Few instruments are as synonymous with an emotion as the violin is with love. Certainly acclaimed violinist Anne Akiko Meyers knew that when she recorded Serenade: The Love Album, which explores its subject matter musically from many angles. Made in 2015 — with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Brevard Music Center Artistic Director Keith Lockhart — the compilation includes Leonard Bernstein’s seven-part “Serenade,” based on Plato’s Symposium, as well as new arrangements for solo violin and orchestra of ten enduring love songs of stage and film.
Meyers and Lockhart team up again on selections from that album in the opening weekend of Brevard Music Center’s 2017 Summer Music Festival. Meyers’ BMC debut, on June 25, will also include Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane. She will be accompanied by the all-student Brevard Sinfonia, which will later perform Stravinsky’s Petrushka Suite as well as a new compilation of work by Kurt Weill, “Much Ado About Love” (a precursor to BMC’s Weill-centric “Festival Within a Festival,” which unfolds throughout the season).
“Anne Akiko Meyers has been on the world stage for over thirty years,” says BMC Director of Artistic Planning and Educational Programming Jason Posnock. “Probably what’s most exciting about her, other than the fact that she’s a wonderful violinist, is that she has dedicated herself to being a champion of contemporary and especially living composers. She really engages a composer to write a piece for violin. She performs it, and then it becomes part of the violin repertoire.”
Likewise, Meyers collaborated with seven renowned arrangers to recreate the love songs for Serenade. Included on the June 25 program will be Ennio Morricone’s “Love Theme” from Cinema Paradiso, arranged by Angela Morley; George Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me,” arranged by Brad Dechter; Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion,” arranged by Peter von Wienhardt; and Jacob Gade’s “Jalousie,” arranged by Matthew Naughtin.
“In my early twenties, I regularly went to record and sheet-music stores, looking through items one at a time in the hope of discovering music that would make the hairs on my neck stand up,” Meyers recalled to Gramophone UK last year. The violinist has also noted in the past, “I’ve always had my ear peeled for interesting music.”
She really engages a composer to write a piece for violin. She performs it, and then it becomes part of the violin repertoire.”
“She’s always been a passionate, personal performer,” says Posnock. “She has collaborated with Keith over the years, but it’s been a while, so they’re looking forward to working together again.”
The Brevard Music Center Summer Festival presents the Brevard Sinfonia featuring Anne Akiko Meyers on Sunday, June 25, 3pm at Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium. $15-$57. www.brevardmusic.org.