The Devil's Violinist
Paganini's Caprices, performed by Kevin Zhu
SUNDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2023
VICTORIA CONCERT HALL
"Absolute virtuosity, almost blinding in its incredible purity” (L’ape musicale)
Paganini transcended all barriers to convert the violin into a musical tool of radical possibility, earning him the nickname of the 'Devil's Violinist'. Performing the complete set of his 24 Caprices live in concert is an undertaking so formidable that only a few violinists in history have ever dated to attempt it. Young American violinist KEVIN ZHU is the latest, most worthy addition to that very short list. A protégé of Itzhak Perlman and Li Ling at Juilliard, Zhu was catapulted to stardom following his win of the First Prize and three special prizes at the 2018 Paganini International Violin Competition in Italy, a feat he achieved at age 17 as the youngest of six finalists by far. Zhu has since performed regularly on the world's major stages, including Carnegie Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, and was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2021, establishing himself as one of the leading string players of the next generation.
This is a rare musical journey, brought to electrifying life by Zhu’s “awesome technical command and maturity” (The Strad), which you do not want to miss!
PAGANINI – 24 Caprices, Op. 1
(Programme subject to change at the artist's discretion)
KEVIN ZHU, violin
American violinist Kevin Zhu has amassed an outstanding record of concert performances and competition wins since he began playing violin at age three. Praised for his “awesome technical command and maturity” (The Strad) and “absolute virtuosity, almost blinding in its incredible purity” (L’ape musicale), Kevin has performed on the world’s largest stages, ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to London’s Royal Festival Hall to the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. Initially coming to international attention after winning the 2018 Paganini Competition and 2012 Yehudi Menuhin Competition, he has established himself as a leading figure among the next generation of musicians, astonishing audiences with his peerless technical mastery and inimitable artistic voice.
In the 2022-23 season, Kevin will make concerto debuts with the Des Moines Symphony and at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, and embark on a project to record the 24 Paganini Caprices on Paganini’s famed violin ‘Il Cannone’, something never done before in history. He performs the complete Caprices in Italy, Singapore and Germany, and makes his Merkin Hall recital debut with a programme inspired by ballet and operatic masterpieces.
Recent performing highlights include concerto appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, and China Philharmonic Orchestra. A highly sought-after recitalist, he has toured across the United States and Europe with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to contemporary commissions. Kevin is also a passionate chambermusician, collaborating with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Lawrence Power, and Jan Vogler.
In addition to his efforts on stage, Kevin serves as a Culture Ambassador of the Lin Yao Ji Music Foundation of China. He has been featured on ABC Eyewitness News, BBC Radio 3, and RAI Radio 3, and is the recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant.
Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin. Kevin performs on the c1722 “Lord Wandsworth” Antonio Stradivari violin, which is on loan from the Ryuji Ueno Foundation and Rare Violins In Consortium, Artists and Benefactors Collaborative.