Thomas Zehetmair’s new recording of the 24 caprices for solo violin by Niccolò Paganini wins a MIDEM award in the category “solo instrument” as was announced at the international music fair in Cannes on Sunday, January 24. The Austrian-born violinist has been artistic director of the Northern Sinfonia in England since 2002 and will become an “artistic partner” to St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the upcoming season. He keeps a busy performing schedule both as a soloist and a chamber musician.
Currently touring Germany with his quartet, Zehetmair expressed his gratitude for the prize in writing: “Paganini was one of the most fascinating musicians of all time. His playing, far beyond sterile perfectionism, and especially his sound spoke directly to the soul of the listeners and caused all sorts of extreme reactions. Many thanks for this honourable prize! Thanks also to Manfred Eicher who has always been looking for special ways of expression.” In the months following the release, Zehetmair’s Paganini won accolades such as a Diapason d’Or and a Supersonic award and was included in the quarterly list of Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
Excerpts from the outstanding press reactions to the Paganini disc can be found here.
An album of duos for violin and viola – performed by Zehetmair and his wife Ruth Killius who also plays in his quartet – is scheduled for release in late spring. It will include works by Scelsi, Holliger, Bartók, Skalkottas, Martinu and Maxwell-Davies among others.
Click here to listen to an excerpt from Caprice No. 2: