Finnish Violinist Elina Vähälä Makes Houston Symphony Debut With John Corigliano’s “Red Violin” Concerto

Acclaimed Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä will make her Houston Symphony at 8 p.m. April 20 and 22 and 2:30 p.m. April 23 in a program of works by Verdi, Respighi and celebrated American living composer John Corigliano .

Led by guest conductor Vasily Petrenko, the program begins with Verdi’s Overture to Un giorno di regna, followed by Vähälä’s interpretation of Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto, a piece inspired by the composer’s Academy Award-winning film score to the 1998 drama The Red Violin. From director François Girard, the film depicts characters whose lives are touched by a rare, red, Italian violin.

“It is no wonder that the concerto form, and the violin concerto in particular, has a deep place in my heart,” Corigliano wrote in a composer’s note. “I have written a half-dozen concerti, but this was my first one for my first love, the violin. The story of The Red Violin is perfect for a lover of the repertoire and the instrument. It spans three centuries in the life of a magnificent but haunted violin in its travels through time and space.”

Vähälä made her orchestral debut at the age of 12 and has since developed a demanding international performance career. Her career continues to expand on the international stage as she wins praise from audiences and musicians alike. She has been described by the Chicago Tribune as having a brilliant technique matched by “abundant spirit, sensitivity and imagination.”

The second half of the program features two technicolor tone poems by Respighi, The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome.  The Fountains of Rome is the first in Respighi’s “Roman trilogy” and includes four movements, each of which depict one of Rome’s fountains at different times of the day. The Pines of Rome, the second of the Roman trilogy, also has four movements and depicts pine trees in different locations in Rome at different times of the day.

“Respighi created the biopic of Rome in music,” Petrenko said. “Whenever I hear The Pines or The Fountains of Rome, a strong visual response comes to mind. He took lessons from Rimsky-Korsakov in the early 1900s and learned much from him about orchestration.”

The concert will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.



Thursday, April 20, 2017, 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 2:30 p.m.

Vasily Petrenko, conductor

Elina Vähälä, violin

Verdi: Overture to Un giorno di regna

John Corigliano: The Red Violin Concerto

Respighi: The Fountains of Rome

Respighi: The Pines of Rome

Tickets from $25