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"Mikhail Simonyan . . . played with the poise, perfection and inner burning fire of a master like David Oistrakh in his prime on a good night." - Miami Herald

Mikhail Simonyan, violin & Alexandre Moutouzkine, piano

October 9, 2012, 8pm

Cabell Hall Auditorium, University of Virginia

Principal Underwriter:  Anonymous

Children's Concert Underwriter:  BAMA Works Fund of the Dave Matthews Band in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation


Bach Violin Sonata No. 4 in c minor, BWV 1017
Arutiunian Sonata
Tartini Devil's Trill Sonata
Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata
Szymanowski Nocturne & Tarantella


Still in his twenties, Mikhail Simonyan is already recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of his generation. The New York Times has praised his, "breadth, lyricism and fleet technique," and reported that "Mr. Simonyan play[s] as if every note counted." The Miami Herald has declared, "Mikhail Simonyan . . . played with the poise, perfection and inner burning fire of a master like David Oistrakh in his prime on a good night."

Mr. Simonyan, who hails from Novosibirsk (the same city that Vadim Repin and Maxim Vengerov call home), began to study the violin at the age of five. As part of the first generation of artists to forge careers in an era with substantially decreased government support, he has blazed a trail for young musicians in Russia. In 1999, at 13, Mr. Simonyan made his acclaimed New York debut at Lincoln Center with the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (ARYO) and his debut in St. Petersburg, Russia at the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre in ARYO's joint concert with the Mariinsky Youth Orchestra, performing Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (which he learned specifically for the occasion).

Mr. Simonyan has earned first prize awards at the All-Russia Competition in Saint Petersburg, the Siberian Violin Competition, the National Prize Prizvanie in Moscow, and the Salon de Virtuosi in New York. He is a winner of the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation Award, and received the 2000 Virtuoso of the Year award in Saint Petersburg. In 2003, the National Academy of Achievement selected him for an award in the Performing Arts. In 2005, he received the highest level of recognition when President Putin received him at the Kremlin, in acknowledgment of his status as one of Russia's most promising young musicians. In 2008, he won the Young Artist Award from the Classical Recording Foundation.

Recent highlights for Mr. Simonyan include his debut with the New Jersey Symphony led by Kristjan Järvi; a recital during the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Musikfestival in Germany as part of the "Junge Elite" concert series; appearances with the Seoul Philharmonic, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra at the Musikverein, and the Vancouver Symphony; and recitals in the United States and Russia. In the spring of 2009, he toured with the National Philharmonic of Russia led by Vladimir Spivakov, performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. In October, he opened the concert season of the New World Symphony, performing the Glazunov Violin Concerto under Michael Tilson Thomas. In December he made his Lincoln Center recital debut, and in the spring he gave his Paris recital debut at the Musée du Louvre. In February he was invited by HRH Prince Charles to perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto at Windsor Castle, and will be returning to the UK to perform at Buckingham Palace, both with the Philharmonia Orchestra. In June 2010, Mikhail made his debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto with Bramwell Tovey conducting.

The 2010-11 season saw his recital debuts at the Verbier, Aspen and Ravinia Festivals, a debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto under Sir Neville Marriner, a debut with the Dresden Philharmonic and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and debuts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. In October, he filled in last minute for Midori to make his Baltimore Symphony debut, to rave reviews.

Mr. Simonyan’s 2011-12 season highlights include an extensive tour with the Baltic Youth Philharmonic under Kristjan Järvi, a debut recital at the Kennedy Center, and a performance with the Cincinnati Symphony, also under Kristjan Järvi

Mr. Simonyan has recently signed a multi-CD exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and his first recording will feature Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto, along with Barber’s Violin Concerto and Adagio, with the London Symphony Orchestra and Kristjan Järvi conducting. In addition, Mr. Simonyan's much-anticipated debut recording of the Prokofiev Sonatas for Violin and Piano, recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer Adam Abeshouse, was released in January 2009. The Strad raved, "Simonyan's tonal and intonational purity, coupled with a ravishing range of expressive colours, illuminates this extraordinary work with laser beam accuracy." Mr. Simonyan has been featured as a rising star violinist in The Strad and Strings magazine.

