17 July 2012
When the New York Symphony (a forerunner of the New York Philharmonic) gave the U.S. premiere of the complete Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in 1899, the soloist was a 21-year-old woman, Maud Powell. Critics were impressed with her technique and choice of a difficult work, but couldn’t help a bit of condescension: ”It was a treat to hear a woman play the violin so well, and only congratulations are to be offered to the lady,” wrote The New York Times.
Violinist James Ehnes tore through the concerto last evening during the Orchestra’s second concert in Central Park, bringing picnickers on the Great Lawn to their feet in ovation. He’ll repeat the Tchaikovsky favorite this evening, as the Philharmonic heads to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for the final Concerts in the Parks program, conducted by Andrey Borekyo.