dec. 2010
on Orange Mountain Music Label

with Jon Klibonoff, piano
Glass Sonata for Violin and Piano (2008) World Premiere Recording
Bach/Gounod Ave Maria on Prelude No 1 in C major
Schubert Sonata in A major, D. 574
Ravel Sonata Op. Posth.

MARIA BACHMANN: GLASS HEART on Orange Mountain Music

Fanfare magazine review excerpts...

"Glass's Sonata in three movements seems to be constructed from the same characteristic, recognizable repetition of melodic and rhythmic cells for which his work has become known. After a short gypsy-like introduction, the first movement builds intensity through successive ostinati. The slow movement allows the violinist to deploy espressive devices native to the instrument such as expressive shifts...a sense of luxurious almost decadent richness....hauntingly romantic. The third movement beings with four note patterns recalling Einstein on the Beach, but the movement heats up quickly, and frequent double stops and octaves enhance the violinistic impression created by the other movements."

" In Schubert's Sonata in A major, Bachmann displays a peacock-like variety of timbre with subtle rhythmic nuances that are idiomatic and consistently interesting...commanding and suggestively lyrical."
" Ravel's Posthumous Sonata is stark and allusive, and Bachmann explores virtually every tonal resource of her instrument and creates a haunting atmosphere."
"Strongly recommended for recorded sound that transmits the subtlety and dynamic range of the performances, for repertoire astutely chosen to illuminate the program's central work, the Sonata by Philip Glass, and for insightful readings of Schubert's and Ravel's Sonatas."
- Fanfare Magazine, April 2011

"This world premiere recording highlights a Romantic urgency I hadn't heard in Glass's music before. The fundamental Romanticism of Glass's piece is underscored by the programming which places his recent duo alongside nineteenth-century staples."
"The warmth and assurance of their playing is such that I would happily listen to them play almost anything, canonical or contemporary, and their commitment to new American music is a boon to composers and audiences alike. "
-www.sequenza21.com, December 2010

Corigliano Festival ends in style, drawing large crowd to
Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park

"Maria Bachmann proved a most persuasive advocate of "The Red Violin", her sterling technique handling all the myriad technical landmines, and bringing refined expression
to the lyrical passages."
-Chicago Classical Review, May 31, 2010

World Premiere of Paul Moravec VIOLIN CONCERTO (2010)
Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA

"...near boundless expressive freedom...violinist Maria Bachmann projected the music's emotionalism, and dazzlingly attenuated the final movement in a mounting cauldron of rhythm."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 25, 2010

Trio Solisti in Performance at The Kennedy Center
"...a splashy and exciting crowd pleaser....The Trio Solisti performance was characterized by passion, lyricism, transparency and, in the finale, and sense of triumph."
- The Washington Post, December 5, 2009

NEW YORK CONCERTS- The Strad Magazine
'Vivaldi's Big Band' was the title of a mostly Vivaldi programme performed at Zankel Hall by The Little Orchestra Society and conductor Dino Anagnost (16 June). Maria Bachmann was the principal soloist, performing in the solo concertos in D minor RV 242 and in C major RV 172, before joining oboists Randall Ellis and James Roe and horn players David Wakefield and Lawrence DeBello for the Concerto in F major RV 569. Bachmann produced tone that was both suave and incisive from her 1782 Nicolo Gagliano violin. The animation and impulse of her playing brought out as much distinction from the concertos as they possessed."
- Strad Magazine, September 2009

Music Review/The Little Orchestra Society
Maria Bachmann performs Vivaldi Concertos
Zankel Hall, New York

by Vivien Schweitzer

excerpt from review:
"the Concerto for Violin in D minor (RV242), given a spirited performance here by the violinist Maria Bachmann, who played the fast outer movements with flair and the slow section with soulful ardor. The conductor Dino Anagnost described Vivaldi's Concerto in C (RV172) as an "exhibitionist concerto." Ms. Bachmann energetically plunged into its virtuosic opening movement and offered an expressively phrased, full-blooded interpretation of the melancholic Largo."
-The New York Times, June 19, 2009

May 29, 2009
Performance Today nationally broadcasts the World Premiere of Philip Glass's Sonata for Violin and Piano written for violinist Maria Bachmann.
To listen online or to find out where and when Performance Today is broadcast
in your area, visit: www.performancetoday.org
The show is available online for 7 days after broadcast on May 29th-American Public Media’s
Performance Today is broadcast on 250 public radio stations across the country.

