Hailed as the world's greatest living violinist, Maxim Vengerov is one of the biggest names in the classical music world. Now as the 2017 Artist-in-Residence for Queensland Symphony Orchestra, he will bring his international starpower to the QPAC stage in a series of performances.
There’s more to violinist Maxim Vengerov than meets the eye. At just five years old he was identified as a child prodigy and he became internationally recognised at the age of 15, when he won the esteemed Carl Flesch International Violin Competition.
His illustrious career has taken Maxim around the world and even landed him a Grammy Award, with the violinist showing just as much enthusiasm for his charity work as a UNICEF ambassador. He believes now more than ever, we need music. “Music brings us together and I think music today will play an even stronger role in society to build a healthier more respectable society,” he says. “Music has its own universal language.”
So just how did Maxim come to be playing the violin at such a young age? Maxim’s parents were both professional musicians and he has admitted that he chose the violin as a young boy becuase it was the instrument he had the best view of while watching his father during orchestra rehearsals. He also recalls being instinctually drawn to it over the piano – and from that point onwards his star began to emerge.
Following his lauded Tchaikovsky Gala concert last year, Maxim’s return to the stage with Queensland Symphony Orchestra has been highly anticipated. He will perform his first solo concert hall recital in Queensland on Thursday 23 February at QPAC. And before this event, fans can get to know Maxim a little better when he joins Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s music director Alondra de la Parra in conversation on Wednesday 22 February.
Maxim’s recital kicks off the 70th anniversary season for Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He will perform his recital alongside Russian pianist Roustem Saïtkoulov, presenting a program of captivating works by Schubert, Beethoven, Ravel, Ernst and Paganini. “By creating such a different program, I think each member of the audience can get something for themselves,” he says. He will also return to the stage in November, alongside Alondra,
Having travelled the world several times over, Maxim admits he always enjoys time spent in Brisbane. “I always enjoy coming to this marvellous city,” he says. “I had a walk last weekend and it was just fabulous to see how people enjoy their lives and they take it slightly easier than the rest of the world.”
Five things you might not know about Maxim Vengerov:
He began studying violin at five years old and performed his first concerto with an orchestra when he was six.
In 2004 he won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with orchestra) and he also played at the Grammy Awards when he was just 21 years old.
He once hang-glided off a Swiss mountain while playing the violin.
He plays a 1727 ex-Kreutzer Stradivarius violin, which is believed to be one of the top 20 in the world.
He was the first classical musician appointed as a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador.
In Conversation: Maxim Vengerov and Alondra de la Parra Wednesday 22 February at QSO Studio
Vengerov in Recital Thursday 23 February at QPAC
QSO, Alondra and Vengerov Saturday 18 November at QPAC