Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Oliveira to Share Stage with Savia Violin Master Will Perform Famed Concerto

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Oliveira to Share Stage with Savia Violin Master Will Perform Famed Concerto

Article excerpt

Alfred Savia never before has shared a stage with violinist Elmar Oliveira, but the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra's music director has been preparing for it for decades. Savia finally will get the chance to do it Saturday, when Oliveira performs "Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto" with the philharmonic in The Victory.

Savia first encountered Oliveira in the early 1980s, when the internationally acclaimed violinist performed another concerto with the Florida Symphony Orchestra in Orlando. Savia, then associate conductor for that orchestra, had to be ready to fill in on the podium if the orchestra's music director was unable to conduct any rehearsal or performance.

Later, as associate conductor for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Savia "covered" several other concerts featuring Oliveira as guest violinist, he said.

Savia never did get the call to conduct alongside Oliveira with those other orchestras, but when considering soloists for Saturday's concert, said Savia, "Elmar was my absolute first choice."

"It was a real coup to get him," Savia said this week.

Oliveira is an internationally acclaimed soloist, the only American violinist to win the Gold Medal in Moscow's Tchaikovsky International Competition. Beyond that, said Savia, "his Grammy- nominated recording of the "Barber Violin Concerto" with the St. Louis Symphony is, in my opinion, the concerto's definitive recording."

Olveira had heard older recordings by Isaac Stern and Louis Kaufman, he said in a telephone interview, but he had never played the Barber concerto before conductor Leonard Slatkin asked him to record it and then perform it in concert with the St. Louis Symphony in 1991.

"Immediately after we were nominated for the Grammy, everyone started asking for the piece," he said. Since then, "I've played the Barber so many times, it kind of got associated with me." It's taken a prominent position in a repertoire of some 75 violin pieces for Olveira.

After winning the Tchaikovsky gold medal and several other international prizes, the violinist has performed around the globe, in recital and with may of the world's best-known orchestras and chamber groups. …

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