World-renowned violinist plays Beethoven’s heroic Concerto, plus visionary British classics

Pinchas Zukerman: one of the world’s pre-eminent violinists, now equally respected as a conductor, he has dazzled listeners for decades with his effortlessly natural musical talents.

Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Zukerman joins the pioneering UK ensemble as soloist and director at the premiere concert venue in Scotland, the Usher Hall in Beethoven’s heroic Violin Concerto – from the dramatic insights of its profound opening movement to the wit and virtuoso fiddle fireworks of its dancing, folksy finale. While now regarded as on of the great pieces in the violin repertoire, it wasn’t always so. Unlike many of his writings, the piece wasn’t received with immediate praise. It had something of a rushed premiere within days of its completion on 23 December 1806, with the soloist not even having time to learn his part!

There’s plenty more wit on display in the well-loved Enigma Variations – Elgar’s miraculous transformations of a mysterious, unknowable theme into sly portraits of his friends and family. From the profoundly moving Nimrod, with which we now remember those fallen in battle, to gently stuttering Dorabella and even grumpy bulldog Dan tumbling into a river, Elgar’s musical portraits are as poignant as they are comic.

Zukerman opens with English music at its most mystical. Vaughan Williams’ luminous Tallis Fantasia transports you to a world of ritual and meditation, through its visionary fusion of folksong and ancient sacred music – almost transforming its string orchestra into a choir of ecstatic voices. Williams blends the instrumentation beautifully, creating a distinctly British sound that really cemented the composer’s reputation at home and throughout Europe.

For more than seven decades the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has been at the forefront of music-making in the UK. Its home base since 2004, London’s Cadogan Hall serves as a springboard for seven principal residencies as well as more than forty-five concerts per year in long-term partnership venues across the country, often in areas where access to live orchestral music is very limited. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO regards itself as Britain’s national orchestra and we are hugely excited to have them as guests as part of the Sunday Classics season at Scotland’s only 5 star concert venue, The Usher Hall.