Contrary to the misguided and musty reputation often bestowed upon classical music, this art form is very much alive — and in the hands of many talented and creative musicians ushering it forward. That’s why WQXR is kicking off 2019 by introducing “19 for 19,” a group of artists we love that includes long-time heroes, established favorites and newcomers set for stardom. We’re planning all sorts of exciting collaborations across our platforms throughout the year, so stay tuned. Get to know them here, and if you haven’t yet heard what they can do, now’s the time.
Anne Akiko Meyers, violinist
Meyers has been busy on the international professional scene since she was 10 years old. She has a host of honors to her name, but is not one to rest on her laurels. Her 2019 is another year filled with premieres, outreach initiatives and new collaborations. Having given the world premiere in 2015 of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s final work, Fantasia, Meyers resurrects it for its Asian premiere in Japan. In the spring, she heads to London for the launch of The Strad’s new educational conference. On this side of the Atlantic she tours with classical guitarist Jason Vieaux, and joins the Pasadena Symphony for Adam Schoenberg’s Orchard in Fog, written especially for Meyers. Down the road, she’ll play commissions from Arturo Márquez, Michael Daugherty and Julia Adolphe. Catch her live at The Greene Space on January 31, performing music by Arvo Pärt, John Corigliano and John Williams.
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichordist
Throughout his career, Iranian-American Mahan Esfahani has been making a particularly strong case for ushering harpsichord performance practice into the modern era. If you’ve yet to experience his work, allow yourself to be challenged in the best possible way as he encourages you to consider the harpsichord unbound by the straightjacket of history: “Until (it) has the presence that any other mainstream instrument has,” he notes, “my work isn’t done.” Hot on the heels of his acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut last year (in which New Yorker critic Alex Ross singled out his “exuberant, anti-sentimental” playing), in 2019 he crosses the U.S. evangelizing for all that is good about the harpsichord. He has concert dates with the Seattle Symphony, an engagement at Indiana’s Purdue University and a collaboration with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at the 92nd Street Y.
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