Mr. Simonyan has performed with, among others, the Russian National Orchestra, the Mariinsky (Kirov) Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Novosibirsk Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Moscow Virtuosi. He has worked with conductors including Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev, Constantine Orbelian, Vladimir Spivakov, Arnold Katz, Kristjan Järvi, Leon Botstein, Sir Neville Marriner, Leonard Slatkin, Bramwell Tovey and the late Yehudi Menuhin.

Performance highlights for Mr. Simonyan include a solo appearance with Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center's 35th Anniversary Gala in 2001, after which he made his official debut with Maestro Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra in 2002. Later that same year, he performed at the Davos World Economic Summit. He has also performed as a soloist at the Horatio Alger Awards Dinner in Washington, DC. In 2004, Mr. Simonyan made his debut with the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre under Maestro Valery Gergiev at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE, and at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Other highlights include his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Maestro Gergiev; his debuts with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; a tour of the United States with the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre under Maestro Gergiev, concerts with Maestro Kristjan Järvi and the Russian National Orchestra, and his debut at the Prague Spring Festival under Maestro Pletnev.

In the autumn of 2004, after studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Mr. Simonyan returned to Russia and was immediately in demand by the leading orchestras of his home country. After his debut with the Russian National Orchestra, the Moscow Times wrote, " he seems destined to be ranked on the same Superstar level as fellow Novosibirsk natives Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin."

Mikhail has recently launched a private initiative called Beethoven Not Bullets to assist the newly founded Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) in Kabul. He is working to raise funds to sponsor students at the Institute which is the war-torn country's only music school. ANIM's mission is to educate a new generation of musicians regardless of ethnicity or gender, revitalizing music in Afghanistan and restoring it as a cultural voice.

Mr. Simonyan plays a 2010 Christophe Landon copy of a 1734 Stradivarius. He is managed worldwide by Tanja Dorn at IMG Artists.

The Dallas Morning News said of Russian-American pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine, “[he] played Brahms’ Op. 117 Intermezzi more beautifully, more movingly, than I’ve ever heard them.  At once sad, tender and noble, this was playing of heart-stopping intimacy and elegance.” 

Mr. Moutouzkine has appeared as soloist with the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Television Orchestra of Spain, Cleveland Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Valencia Philharmonic, the Gran Canaria and Tenerife symphonies in the Canary Islands, the National Symphonic Orchestra of Panama, the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra of the Czech Republic.  He made his recital debut in London’s Wigmore Hall, and his performance of Chopin Études in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory was recorded live and released on the Classical Music Archives label in Russia.  Mr. Moutouzkine is a winner of Astral Artists’ 2009 National Auditions.  Of his 2011 Astral Series Philadelphia Recital Debut the Inquirer critic remarked: …One couldn't expect the insights that come with decades of living with this music, but Moutouzkine offered musical traffic management of the highest order.  His technique is crisp, his sonority bright and clean, clarity to his musical choices, but heat to the conviction behind them.

Highlights of the current season include his debut with the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, performances of “Between the Keys,” a program of the complete solo piano works of John Corigliano, and returns to the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia and Symphony in C.  He also tours Asia with recitals in Beijing Concert Hall, Japan’s Yokohama Recital Hall, and throughout Taiwan.  Recent highlights include debuts at the Great Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic with the Berliner Symphoniker, a performance in Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse with the Jasper String Quartet, and Scriabin’s Piano Concerto with the Stamford Symphony.  In April 2011, Mr. Moutouzkine made his debut in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, introducing his own solo piano transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite live, alongside specially commissioned animation entitled “Who Stole The Mona Lisa?”

The winner of many renowned competitions, Mr. Moutouzkine recently claimed top prizes at the Walter W. Naumburg, Cleveland, Montreal, and Arthur Rubinstein international piano competitions, among others. Alexandre Moutouzkine holds a Master’s degree and post-graduate degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.  He holds undergraduate degrees from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover and Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Music Academy. He is currently a Teaching Associate at the Manhattan School of Music.