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Sibelius, Tchaikovsky,
and Kabalevsky

Ehnes Plays Sibelius

Fri., Apr. 16, 2021
7:30 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 17, 2021
8:00 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 18, 2021
2:30 p.m.

Music Program:
Kabalevsky, Overture to “Colas Breugnon”
Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D minor
Tchaikovsky, Suite No. 3

John DeMain
, Conductor
James Ehnes, Violin

Read the Program Notes
Program Notes will be available in August.

Prelude Discussion
Enjoy a 30-minute talk starting one hour before each concert in Overture Hall. Free to ticketholders.

A luminary in a star-studded season, James Ehnes will again light up Overture Hall with Sibelius’ shimmering masterpiece. With the lyrical Tchaikovsky Suite, this is a concert not to be missed for sheer melodic bliss.

The third time’s the charm. In 1903, after too much wining and dining in Helsinki, Jean Sibelius found himself short of funds. Perhaps at the instigation of violinist Willy Burmester, Sibelius wrote his Violin Concerto in D minor. But Sibelius was so strapped for cash that he couldn’t afford to finance a performance that fit Burmester’s schedule. So the first two performances of the concerto featured other soloists. The offended Burmester refused ever to play it, and the dedication went to prodigy Ferenc von Vecsey, who played it at the age of 13.
– Norman Gilliland

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About James Ehnes

James Ehnes has established himself as one of the foremost violinists of his generation, noted by Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times for his consistent “virtuosity and burning tone…displayed to a fine effect.” Ehnes’s long list of orchestral appearances includes the Boston Pops, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, London Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, and the DSO Berlin. In 2019-20, Ehnes is Artist in Residence with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which includes performances of the Elgar Concerto with Luisi, a play/direct programme by Ehnes, and a chamber music programme. Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including a Grammy Award (2019) for his live recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot, and a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis. Mr. Ehnes previously performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in 2012, 2015, and 2019.

The excellent violinist James Ehnes was the soloist for the Violin Concerto, supplying great delicacy where called for, great drama elsewhere. – Dallas Morning News

Ehnes is one of the most outstanding violinists I have ever heard. Every note is musical, real and full of meaning . . . he projects warmth and sincerity with a tone that can only be described as sumptuous. – Edward Alley, yourobserver.com


Major funding provided by


Fred and Mary Mohs

Additional funding provided by


Martha and Charles Casey


John A. Johnson Foundation, a component fund of the Madison Community Foundation

with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts


Event Category:


Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703 United States