Vilde Frang

Introduction

Vilde is the recipient of the 2012 Credit Suisse Young Artists Award and made her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Summer Music Festival in September 2012.

Noted particularly for her superb musical expression, as well as her well-developed virtuosity and musicality, Vilde Frang has established herself as one of the leading young violinists of her generation.

Highlights among her recent and forthcoming engagements include performances with Bayerischer Rundfunk Munich, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia, Sydney Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra and the Basel Kammerorchester, as well as a major US tour with the St Petersburg Philharmonic and Yuri Temirkanov.

She appears as a recitalist and chamber musician at festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau, Lockenhaus, Gstaad, Verbier and Lucerne. Amongst her collaborators were Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Martha Argerich, Julian Rachlin, Leif Ove Andnes and Maxim Vengerov, and together with Anne-Sophie Mutter she has toured in Europe and the US, playing Bach's Double Concerto with Camerata Salzburg. The 13/14 season will see an extensive recital tour with her recital partner, Michail Lifits including performances in London, Geneva, Amsterdam and Milan. This also includes a residency focussing on the Mozart Violin Sonatas at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.

Vilde is an exclusive Warner Artist and her recordings have received high praise from critics and audiences alike. Her concerto recording debut received the Edison Klassiek Award, and a Classic BRIT Award for Best Newcomer. Her recital disc was equally praised, and was selected as "Editor's Choice" by Classic FM Magazine and "Diapason d'Or" by Diapason Magazine as well as being awarded the Echo Klassik Award.  Her most recent release, featuring concertos by Tchaikovsky and Carl Nielsen recieved the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis and was named Editor's Choice by Gramophone Magazine

Born in 1986 in Norway, Vilde has studied at the Barratt Due Music Institute in Oslo, with Kolja Blacher at Musikhochschule Hamburg and Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy. She plays the 1709 ‘Engleman’ Stradivari, lent by Nippon Music Foundation.

For further information, please contact Olivia Patton


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Schedule

Delft Festival, Delft

Hervormde Kerk ‘t Woudt: Liza Ferschtman
Johann Sebastian Bach Sonate voor viool solo no.3 in C Bwv 1005
Katholieke Kerk Den Hoorn: Vilde Frang en Nicolas Altstaedt
Zoltán Kodály Duo voor viool en cello op.7
Dorpskerk Schipluiden: Jérôme Pernoo
Johann Sebastian Bach Prelude uit Suite no. 5 voor cello solo
Paul Hindemith Sonate voor cello solo op. 25 no.3
Guillaume Connesson Trio for cello solo (Nederlandse première)

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EMI CD Reviews

Bartók, Grieg, Strauss Violin Sonatas New Release with Michail Lifits 

Delightful duo: an impressive debut from Frang and Lifits 

"This disc introduces an impressive duo. Perhaps "introduces" is not the correct term for 25-year-old Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, already a star of the European festival circuit. Anne-Sophie Mutter chose her to play second fiddle (literally) in the Bach Double Concerto on a recent tour. Frang has also recorded Sibelius and Prokofiev concertos, but this is the first time we've heard her in a chamber setting and the result is compelling.

In the Grieg and Strauss sonatas, Frang is accompanied by another young virtuoso. Lifits was born in Uzbekistan in 1982, and won the Busoni International Piano Competition in 2009. As a team they achieve real symbiosis: listen to the way they press forward and pull back in the 3/4 movement of the Grieg sonata, sharpening each nuance and finding the precise textural weight in perfect sync.
Their program is attractive and far from hackneyed. Grieg's Third Violin Sonata is his chamber masterpiece, but I had not heard the youthful First. These artists reveal it to be the exuberant outpouring of an inspired and vigorous young composer.
Frang and Lifits also find warmth and tenderness in the young Strauss's Sonata. In between, Frang gives a strong, detailed rendition of Bartók's "unplayable" solo sonata." 
Phillip Scott, Limelight Magazine, June 2011