Listen to Maria & Trio Solisti perform LIVE on WQXR/FM, the largest
classical radio station in the US, on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 from 4:30-5PM (EST).

www.wqxr.com or 96.3FM in New York listening area

Trio Solisti plays selections from their new CAFE MUSIC cd, and a portion of the Philip Glass Sonata for violin and piano (2008). Interviews about the new cd, and upcoming concert on April 24, 2009 at Judson Church in New York, NY.
(concert at 8PM at 55 Washington Square South)

"Trio Solisti- the most exciting piano trio in America"

-The New Yorker Magazine, April 27, 2009

World Premiere Performance of
Philip Glass Sonata for Violin and Piano (2008)

Whitaker Center for Performing Arts, Harrisburg, PA

"The texture might remind you of Mozart, but there were times that were pure Schubert...a sense of forward motion, building tension very subtly without going to the extremes...stunning."

To view video of Bachmann's live performance on WITF radio of the beautiful slow movement of Philip Glass's Sonata for Violin and Piano (2008), go to:

Bachmann and Klibonoff play standards with style in Newtown
Danbury News Times, April 9, 2009

Maria Bachmann's recital on Sunday at Newtown's Edmund Town Hall stuck to the standard repertoire, and whatever the music, she plays with a distinctive personality that lets you know that she has thought about it and wishes to put her own stamp on it. Bachmann and her collaborator, pianist Jon Klibonoff, played Schubert, Brahms and Ravel with passion and style, breathing life into familar works and showing why they have survived as standards.

Brahms' Sonatensatz worked well as a curtain-raiser, with its fiery nature and propulsive rhythms. Bachmann applied a lean sinewy tone and played the scherzo's middle section with finely contrasting delicacy. The trio section had the character of cafe music which suited it nicely.

That mood was evident in Schubert's Sonata in A major, D.574 as well. The violinist played with full, vibrato-tinged tone and shaped phrases wth great style. The pianist introduced the dotted rhythm that pervades so much of the movement with an understated gentleness. Both played with rhythmic freedom that brought out the expressiveness of the music. The second movement Scherzo was assertive and outgoing. The slow movement had somewhat the character of a minuet, with nicely shaped phrases and rhythmic impulse. The finale showed fine ensemble feeling and broad dynamic range.

Ravel's Sonata in G started with a delicately voiced piano figure and finely spun-out violin line. Bachmann's virtousity ranged from tightly fingered trills to expansive, glowing melody.
The contrast of the two instruments' characteristic qualities, lyricism vs. percussiveness, was made evident. The first movement had a sustained controlled ending that died out affectingly. The second movement is Ravel's tribute to the American musical form that impressed him the most, the blues. The sinuous violin line with its bluesy inflections and bent notes was full of character, and Klibonoff played with fine rythmic kick. The "perpetuum mobile" of the last movement was fast and furious but always in control.

After intermission it was back to Brahms, his Sonata No. 3 in D minor. The duo's robust approach brought out the work's romantic soul, with a big sound and soulful ritards. The slow movement's singing line was etched with effectively applied portamento. The middle section's sustained line seemed almost to stop before it made it's way back to the opening.
The scherzo got a light touch from both players, which blossomed into a big sound when called for. Rhythmic accents were sharp and varied and the few bars where the main theme turns to a major key worked their usual magic.

The final Presto was full of drama and expressiveness, closing the program with power and style.

