The Winston-Salem Symphony presents Classics Concert Series Sibelius’ Violin Concerto

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2020

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Featuring Guest Violinist Rachel Barton Pine

WINSTON-SALEM — The Winston-Salem Symphony is presenting a Classic Series concert cycle entitled “Sibelius’ Violin Concerto” on Sunday, March 8 and Tuesday, March 10. Timothy Redmond, the symphony’s new music director, will take the podium for this concert series, which will feature dynamic as well as technically and artistically brilliant violinist Rachel Barton Pine.

It was Jean Sibelius’ “dearest wish” and “overriding ambition” to become an esteemed violin star — instead, he ultimately composed one of the most treasured pieces in the violin repertoire. Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, op. 47, which will be performed by the masterful Rachel Barton Pine, balances substance with pyrotechnics. Bookending the program are two Czech treasures: Bedřich Smetana’s Vltava (The Moldau) winds its way through Prague while Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6 in D Major, op. 60, B. 112 looks southward to Vienna.

“This concert is the perfect way to herald the end of winter,” said Tim Redmond. “Audience members will feel their spirits lightened and lifted by these magical pieces, from Smetana’s lively and lyrical Vltava to Dvořák’s magnificent and delightful Symphony No. 6. Sibelius’ Violin Concerto is a towering masterpiece replete with both fireworks and achingly beautiful passages. The opportunity to hear Rachel Barton Pine, known for her stunning technique and emotional depth, perform this piece is an opportunity not to be missed.”

“Sibelius’s Violin Concerto is definitely one of the most beloved of all violin concertos, and for good reason,” said Rachel Barton Pine. “It’s really beautiful and exciting. It’s an especially good piece of music for people who might not be quite as familiar with classical music. It’s easily accessible, but also highly dramatic. It grabs you in a way that makes you excited to listen to it. The last movement has a rhythmic drive and the first movement is extremely powerful. It has a very unique personality. Sibelius was an artist who wasn’t all that good as a violinist. He was one of the world’s great composers, but I think he had a little bit of angst about the fact he couldn’t play on the violin himself what he was envisioning it to sound like. You can almost feel that in the concerto. There’s a sense of struggle and perhaps even an admission ‘I can’t do this, so let’s see you guys try.’ He was from Finland and in the opening, you hear and almost see the icy winter landscapes and imagine the snow-covered fir trees way up north there. It’s such a powerful piece and it’s been a favorite of mine since I first learned it when I was 13.”

The concerts will take place on Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m. and Tuesday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 405 West Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets begin at $24 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online at

This concert and the Winston-Salem Symphony are sponsored by Season Presenting Sponsors Bell, Davis, & Pitt, P.A. and BB&T; Guest Artist Sponsor Salemtowne, Redmond’s Inaugural Season Sponsor Betty Myers Howell; Symphony Unbound Sponsors Chris & Mike Morykwas; Classics Media Sponsors 89.9 FM WDAV Classical Public Radio; as well as the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the North Carolina Arts Council.