By Robert D. Thomas
Southern California News Group
One of the consequences of exceeding the Biblical “three score years and 10” is that I’m more and more writing about musicians with whom I have, in effect, grown up. One such is the violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, now in her 40s, who was born and grew up in Southern California and about whom I have written, or at least heard, since she began playing concerts at age 7.
Meyers returns “home” (she is an alumna of the Young Musicians Foundation) to play in a YMF Debut Chamber Orchestra concert on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Admission is free.
Meyers will be the soloist in Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Fantasia and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A Lark Ascending. Yuga Cohler, who is finishing his three-year term as YMF Music Director, will lead the program that will also include Poulenc’s Sinfonietta.
Rautavaara composed Fantasia for Meyers — it was his last completed major work. Meyers premiered the work earlier this year with the Kansas City Symphony, conducted by Michael Stern.
In December 2015, Rautavaara, then 87 years old, invited Meyers to his home in Helsinki to hear her play the yet unpublished work. She recalls, “After I played Fantasia, he looked at me and repeatedly said, ‘I wrote such beautiful music!’ We laughed and agreed… I was amazed that he made no changes to any notes or dynamics. Everything was in place, just the way he wrote it.”
Meyers will be playing the concert on her 1741 Vieuxtemps’ Guarneri del Gesu violin, which was given to her on lifetime loan several years ago. One of the most important violins ever made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, it belonged to Belgian violinist, Henri Vieuxtemps during the 19th century.
Concert information: www.ymf.org
Photo By: Vanessa Briceño-Scherzer
(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.