Bachmann and Klibonoff Offered the Finale to a Splendid Season of Concerts
Newtown Bee, April 10, 2009

Last Sunday afternoon Newtown Friends of Music brought its 31st season to a stunning close with a concert featuring violinist Maria Bachmann and pianist Jon Klibonoff.
The concert began with a short work by Brahms, the Sonatensatz (Scherzo) in C minor. The Scherzo opens with high drama and passion in both instruments, propelled by the piano's hard-driving chords. Both players met the Scherzo's demands for strength and sweetness, speed and lyricism.

Next on the program was Schubert's Sonata in A major, D. 574, a work from his early maturity. To sound effortlessly and naturally beautiful takes all the art one can muster, and that level of artistry, so great that it is transparent, invisible, is what Bachmann and Klibonoff brought to this Sonata.

A very different piece followed, Ravel's Sonata in G major. The last movement, Perpetuum mobile, incorporates interesting time changes and syncopations, and of course is played at break neck speed. This sonata is physically demanding, but it also asks for delicacy, the wizardry that can make a note tremble in the air and then dissipate, and above all, the ability to produce the full spectrum of each instrument's color.

After intermission, Bachmann and Klibonoff returned to the stage to play Brahms Sonata No. 3 in D minor, a work of great drama, intensity, and beauty. The second movement, Adagio, is a song without words that is very beautiful and is full of pathos. The last movement, Presto agitato, calls for even more passion and intensity, and is the most virtuosic part of the sonata. This fast and furious movement lead to a thundering conclusion. There was a moment of silence, and then a quiet "Wow" escaped from the corner of the auditorium. There was no other way to put it. All we listeners could do was applaud furiously, and hope that Maria Bachmann and Jon Klibonoff would return soon, whether as soloists, duo, or as two-thirds of the Trio Solisti.

The New York Times, June 6, 2008
Maria Bachmann performs Vivaldi Concertos at Zankel Hall, New York
By Vivien Schweitzer

excerpt from review:
He was also inspired by the brilliant violinist Anna Maria Della Pietà, whose gifts stirred an anonymous poet to write that when she played, “countless angels dare to hover near.” Vivaldi noticed her talent when she was a child and eventually wrote several dozen of his approximately 500 concertos for her. They include the Violin Concerto in D minor (RV 248) and the Concerto in B flat (RV 363, “Il Corneto da Posta”), both performed here with virtuoso flair and striking energy by the fiery violinist Maria Bachmann.

Violinist Maria Bachmann Expresses Exquisite Intensity
St. Petersburg Times
August 18, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Maria Bachmann looks perfectly normal, a pretty blond in a blue dress, but something happens when she plays her violin. Bachmann's recital Sunday afternoon at the Marly Room of the Museum of Fine Arts was a study in contrasts between her mild, almost wistful demeanor and the ferocity of her music. It was like she was undergoing some tempestuous, intensely personal experience — in the Enescu Sonata No. 3 in particular — and the only way she could express it was through her violin playing.

Bachmann, with the excellent pianist Natalie Zhu, got the program off to a stylish start with Ravel's one-movement Sonata, completed in 1897 but not discovered until 1975, long after the composer's death. The shimmering tone colors of the piano were instantly recognizable as Ravel, and Bachmann sounded like the rightful heir to another great musical Frenchman, Stephane Grappelli, with her elegant jazz fiddle playing.

Before Bachmann plunged into a wild and woolly Chaconne transcribed from John Corigliano's Oscar-winning score to The Red Violin, she gave the audience a little plot synopsis of the movie. It's about a 17th- century violin maker who mixes the blood of his beloved late wife into the varnish of an instrument that takes on a hauntingly beautiful sound down through the centuries. "I can guarantee you that no violin maker ever puts blood in the varnish,'' said Bachmann, whose 1782 Gagliano violin produces a big, gorgeous sound of its own.

The Corigliano was full of emotional turbulence, building from languid violin phrasing over brooding piano chords to Bachmann's incredibly rapid passagework. In the end, this strenuous tour de force came crashing down to an abrupt halt that left me stunned.
With her dramatic style, Bachmann more than holds her own against Joshua Bell, who played the violin solo for the movie and recorded the Red Violin Concerto, whose first movement is the Chaconne. She recorded the Chaconne on her 2007 CD The Red Violin for Endeavour Classics and has the concerto in her repertoire.

