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Olga Kern
Plays Rachmaninoff

Gil Shaham Plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto

Fri., Feb. 12, 2021
7:30 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 13, 2021
8:00 p.m.

Sun., Feb. 14, 2021
2:30 p.m.

Music Program:
Rachmaninoff, Isle of the Dead
Kodály, Háry János Suite
Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D major

John DeMain
, Conductor
Gil Shaham, 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.

The first piece of this varied program, Rachmaninoff’s evocative and powerful score depicts Arnold Bocklin’s famous painting of an oarsman rowing a white-clad figure across a dark expanse of water to the mysterious Isle of the Dead. The mood lightens when the Háry János Suite from Kodály’s comic Hungarian folk opera radiates exotic exuberance. Then the renowned Gil Shaham gives the crowning performance of the program when he breathes life and love into the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

A dedication or a plea for mercy? Beethoven wrote his Violin Concerto in D major for Franz Clement, who played the debut in Vienna on December 23, 1806. Clement was, above all, a showman, and between the first and second movements of the concerto, he played a sonata of his own on one string, holding the violin upside down. Was Beethoven hoping for a more dignified debut when he wrote a dedication that read “Concerto composed with Clemency for Clement?”
– Norman Gilliland

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About Gil Shaham

Declared “the outstanding American violinist of his generation” by Time Magazine, Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time. His flawless technique combined with his unequalled warmth and generosity of spirit has cemented his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” is sought after through the world for musical appearances with leading conductors and orchestras, and regularly gives recitals with ensembles on the world’s great concert stages and most prestigious festivals. Mr. Shaham previously performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in 2018 playing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

I was blown away by Gil Shaham. I’ve never seen a performance like that in my life! – MSO Subscriber

Shaham’s performance was simply the best I have seen in more than three decades of attending the symphony. – Bill Wineke, Channel 3000

. . . the audience adored it, giving him a standing ovation after the first movement alone, as well as one at the conclusion . . . – John Barker, Isthmus


Major funding provided by


Myrna Larson


Marvin J. Levy

Audrey Dybdahl

Marilyn and Jim Ebben

David and Kato Perlman

Additional funding provided by

Boardman & Clark LLP

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