"Grieg, Bartók, Strauss *****
Vilde Frang’s micro-sensitive responses to dynamic, articulation and phrasing prove almost too much of a good thing in the gentle swaying of Grieg’s Sonata, but prove a revelation in the heady opulence of the Strauss, which has never sounded so urgently seductive or expressively supple on disc (thanks in part to Michail Lifits’s stunning pianism.) Finest of all is Bartók’s fiendishly demanding Solo Sonata, a virtuoso minefield of technical and musical ingenuity which Frang negotiates with an unflinching sense of musical direction. Another outstanding disc from Frang, who makes even the most well-worn phrases sound as though they have just arrived freshly minted from the composer’s creative workshop. Frang responds to the innocent, swaying lyricism of Grieg’s First Violin Sonata with a probing interpretative spirit that makes every change of mood feel like a vital musical event. Bartók’s scorching amalgam of ethnic folksong, Baroque formal procedures and precipitous musical interfaces inspires Frang to astonishing levels of majestic virtuosity. Frang and Lifits ride the roller-coaster emotional narrative that underpins Strauss’s epic Sonata with an adrenalin-pumping sense of euphoria and hurtling precision."
Julian Haylock, Classic FM Magazine - April 2011

"The young Norwegian presented herself on CD last year with no less than a double concertante of Sibelius and Prokofiev. This programme seduced us; the triple sonatas blow us away. What a daring programme! The Sonata for solo violin by Bartok, Opus 8 by Grieg and Opus 18 by Strauss call for diametric skills. Who, before now, has been so convincing in all three? You would have to look hard…The charm begins immediately. The originality of tone (something so precious nowadays) a heightened virtuosity and a deep sensitivity amaze us in the first of the 3 Grieg sonatas. Vilde Frang makes the anguishes of the 22-year-old composer her own; her performance exudes youthfulness, carefreeness and tenderness. On the piano Michail Lifits is no less stunning: energetic, inspired and impish. Their dialogue in the only sonata by Richard Strauss is effervescent.  A sensuality of timbres, suppleness of tempos, heroism of attacks, all is there to render its generosity (Allegro ma non troppo), its grace (Andante Cantabile) and the stormy finale. Despite the incontestable references in the discography (Heifetz!), one follows the two partners with passion throughout the recording. The young lady’s charm is markedly less present in the Sonata for Solo Violin by Bartok. It is however the most fascinating moment of the CD! The dreaded final page, the last important work of the composer who took refuge in America, propels the instrument into a new universe, not only by the extreme virtuosity of the writing but also by its rhythmic and polyphonic audacity. Vilde Frang storms the initial Tempo di ciaccona. What a personality! A slightly dampened sound quality and the expert use of microphones produces a recording that is startlingly clear. What energy of detail! The search of timbres and the exploration of contrasting sound worlds demands admiration, the audacity of her playing rivals the most prestigious recordings by Menuhin and Gitlis. After having magisterially dominated the fugue, Vilde Frang inhabits all the nostalgia of the adagio (Melodia), using rare colours, from a highly varied vibrato comes an incredible register of nuances. And the finale: ferocious, frenetic, and breathtakingly dynamic. Exceptional!" 
Jean-Michel Molkhou, Diapason (France) - April 2011 

"IRR Outstanding"

This is a singularly impressive recital, both for the choice of music - a mixed programme that works very well as a continuous listen, juxtaposing homespun Grieg, severe yet fascinating Bartók and generously romantic Richard Strauss - and in which the performances are really quite compelling. Such commanding interpretations are made the more so by the musicians being ideally recorded: immediate and vivid, but with space around the instruments, if thankfully no spurious reverberation, and with a just balance respecting that (where applicable) these are duo sonatas, the piano being just as important as the violin.

