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Violinist Giora Schmidt Presents Liszt World Premiere at Ravinia Festival

August 31, 2011 | By Rearden PR
Acclaimed violinist Giora Schmidt will present the World Premiere of the Liszt Piano Sonata in B minor transcribed for solo unaccompanied violin during the Ravinia Festival in Chicago on September 10.

The concert promises to turn the tables on Liszt, the extraordinary keyboard virtuoso who famously transcribed violin works for piano, as Schmidt fearlessly interprets what has been described as one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the violin.

The innovative and unusual transcription of the Sonata, created by composer and pianist Noam Sivan, was published by Carl Fischer in 2007. However, it has still never been brought to life on the concert stage:

“During a transatlantic flight about ten years ago, I started hearing in my head the mysterious opening of the B-minor Sonata played on the violin. I felt it had a special power to it, emphasizing with concentrated energy the diabolical, dark side of the piece. But immediately I said to myself: this piece cannot possibly be played on the violin, be reasonable! The impossibility of it attracted me - to develop a new instrumental language on the way to interpreting a familiar masterpiece. Giora plays with guts, hitting the most demanding passages head-on with a raw animalistic quality that is perfect for the music. This was a joint journey of discovery and the world premiere performance promises to be a thrilling event, “explains Mr. Sivan who will also accompany Schmidt in the first half of the concert where they present two of the movements Brahms and Schumann created for the composite “F.A.E” Sonata followed by the gloriously tender Sonata in G Major by Johannes Brahms.

“When I first looked at Noam’s transcription my gut instinct was: this can be done. And it’s by far the most difficult project I have undertaken in my musical life. There is an incredible power and storminess to Liszt’s music – full of wild cadenzas where one can show off technically, but there is also incredible tenderness and soul-stirring melodic material. Taking this Goliath written for ten fingers and conveying it with four - the tables have never been turned on the violin and piano repertoire in this way. There’s certainly a pioneering element to this,” say Schmidt, and explains:

“Thirty five minutes of non-stop music with no break, no moment to turn a page! I had to think of something. We solved the problem by using an iPad controlled by Bluetooth, wireless foot-switches from AirTurn,” adds Schmidt.


Violinist Giora Schmidt is quickly establishing himself as a virtuoso of the grand tradition with a distinctive voice. His performances are illuminated by a richness of color and effortless technique making Giora one of the most commanding young artists on the stage today.

He has appeared with numerous symphony orchestras around the globe including, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, Fort Worth, Honolulu, San Diego, Vancouver, Toronto, National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM (Mexico City), Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, Sendai Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. In 2003, he made his Carnegie Hall debut performing the Barber Violin Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony.

In recital and chamber music, Giora has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and made important debuts at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Ravinia Rising Stars series in Chicago, San Francisco Performances, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and Tokyo's Musashino Cultural Hall. He is a regular guest at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and has collaborated with eminent musicians including Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum and Michael Tree.

Born in Philadelphia in 1983 to professional musicians from Israel, Giora began playing the violin at the age of four. He has studied under Patinka Kopec and Pinchas Zukerman at the Manhattan School of Music, and Dorothy DeLay and Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School. Committed to sharing his passion for music, Giora regularly seeks out new ways of reaching young violinists through technology and social media.

Giora was the First Prize winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra's Greenfield Competition in 2000, the recipient of a 2003 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 2005 won the Classical Recording Foundation's Samuel Sanders Award. His second solo album, Live from Miami, was released in May 2010 and is currently available on iTunes and Amazon.

For more information about Giora visit: and

Noam Sivan has appeared as composer and pianist in North America, Europe, and Asia. His compositions have been performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, and Mannes Opera; recorded for Koch and Bridge labels; and broadcast on over 20 radio stations. Born and raised in Israel, He is a faculty member at the Curtis Institute and at Mannes College, and holds a DMA from the Juilliard School.


AirTurn, Inc. was formed in 2008 to develop and market technologies to enhance the study, practice and performance of music, and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
The AirTurn BT-105 hands free page-turner connects to the iPad wirelessly via Bluetooth and is controlled by two foot-switches for forwards and backwards page turns in compatible apps.

For more information about Airturn visit




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