Masterclass: Tchaikovsky Souvenir d’un lieu cher


Violinist Jennifer Koh explores how imagination and a flexible technique can help to bring out varied colours and a feeling of dance in these three short works

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There are some pieces that stay with you for life, and others that you probably never want to play again. I have always had the softest place in my heart for Tchaikovsky, and I’ve felt connected to his music since I was a child. I learnt all of his violin pieces before I was 15 and, of course, when I was 18 I was the top medallist in the 1994 Tchaikovsky Competition, which was an important moment in my life. It was there, in the final round, that I met conductor Alexander Vedernikov, and it was with him that I recorded Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin and orchestra – including Glazunov’s orchestrated version of Souvenir d’un lieu cher – twenty years later. There was something beautiful about returning to Tchaikovsky with him after so much time, as a way to mark our musical journey together. He passed away last year, from Covid-19…

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