Grieg's early Sonata receives a very persuasive reading, touchingly melodic and enjoyably indigenous, played by someone who completely identifies with the idiom, and not just because Frang is also Norwegian (although in the folk-fiddling section that may well be the case), and brings to it a deep sense of musicality and technical virtuosity at the service of the score. Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin, among the composer's last music - written for Menuhin, who initially considered it unplayable - is equally convincing. Frang brings the music to expressive life without distorting Bartók's logic and finely wrought structures. The lovely warm tone that she produced for the Grieg now becomes edgier for the Bartók, but in an entirely appropriate way, as she tackles this hugely demanding work with confidence and insight. The beautiful Melodia movement is suspenseful in its intimacy, the listener hanging on every note, and the fiery, folksy finale (including the ad lib quarter-tones) doesn't descend to showmanship.

The young Richard Strauss wrote his sole Violin Sonata as a young man of 23. Soon instrumental chamber music would be a thing of the past, relinquished to the composing of Lieder, symphonic poems and opera. The sonata is a large-scale work, expansive in its melody and dramatic in its contrasts. Frang and Michail Lifits have its measure and perform well as a team, their interaction is palpable, and she is particularly effective in bringing intensity as well as light and shade to the work; simplicity, too, and heart, as the opening of the second movement (entitled Improvisation) testifies. The solemn (one-minute) introduction to the finale is presented by the piano alone and finds Lifits producing deep bell-like tones from his instrument; the sudden change to a heroic character tests his bravura and he is not found wanting. The finale is highly charged, the performers seeming to ignore the studio's red light and playing uninhibitedly, as if communicating vividly to a - here imagined - audience.

This is a spectacularly fine disc of unhackneyed repertoire in richly expressive performances. Frang is welcomingly 'old-fashioned' in her style and, as I indicated, the recorded sound is equally select. 
Colin Anderson, International Record Review - April 2011

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Press

Britten

Violin Concerto: 2 May 2014

Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Thomas Sondergaard, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

**** There was an exquisite synergy between the orchestra, Thomas Søndergård, principal guest conductor, and soloist Vilde Frang. Her approach exuded just the right balance of dreamy lyricism and gut-wrenching emotion and she wore the virtuosity demanded extremely lightly. Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman
Frang’s approach was raw and tetchy, full of jagged aggressiveness. Grasping the major/minor contrasts of Britten’s tussling score, her cadenza was one of guarded emotion suddenly laid bare, both questing and alone. Sarah Urwin Jones, The Times

Prokofiev

Violin Concerto No.2: US Tour 23 February-4 March 2014

St Petersburg Philharmonic/Yuri Temirkanov

San Diego - 28 February 2014

The Prokofiev concerto was just what you’d expect, and in a good way. Temirkanov and Frang stressed the works innate lyrical qualities, even in the percussive, decidedly unlyrical final movement.

Frang, an immensely talented young Norwegian violinist, has the all-too-rare combination of beauty of tone and incisiveness. Her approach to the concerto was clear, convincing and communicative.

The orchestra members appreciated her playing enough that they, rather than the audience, continued applauding and prompted her to play an encore (a contemporary arrangement of a Norwegian folk tune).

James Chute, UT San Diego
San Francisco - 3 March 2014
Vilde Frang, 28, from Norway, played the solo in the Prokofiev Second Violin Concerto with a stunning combination of flawless technique and palpable, appealing emotion — her single appearance here only whets the appetite for many more returns. Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice

Britten

Violin Concerto: 14 December 2013

Sydney Symphony Orchestra/James Gaffigan, Sydney Opera House

Young Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang approached the violin part of Britten's concerto like a dramatic monologue, extracting the emotional resonance of every moment while skillfully dealing with the technical demands of the writing. Britten requires the violin to play frequently in harmonics, and here Frang's tone was purity itself. Her attack in the scherzo's aggressive passages and her pared-back tone in the final sections of the passacaglia bespoke her total involvement in the music. The orchestra's contribution was equally impressive: altogether a distinguished performance of a work that is belatedly entering the repertoire. Phillip Scott, Limelight
Her Stradivarius and her technique produced an extraordinary variety of sounds from what is a hellishly difficult piece to play. She seemed always in control through the numerous passages of double stops and finger-splitting plucking. Sometimes the score called for playing on one string while simultaneously plucking another. It was an awesome performance, sometimes violent and sometimes ghostly. Fraser Beath McEwing, J-Wire