Enescu was Romania's most important 20th-century composer as well as a brilliant violinist, and his Third Sonata casts quite a spell, reminiscent of a Paganini showpiece with its fearsome demands. Zhu laid down the foundation of a simple, repetitive pattern in the piano, while Bachmann launched into all sorts of pyrotechnics, from keening sweetness to high, squealing licks to gypsy dance rhythms to jagged pizzicato. The frantic finish was positively orgasmic.

The second half of the program was taken up with what Bachmann called the "real meat and potatoes,'' the Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3. She and Zhu performed it with poise and assurance, especially the second movement, an exquisite Adagio, creating an atmosphere of sublime warmth that was soon to be shattered by one last virtuosic outburst in the passionate finale.

Philip Glass appears on final concert of Telluride MusicFest

Telluride Daily Planet, Telluride, CO June 12, 2008


excerpted from article:

Maria Bachmann and (Wendy) Sutter are featured in Kodaly's Duo for Violin and Cello.
According to the superstar, watching Bachmann and Sutter perform this piece
together - any piece really - is worth the price of entry.
"Both women are exceptional musicians in large part because they received
exceptional training as students at Curtis," said Glass. "The tradition of
great string players like that of great dancers and vocalists is almost
always passed down from master to student. I myself was fortunate to have
studied with Nadia Boulanger in her home in Paris many years ago. In the
so-called 'ear-whispered' traditions, this is the only way."

"...it is obvious that she (Maria Bachmann) is a supremely gifted player. The fact she is Hungarian performing the music of a countryman will add something special to the Kodaly. You will hear what I am talking about in the richness of her phrasing and the depth of
her melodic line."
Glass is so convinced of Bachmann and Sutter's special gifts he is about to
begin work on what could become the definitive string duo of the 21st
century for them to perform. Before the close of the evening, Glass plans to
perform several of his piano solos. He is also accompanying Bachmann in his
duet for violin and piano entitled "The Orchard."


  • NPR Music: CLASSICAL GOLD: WGBH Top Ten CDs of 2007
    Dec. 18, 2007
    Maria Bachmann: Red Violin
    "Maria Bachmann has always been interested in that elusive balance between intellectually challenging, well-crafted compositions and music of popular appeal.
    This collaboration with Jon Klibonoff strikes that balance perfectly, with electric performances of a mostly American program that ranges from the familiar, like pieces from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, to addictive contemporary music by Paul Moravec and John Corigliano."
    to read the full story, go to:

  • BBC Music Magazine Selects RED VIOLIN cd
    NORTH AMERICAN CD of the MONTH May 2007
    "This programme demands interpretive and dynamic flexibility of exceptional sensitivity and Maria Bachmann proves more than equal to the task with a range of tonal shadings and exquisite bow- work that ensures these coruscating scores tingle with life and energy...thrilling abandon that never compromises absolute technical command."
    ***** Performance***** Sound
    (read full review below)
  • GRAMAPHONE Magazine Reviews RED VIOLIN cd
    Oct. 2007

    " Innovative programming and exuberant playing.....a confident performer and thoughtful artist, Bachmann explodes into (Ariel Fantasy) with vibrant bowstrokes ....she has an affinity for the spicy, fast-paced and bluesy elements in music...equally profound and sultry."
    (read full review below)
  • FANFARE Magazine Reviews RED VIOLIN cd
    July/August 2007

