Review of Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin at the 92nd Street Y
By Diane DiResta
Renowned violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, made her New York City debut at the 92nd Street Y at the Theresa L. Kaufmann Concert Hall on April 20, 2017. Her entrance was as spectacular as her performance. Ms. Meyers displayed “old world glamour” as she entered the stage in a black, form fitting sparkling gown with a sheer black tulle knee-to- ankle skirt.
Accompanied by Akira Eguchi on piano, she performed both a classical and modern program.
The program consisted of
Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in D major. Op 12 No 1 Allegro con brie
Tema con variazioni: Andante con moto
Avro Part (1935) Fractres
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) Fantasia (world premiere of arrangement for violin & piano. Written for Ms. Meyers.
After a brief intermission, the concert continued with a selection from Ravel and two modern works.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Tzigane
Morten Lauridsen (1943-) O Magnum Mysertium (world premiere of arrangement for violin & piano, written for Ms. Meyers
Jakub Ciupinski (1981-) Wreck of the Umbria (written for Ms. Meyers)
As one of the most celebrated violinists, Ms. Meyers has a unique ability to play her instrument to perfection while connecting with her audience in solo performances. Her performance was electric as she enthralled the audience with her passionate relationship to the violin. At times, it sounded as if there was more than one violin as she plucked out tones and rhythms using a jumping bow stroke. Her versatility created sounds that were both percussive in nature and soft and harmonic. She commanded the audience with a combination of high level technique and emotion.
Adding to Ms. Meyer’s unique style and sound was her choice of instrument-the Guarneri violin. While the name Stradivarius is considered the gold standard in violins, many artists prefer Guarneri. Created by violin-maker Giuseppe Guarneri, known as “del Gesu”. Guarneri was a late contemporary of Stradavari. The Guarneri was popularized in the 19th century by virtuoso, Niccoli Paganini. Violinists Jaschaa Heifetz and Yehudi Menuhin also preferred a Guarneri violin to a Stradivarius.
Violinist Aaron Boyd believes that the Guarneri has more power than a Stradivarius and has the “kind of punch” that violinists value. “It’s going to soar to the back of the hall”. Violin-maker Sam Zymuntowicz says that Guarneris produce a more robust sound. “They’re thick in wood, massive in sound.” The Vieuxtemps Guarneri violin has become one of the most expensive violins in the world, selling for approximately $16 million. It was anonymously donated to Anne Akiko Meyers on loan for the rest of her life.
After a commanding performance, the audience commanded Ms Meyers with a standing ovation to return to the stage with an encore. The performance was an experience to remember for years to come for both seasoned and novice listeners.
About Anne Akiko Meyers
Anne Akiko Meyers is one of the most celebrated violinists in the world. Meyers was born in San Diego, California, the daughter of an artist and college president. Her mother is of Japanese descent. Raised in Southern California, she studied at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. She then studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Combining her junior and senior high school years and graduating early from Julliard at age 20, she began touring internationally and recording exclusively for RCA Red Seal.
In 1993 at the age of 23, Meyers was the sole recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, which is awarded by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to up to five promising young artists each year.
In 2006, Meyers served as a panelist, recitalist, and teacher at the Julliard School’s Starling-DeLay Symposium. In May 2008, UCLA invited Meyers to be the Regent’s Lecturer in violin.
In late 2009, Meyers joined the Butler School of Music at University of Texas as Distinguished Artist and Professor of Violin.
In September 2015, Meyers was honored with a Luminary Award by the Pasadena Symphony for her long-standing support of the Pasadena Symphony..
She ranks as one of the most successful classical music and original recording artists. Her recordings include:
Air – The Bach Album debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard Charts on its release on February 14, 2012. It featured “Bach Double” played on two different Stradivarius violins, the first time this had been accomplished.
Meyers The Vivaldi Four Seasons Album debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard Charts when released on February 14, 2014.
Meyers was the top-selling classical instrumentalist of 2014 on Billboard’s traditional classical charts.
About Akira Eguchi, Pianist
Mr. Eguchi made his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in 1992. He has performed in top music centers in Europe, Asia and the United States His U.S. appearances include: Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street Y and the Kennedy Center. He has also played for President Clinton presented by Isaac Stern at the White House and for the Emperor of Japan at Hamarikyu Ashabi Hall in Tokyo. Known as a collaborative pianist he has accompanied celebrated violinists such as Anne Akiko Meyers, Akiko Suwanai, Kyoko Takezawa, Tamaki Kawakubo and Reiko Watanable. His recordings include: 15 solo albums, many of which were selected as “the best newly released album of the month, by Recording Arts Magazine. Mr. Eguchi lives in New York and Tokyo, and works as an associate professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. He teaches at Senzoku-Gakuen Music College in Japan as a guest professor.
About the 92nd Street Y
92nd Street Y (92Y) is a multifaceted cultural institution and community center located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, at the corner of East 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Its full name is 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association YM_YWHA. It is not part of the YMCA.
Founded in 1874 as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association by German-Jewish professionals and businessmen, 92nd Street Y has grown into an organization guided by Jewish principles but serving people of all races and faiths. 92nd Street Y comprises eight programming centers: Bronfman Center for Jewish Life; Lillian & Sol Goldman Family Center for Youth & Family; May Center for Health, Fitness & Sport; Milstein/Rosenthal Center for Media & Technology; School of the Arts; Charles Simon Center for Adult Life & Learning; Tisch Center for the Arts, Center for Educational Outreach and Center for Innovation and Social Impact.
Its poetry center is called the Unterberg Poetry Center and has been led by prominent writers including American poet Karl Kirchwey who was director for thirteen years until 2000. [
In addition to presenting performing arts programs and popular music as well as dance performances, it offers a series of talks and conversations; literary readings;[ film screenings; adult education; schools for music, art and dance for children and adults; professional development programs (early childhood, dance, business and fashion); family, parenting and children’s activities and classes; a nursery school; a senior center; a fitness center (including fitness classes and swim team); camps, a residence that rents rooms in the Y’s main building at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue; Jewish education, cultural and community programs; and educational outreach programs for public school children among its programs. The organization serves about 300,000 people annually in its New York facilities.
In recent years, 92Y has expanded its digital programming to include live webcasts of events and a free digital archive at 92YOnDemand.org that includes both stage events and web-only content. In 2012, 92Y founded #Giving Tuesday, which established the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day to celebrate and encourage giving.] The initiative was inspired by the core Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and reflects the institution’s mission of reimagining community and giving back. 92Y is also one of the founding partners of the annual Social Good Summit, a conference that attracts NGO, tech and business leaders and entrepreneurs, which takes place in September (during UN Week)