Korngold

Violin Concerto: 24 November 2013:

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Vasily Petrenko, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

****Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang was soloist in Korngold’s Violin Concerto. A stunningly witty and virtuoso player...the violin laughed its way through the opening movement in a fun, confident mood before moving into introspective for the Romance.
Glyn Mon Hughes, Liverpool Daily Post

Britten

Violin Concerto: 21 November 2013

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Vasily Petrenko, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

A Stradivarius-wielding Norwegian Pre-Raphelite who turned her instrument into a songbird, singing a romantic, rhapsodic refrain over the Phil’s impassioned, furious scherzo before launching her own musical assault that showed there is an iron fist in the velvet glove. Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo

Duo Recital: 15 July 2013

Michail Lifits (Piano), BBC PROMS, Cadogan Hall, London

Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang's Proms debut was ample proof of her abilities. In Ravel's late Violin Sonata, she revealed lucid depths and brilliant clarity, and her long-standing partnership with Michail Lifits felt instinctive and communicative. Ravel toiled long and hard over this work, but Frang and Lifits brought flashes of spontaneity, that belied the composer's arduous effort...The programme was completed with centenarian Lutoslawski's Partita...As with so many of the extended forms of this composer, Partita's gradual accretion of momentum and rage was plain to hear, and was all the more affecting for Frang and Lifit's expressive directness, the violinist displayed a dizzying array of colourful effects and the pianist drawing startling volume from his instrument. Together they were terrifically incisive. Andrew Morris, ClassicalSource.com

Duo Recital: 8 April 2013

Michail Lifits (Piano) Tonhalle, Zurich

Sie ist kein Geigen-Girlie, sie ist keine Geigen-Domina; sie gibt nicht die Schlangenfängerin, noch strebt sie nach sportlicher Höchstleistung - Vilde frang ist nur sich selbst. Ganz einfach, ganz natürlich. Und so, wie sie ist, so spielt sie; ihr zuzuhören, hat etwas Befreiendes und deshalb Beglückendes - übrigens gerade dadurch, dass es einen so in Bann schlägt und so intensiv mitschwingen lässt Peter Hagmann, Neue Zurcher Zeitung

Duo Recital: 25 March 2013

Michail Lifits (Piano), Wigmore Hall, London

***** The 24-year-old Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang – who looks as if she’s stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting – has a line as clean and pure as Mullova’s. And in tandem with the Uzbek pianist Michail Lifits she gave an account of Mendelssohn’s ‘Sonata in F’ which was both full-blooded and finely nuanced, with Lifits delivering the whirlwind figurations of the finale at a speed which took the breath away. Lutoslawski’s ‘Partita for Violin and Piano’ calls several times for both players to improvise before simultaneously arriving at the same end-point, and they met this challenge effortlessly, before zapping us with three richly-coloured Hungarian Dances by Brahms. Michael Church, The Independent

Duo Recital: 27 January 2013

Michail Lifits (Piano), Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington DC

Frang’s playing is at once assured and slightly coltish — an appropriate sign of an artist whose range includes wide extremes without ever lapsing into excesses. She plays with a big, wide vibrato yet managed to make it sound perfectly idiomatic in the Fauré; she plays with plenty of fire and expression, yet can rein herself in with stylishness, pulling back to give a repeated phrase a touch of extra polish. Most importantly, she plays with a sense of enjoyment, a hint of sunniness even in fraught moments... We’ll be hearing Frang again in larger halls, with major orchestras; it will be a pleasure to watch her grow. Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

Tchaikovsky

Violin Concerto: 5 December 2012

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Danail Rachev, Poole Lighthouse

A debut with the BSO that must rank as the finest this season. There is a maturity about the 26 year-old Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang that established a personal interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto; intuitive and ravishing. Her alluringly rich, creamy tone captivated from the start, sensitively nuancing every phrase and projecting the cadenza with arresting precision.