    "Bachmann and Klibonoff play with electrifying energy and crisp articulation. The duo achieves a tour-de-force in the Ravel Sonata Blues Movement....even the listener works up a sweat. In Corigliano's Red Violin Chaconne, Bachmann favors its enraptured darker side...she brings the piece to an overpowering conclusion."
    (read full review below)
  • "About Last Night" Nov. 28, 2007
    CD Review : Trio Solisti "Pictures at an Exhibition"
    "...an ingenious arrangement of Mussorgsky's masterpiece by the
    members of the trio...and a flawless performance of Ravel's luscious
    A Minor Piano Trio by the group that to my mind has now succeeded
    the Beaux Arts Trio as the outstanding chamber-music ensemble
    of its kind."
    -Terry Teachout
    Critic, The Wall Street Journal
  • GRAMAPHONE Review: Trio Solisti "Pictures at an Exhibition"
    "Trio Solisti's arrangement skillfully recasts Mussorgsky's musical gallery . . . fine characterful performances . . . well worth hearing. Tuileries is graceful and witty,
    with Maria Bachmann’s clever solo violin evoking a nice fin de siècle Parisian flavour...
    a lively market at Limoges...an atmospheric Catacombs, with evocative piano work
    by Klibonoff...rounded off with a resounding Great Gate of Kiev.”
    -GRAMAPHONE Magazine Feb. 2008
  • FANFARE Review: Trio Solisti "Pictures at an Exhibition"
    “The performance (Mussorgsky) is impressive, especially the multi-hued work from the string-players."
    On the RAVEL Trio:
    " ...surging sensuality... dramatic contrasts...the second movement is astonishing in its sparkling clarity...the hints of jazz in the second movement are wittily exploited here, too...in all four movements the ensemble is superb... an ardent performance and a welcome addition to the catalog, worthy to stand among the best recordings of the work."
    -FANFARE MAGAZINE March 2008
  • In February 2007, Maria's recital CD "The RED VIOLIN" was released on Endeavour Classics/Allegro. Recorded with pianist Jon Klibonoff, the CD includes John Corigliano’s Chaconne from The Red Violin in a new transcription for violin and piano, World Premier recordings of 3 works by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Paul Moravec: Ariel Fantasy, Evermore, and Double Action- all written for Maria, Ravel's Sonata in G major, Copland's Ukelele Serenade and Nocturne, and Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So, There's a Boat Dat's Leavin Soon for New York, and My One & Only/Rialto Ripples Rag.
  • In March 2007, Trio Solisti’s CD “TEMPEST FANTASY” was released on NAXOS. The CD is all music of Paul Moravec including his 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning work Tempest Fantasy written for Trio Solisti and clarinetist David Krakauer. Also on the CD are works for piano trio which Moravec composed for Trio Solisti including
    Mood Swings, Bass Variations, and Scherzo.
  • In October 2007, Trio Solisti's CD "PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION" was released on Endeavour Classics/Allegro. The CD includes Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition arranged for piano trio by Trio Solisti, and Ravel's masterful Trio in A minor.

    On Radio
  • Maria Bachmann on July 4th's Performance Today (7/4/07)
    This broadcast of Performance Today includes live performances by Maria Bachmann and Jon Klibonoff from their recital at New York's Merkin Hall on April 25, 2007.
    The works heard on the broadcast are Evermore and Double Action by Paul Moravec.

    American Public Media's Performance Today is heard by over 1.4 million listeners each week on 250 member radio stations around the country. The program is available for on-demand listening on their website, www.performancetoday.org, for seven days from the date of broadcast.

Concert News

Recital Performances:
Maria recently performed recitals at Merkin Hall in New York on April 25, 2007 and at The St. Louis Museum of Art on May 4, 2007. The recital programs celebrated the release of Maria's “The Red Violin” CD with music from the recording as well as Enescu’s Sonata No 3.

Upcoming "Red Violin" CD recitals:
4/25/07 Merkin Hall, New York, NY
5/4/07 St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO
9/28/07 Jordan Hall, Boston, MA (listed in Boston Globe FALL PREVIEW)
11/30/07 The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
12/1/07 The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
3/23/08 Bing Theater, "Sundays LIVE at LACMA", Los Angeles, CA
8/8/08 Mt Gretna, PA
8/17/08 St. Petersburg, FL Museum of Fine Arts
2/28/09 Harrisburg, PA Market Square Concerts

In 2007-08 season, Maria performs at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center (April 12, 2008) in the World Premiere performance of the Violin Concerto by Jay Reise with Orchestra 2001, as well as performances of John Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto with the Wakesha Symphony in Wisconsin (Feb 24 and Feb 26,2008). And on June 3rd, 2008, Maria performs Vivaldi Violin Concertos at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City with the Little Orchestra Society.

