Music at the Main Lands International Stars

Francesca dePascuale. © The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Francesca dePascuale. © The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

Music at the Main, now entering its sixth year in Tulare County, has broken through to national recognition for its top tier chamber music program. At last summer’s Aspen Music Festival, several of the most world’s most sought after soloists and music pedagogues had heard about the program. One commented that it may provide a model that could be replicated nationally.

From the beginning, Music at the Main has striven to give young prodigy musicians a chance to perform before live audiences just before they launch their professional careers. Our area benefits because we get to hear the next generation of international stars at very affordable prices. The performers benefit because they get valuable touring experience as well as an opportunity to explore new pieces of music. Music at the Main’s effort toward this end is bearing real results.

Musicians who have performed here in the past have gone on to win top prizes at the Tchaikovsky Violin Competition in Russia, the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition in Belgium, the Jacques Lancelot Clarinet Competition in France and the Naumberg Cello Competition in New York City.

And then there’s Simone Porter, who first performed here in 2010 at age 13. This year, Ms. Porter soloed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, receiving rave reviews that are usually reserved for seasoned violinists with years of concert experience. The next day, she flew to Colombia, South America for a special concert there.

Even with those remarkable Music at the Main alumni, this year marks the crossing of a major threshold. Three of North America’s finest young violinists will each present a full solo concert.

Canadian violin phenomenon Blake Pouliot opens the season on November 14 in Three Rivers and on November 15 in Visalia. Mr. Pouliot, top prize winner in the Dorothy DeLay Competition, recently performed Tchaikovsky’s stirring Violin Concerto in D Major at Disney Hall under the direction of the legendary Sir Neville Marinner. Blake’s rich, soaring tone and his preference for big, emotional music consistently brings audiences to their feet.

February 20, the South Korean virtuoso Jinjoo Cho will perform in Three Rivers only. In June of this year, Ms. Cho took first place in the fabled Indianapolis Violin Competition. When Ms. Cho comes to perform here she will bring with her one of the most famous violins anywhere, Joseph Gingold’s 1683 Stradivarius. From the first note to the last, even an untrained ear will recognize the violin’s pure silvery tonality and its amazing power to project the subtlest sound to the back of the hall.

Itzhak Perlman enters the scene with the third virtuoso violinist, Francesca dePascuale. Ms. dePascuale has been Mr. Perlman’s primary assistant at Juilliard for the past four years, and in April 2014, at Itzhak Perlman’s urging, was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Career Grant. Perlman says of Francesca: “An absolutely beautiful violinist, her originality of style is unusual; never glitzy, pretentious, or superficial.”

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