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Warmth, feeling and expression

Focus Janine Jansen

With Janine Jansen, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna is focusing on one of today’s best and most extraordinary violinists: in 2024/25, the Dutch violinist will perform as a soloist with orchestra, with a recital and a chamber music program at the Musikverein.

© Julia Wesely

Janine Jansen is one of the best violinists of our time. Anyone who has heard the Dutchwoman in one of her concerts raves about her vitality, power, and captivating playing. And her artistic partners are no different. The conductor Paavo Järvi, one of her long-standing artistic companions, says of her: “She plays just as she is. She is a person with real warmth, real feeling and real expression. There is nothing artificial about her.”

With Järvi, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the Beethoven Violin Concerto, the 46-year-old will be a guest at the Großer Musikvereinssaal in May 2025. When she mentions him, her eyes light up: “For violinists, of course, it’s important to have a great instrument – but the room we play in is also a kind of instrument. And the Golden Hall is just perfect. It has such warmth! And even though it’s big, making music there still feels very intimate.”

However, this evening – on which two Schubert symphonies, the “Unfinished” and the “Tragic”, will also be performed – is just one of a total of three that Janine Jansen has conceived together with the Musikverein for her focus concerts. There is a particular reason why the Beethoven concerto was chosen: “Paavo, the Kammerphilharmonie and I have a long history together,” says Janine Jansen. “I love the energy of this orchestra and its articulation. We recorded this concerto together a few years ago. I find it exciting to play it together again now that some time has passed – and to see if and how we have changed.”

In addition to performing solo, chamber music is equally important to her. Twenty years ago, she founded her festival in her home town of Utrecht – and is still its patron and artistic director today. Chamber music is the essence of music-making for her, she once said. She loves this type of communication and particularly appreciates the flexibility that playing together requires and the constant listening to each other.

In December, she can be heard in a small chamber music setting – in a duo performance with her long-time pianist Denis Kozhukin. She has designed a two-part evening for him and herself: The first part with Schumann and Brahms will be followed by a second with works by Francis Poulenc, Olivier Messiaen and Maurice Ravel. French music of the 20th century: first elegant, then elegiac and thoughtful and finally virtuoso.

Last but not least, the third evening, a quartet evening. Here, she is particularly looking forward to playing the Korngold Suite op. 23 for two violins, cello and left-hand piano with her friends and colleagues – “with Boris Brovtsyn, who teaches here in Vienna, with Pablo Ferrandez, a wonderful Spanish cellist, and Denis Kozhukhin”. “A masterpiece, full of expression and elegance,” she enthuses, “it is performed far too rarely.” It was written in 1930 in the Danube metropolis, commissioned by the Austrian-American pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm in the First World War. What fascinates her is the work’s multiple references to Vienna. What makes them happy is finally being able to play it in Vienna. And then in the Brahms Hall, too! “I’ve only played there once – and that was many years ago. It’s fascinating to be there again!”

Margot Weber

Concerts 24/25

September 6, 2023

06

Großer Saal

September 6, 2023

05

Großer Saal

September 5, 2023

04

Großer Saal

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    Fine and fragrant

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