In summer 2008, Maria performs with Trio Solisti at several festivals including The Caramoor Festival, The Moab Festival in Utah, Maverick Concerts and Cooperstown Festivals in New York, The Chappaquidick Festival in Martha's Vineyard, MA, The Grand Canyon Festival in Arizona, and at Telluride MusicFest in Telluride, CO where Maria is the Artistic Director. Trio Solisti is the founding ensemble of Telluride MusicFest which celebrates it's 6th Anniversary in summer 2008.

Recent Reviews

BBC Music Magazine

Maria Bachmann: The Red Violin
BRILLIANT BACHMANN - Julian Haylock applauds an exceptional virtuoso recital
First a word of praise for the recording, magnificently engineered by Adam Abeshouse.
Not only are both instruments captured with tangible fidelity (it feels as though you could reach out and touch the artists), they are accorded such presence and weight that the illusion is created of them actually playing in your listening room. All of which would go for nothing, of course, if the performances weren't of such incredibly high caliber.

This programme demands interpretive and dynamic flexibility of exceptional sensitivity and Maria Bachmann proves more than equal to the task with a range of tonal shadings and exquisite bow-work that ensures these coruscating scores tingle with life and energy. She throws herself into the engaging rhythmic propulsions of Moravec's Ariel Fantasy and Double Action with thrilling abandon that never compromises absolute technical command.
Copland's wonderfully balmy Ukelele Serenade is delivered with thrilling immediacy, and the Gershwin numbers are swung with infectious good humour. The central Blues of the Ravel Sonata is deliciously earthly, and Corigliano's Red Violin Chaconne sounds suitably ominous and ethereal by turns. Exemplary accompaniments from Jon Klibonoff round out a truly exceptional disc.

GRAMAPHONE Magazine - October 2007
Innovative programming and exhuberant playing from trio players going solo

This is not the way one might expect a solo disc to open. Maria Bachmann begins by
plucking her violin in an almost subservient manner to vigorous piano passages of Paul Moravec's Ariel Fantasy. But she is a confident performer and thoughtful artist: programming takes an equal seat to showcasing her technical talents.

Bachmann in better known as the violinist of Trio Solisti, who paired with Moravec in his Pulitzer Prize-winning Tempest Fantasy. The piece that inspired that work is Ariel Fantasy, which Bachmann explodes into with vibrant bow strokes when the arco marking arrives. Her partner throughout is the pianist of the trio, Jon Klibonoff, and the chemistry is obvious. After Moravec's equally energetic Double Action, Bachmann offers a gorgeous, romantic piece, Evermore, which Moravec wrote for her wedding.

Bachmann finds common aesthetic ground with Copland's French period in the silly "Ukelele Serenade" and "Nocturne." She has an affinity for the spicy, fast-paced and bluesy elements in music, and that also serves her well in a trio of Gershwin song arrangements and the middle movement of Ravel's blues-tinged Sonata. Klibonoff brilliantly handles the reduction of Corigliano's Red Violin Chaconne and Bachmann's violin assumes a heaviness that is equally profound and sultry. She is an accurate violinist, to be sure, but with subtle glissandi and burning vibratos, she mines the emotional core of this work.
-Andrew Druckenbrod

FANFARE Magazine July/ August 2007
Maria Bachmann: The Red Violin

According to Lucy Miller’s booklet notes, Paul Moravec transcribed his Ariel Fantasy for Maria Bachmann (who gave it its premiere in 2001). This kinetic piece, which lasts less than four minutes, may be constructed from shards hurled by a whirlwind, but its' strong tonal sense and good humor guarantee immediate accessibility. Double Action (the title suggests a revolver), which Bachmann introduced in 2006, remains more or less close to a center of tonality, but offers the soloists more aggressively jagged elements to juggle.