In the slow movement her magical, mellifluous finesse harboured seductive exchanges with the wind players and in the finale, her feisty lead-in bore further facets of fiendish virtuosity. Hitting the harmonics with subtle gracefulness and finding both depth and daring, Frang’s impeccable delivery was matched by Danail Rachev’s empathetic direction and rapport. Mike Marsh, Bournemouth Echo

Tchaikovsky

Violin Concerto: 24 March 2012

BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Jac van Steen, Aberystwyth Arts Centre

The highlight of the evening was the solo performance of Tchaikovsky’s well known Violin Concerto by the prolifically talented twenty-five year old Norwegian Vilde Frang. A soloist from the age of twelve, Frang executed every note of this piece, often considered the greatest test of a violinist’s skill, with delicacy and fluidity. Playing a piece with more false endings than the Lord of the Rings, each resurgence remained a pleasure to the ear. Cei Whitehouse, Aber Student Media

Mozart

Violin Concerto No.5: 20 November 2011

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Donald Runnicles, City Halls, Glasgow

The feisty young soloist Vilde Frang...The Norwegian's playing is entirely her own Kate Molleson, The Guardian

Duo Recital: 16 October 2011

Michail Lifits (Piano), Lincoln Center, New York

Vilde Frang launched into her local debut recital at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater with one of Bartók's most strenuous and uningratiating pieces - his solo Violin Sonata of 1944. The piece was a savvy statement of purpose for Frang and she negotiated its jagged chords and barbed dissonances with insouciant ease. It was a promising first impresssion. Pianist Michail Lifits joined her for two Heifetz arrangements of Albéniz: his El Puerto and Sevilla. Here Frang created the sense of carefree ease that the music demands, supported by a refined tone, crisp articulations and a stylish, organic rubato. Brian Wise, The Strad

Mozart

Violin Concerto No.5: 10 June 2011

Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Kenneth Sillito, Kaisersaal, Wurzburg

The violin virtuoso Vilde Frang knows exactly what she wants. The 24 year old Norwegian made this clear at the Würzburg Mozart Festival where she played Mozart's A Major Violin Concerto to a sold-out hall.
The brilliant violinist is technically of the highest level with fantastic finger work and bow technique. She presented the piece in a fresh manner, such as is rarely heard.
The noble and sonorous sound of her violin exactly matched the virtuoso's thrilling performance. She performed the hair-raising passages in the first and last movements with style and energy.
Frank Kupke, MainPostWürzburg
The concert was a real experience, Vilde Frang was particularly impressive: a fusion of high technical ability and charismatic artistic realization. Udo Watter, Süddeutsche Zeitung

Sibelius

Violin Concerto: 12 April 2011

NordwestDeutsche Philharmonie/Eugene Tzigane, Conservatorio G. Verdi, Milan

For her Italian debut, the young violinist Vilde Frang, now no longer a star in her infancy but already a well-established artist on the international concert scene, presented Sibelius...Vilde Frang enchanted the audience at the Sala Verdi, Conservatorio di Milano with great ease through her precision and technical maturity...Her youthful determination burst forth in the third movement, where Frang found the ideal moment to prove her ability and skill. Silvia Corbetti, Archi Magazine

Sibelius

Violin Concerto: 6 December 2010

BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Thomas Sondergard, Hoddinot Hall, Cardiff

The revelation of the evening, though, was the 24-year-old Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang, whose performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto was nothing short of sensational. Frang is clearly a new star in the violin firmament. Naturally poised and quite without affectation, she began with such hushed, gossamer tones as to give no inkling of the fierce untamed power of the playing that then emerged. The concerto burst into life with this combination of piercing intelligence and intense passion, and the partnership with Søndergård – Frang recently recorded the work with him – gave Sibelius' fundamentally symphonic vision a thrilling vibrancy. The BBCNOW strings responded with luscious depth – clearly the best compliment they could pay Frang. Rian Evans, The Guardian

Recordings