The booklet notes identify the lyrical Evermore as a wedding present from the composer to Bachmann and her husband, Josh Aronson. Bachmann and Klibonoff play the first two of these works with electrifying energy and crisp articulation; Bachmann, in particular, plays the lush melody of Evermore with a chasteness that doesn’t allow it to degenerate into maudlin sentimentality. The duo communicates both the humor and the jazzy tang of Copland’s Ukulele Serenade. And their hushed, moody reading of the composer’s Nocturne evokes a cognate sultry universe light years removed from the brash, addictive off-beat rhythmic repetitions of his popular ballet scores. John Corigliano’s complete award-winning score to The Red Violin developed from the same materials as did the earlier Chaconne, which Bachmann and Klibonoff have included

In their program (he later worked the same materials into a full-blown violin concerto), Bachmann’s treatment of this material favors its enraptured darker side (Joshua Bell sounded generally brighter and more silvery), and both she and Klibonoff preserve this haunting atmosphere even through its most ethereally soaring episodes. She draws from her Nicolo Gagliano all the tonal resources the demanding work requires, and she’s matched in her sensitivity to the musical textures by her resourceful collaborator, with whom she brings the piece to an overpowering conclusion.

Not every violinist –or duo- possesses the almost fey sensibility to enter fully into the opening Allegretto of Ravel’s Violin Sonata. Szigeti did (even at a time when his technique no longer served him), and so did Dong Suk Kang (on Naxos 8.550276) and Viktoria Mullova (both live and on Onyx 4015); Grumiaux, for example, didn’t. Bachmann and Klibonoff get it just right, adding a personal touch such as a slight ritardando here and there to sign the reading as their own. If this movement be taken such as a test of stylistic adaptability, then Bachmann and Klibonoff go to the heads of their respective classes – “respective” because the Sonata in general notoriously pits the instruments against each other in a sort of dynamic synthesis. It’s no surprise, after hearing their slinky version of Copland’s Ukelele Serenade, that the duo achieves a sort of tour de force in the Sonata’s Blues movement. Compared to Szigeti’s benchmark, they’re even cheekier and more abandoned in the terrifying pizzicatos near the movement’s end (the actual end comes with much slower portamento that may seem to some listeners just a bit over the top). Klibonoff’s quicksilver virtuosity adds especially bright highlights to the finale, which sweeps the listener along, as it should, to its conclusion. In this reading, as in Szigeti’s, even the listener works up a sweat. In short, Bachmann and Klibonoff have collaborated in one of the best performances of the work I’ve heard.

The notes relate that Bachmann has built on Heifetz’s performances of Gershwin. She‘s preserved all his archness but replaced his drier intensity in Ain’t Necessarily So with a sort of steaminess of which he might not have been temperamentally capable. My One and Only begins with a sly reference to the opening of Rhapsody in Blue, and Klibonoff has combined the piece with the Rialto Ripples Rag. If Bachmann and Klibonoff’s recital seems from the headnote to be an academic exercise lacking the appeal of the old fashioned concert of “favorites,” they nevertheless demonstrate just how much fun their chosen repertoire can be. Generally recommended, therefore, for the repertoire, the performances, and the clean but lively recorded sound to audiences of all kinds – I defy anyone to dislike it.
-Robert Maxham


April 15, 2006 The Omaha World Herald
Maria Bachmann, violin with The Omaha Symphony Orchestra
Holland Performing Arts Center
Corigliano Red Violin Concerto

Before the music even began Friday night at the Holland Performing Arts Center, and audience of 1400 people greeted conductor Victor Yampolsky with a standing ovation. Yampolsky’s well known gift for accompanying soloists was apparent during a performance of John Corlgliano’s Concert for Violin and Orchestra. “The Red Violin.” The piece, which featured guest violinist Maria Bachmann, is taken from the score of Francois Girard’s 1999 film. The solo violin part, which Bachmann nailed, is sort of a live demonstration of everything and anything the violin can do.

- Asheley Hassebroek


The Washington Post April 24, 2006
Trio Solisti at Wolf Trap

Opening a concert with a work as monumental and all-consuming as Brahms's Piano Trio, Op. 87, is risk-taking in the extreme. Playing at the Barns at Wolf Trap on Friday, the Trio Solisti (violin, cello and piano) dove into this music's unrelenting passion not only without mishaps but with zealous abandon, poignantly attending to the work's restless dissonances with a knowing grasp of its tightly interwoven counterpoint. At times, zeal gave way to tender lyricism in a transcendent performance.

While traces of central European melodiousness occasionally crop up in the Brahms, they are at the heart of the next work -- Bartok's "Contrasts" for violin, clarinet and piano -- the clarinet part having once been played by Benny Goodman. Offering every possible timbre and more on his clarinet, David Krakauer, who joined violinist Maria Bachmann, cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach and pianist Jon Klibonoff for this piece, pitted Bartok's cleverly urban street sounds against Bachmann's brilliant fiddling style of the onetime Transylvanian countryside, the violin strings unconventionally tuned.

Paul Moravec's "Tempest Fantasy," honored with a Pulitzer Prize in 2004, was the evening's centerpiece. Joined again by Krakauer (sometimes on bass clarinet), the trio lent emotional resonance and rhythmic inevitability to Moravec's torrents of notes.

-Cecelia Porter


Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall February 23, 2005

Maria Bachmann has a significant amount of recordings to her credit. Unlike most recording artists, she can actually simulate the perfection of a recording in an inspired live performance. Her playing was absolutely flawless: consistent note accuracy with incredible intonation, and no rough edges to her round sound; she is one of the finest recitalists and chamber musicians today. Jon Klibonoff is superb; together, they are a natural force. Their rendition of the Debussy Sonata was playful and spontaneous yet all the while beautifully polished. Moreover, all leaps and flourishes were a natural part of the music and never just an exhibition of showmanship.

Following the Debussy, Bachmann and Klibonoff performed a quintessential Brahms Sonata No. 1: classical restraint, with numerous subtleties within proportionate phrasing and a beautifully warm sound. The character was appropriately pastoral and tender even melancholy, but also a little passionate when it needed to be. The ensemble between the two was perfect in every way lovely blend, thoughtful balance, and perfectly synchronized juxtaposition of rhythmic intricacies. Clearly, their performance wasn’t just well rehearsed; you could see that they have regularly played together and can sense one another’s musical instincts.

Their performance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec’s fabulous, melodically and rhythmically catchy violin sonata was so convincingly performed that it almost sounded like it could become as standard to the repertory as the Brahms. All details of rhythm and counterpoint in the work were performed meticulously and spontaneously at the same time. Their zesty rendition was infectious, and the audience loved the work. Bachmann and Klibonoff have chosen an innovative, yet audience-friendly composer to champion.

There were built-in encores after the Moravec: Copland’s hilarious Ukulele Serenade and Gershwin’s Rialto Ripples, along with two selections from his Porgy and Bess. A decorative, yet loyal arrangement of Summertime brought this unforgettable concert to a heart-warming conclusion.
-Anthony Aibel


Mancini Institute Honors Film Music Diversity

A near-capacity crowd of 1,700 attended The Henry Mancini Institute's second annual Tribute to American Film Music on Saturday, August 2, at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA in Westwood, California.

It was as eclectic a program as one could imagine, with Randy Newman sitting next to John Corigliano – both figuratively, on the program page, and literally, backstage – and a healthy dose of both Golden Age pieces as well as movie music by such contemporary greats as John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith.

Corigliano was on hand to introduce his "Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra" from his Oscar-winning music for The Red Violin (1999). He explained how the piece came about: Sony Classical had scheduled a performance of a concert work based on the score even though Corigliano had only written the pre-production music (not the dramatic underscore) at the time, and that when given only two weeks to write the underscore, he based it largely on the "Chaconne" material. With Karla Lemon conducting, and Maria Bachmann as violin soloist, the 17-minute "Chaconne" was a high point, drawing the first of the evening's two standing ovations.

- Jon Burlingame