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Classical 101

ProMusica and Vadim Gluzman Take Listeners to the Northern Lights

Vadim Gluzman
Marco Borggreve
Vadim Gluzman

Siberia. The word, alone, sends a shiver down your spine. Siberia has some of the coldest temperatures on earth. Recent temperature readings have hit 50 below. Makes Ohio seem downright balmy!

Northern climates are the inspiration for two concerts this weekend by ProMusica Chamber Orchestra featuring Creative Partner and Principal Guest Artist Vadim Gluzman. In Northern Lights, Gluzman draws upon composers who hail from the Northern Hemisphere, who are, or were, accustomed to cold climates.

Lera Auerbach is no stranger to Columbus audiences. She has written original works for and performed with ProMusica on many occasions. Her work, T’filah, or Prayer, was dedicated to Gluzman – and opens the program.


Along with music by Auerbach, who was born in Russian on the border with Siberia, Danish composer Carl Nielsen, Peteris Vasks, from Latvia and J.S. Bach, who never left his native Germany, are also on the program.

ProMusica performs two pieces by Bach…his 5th Brandenburg Concerto - considered by many to be the earliest harpsichord concerto - and the Adagio from the Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor.

If all you know of Nielsen are his larger works, such as his symphonies, you’re in for a treat as ProMusica performs his youthful Petite Suite, which he wrote while still a student of the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. It was a smash hit. He made several curtain calls, the second movement was played as an encore, and it would become his first published work.

Distant Light by Vasks is described by the composer this way. “Distant Light is nostalgia with a touch of tragedy. Childhood memories, but also the glittering stars millions of light years away.” Distant Light was written for another amazing violinist, Gidon Kremer. Hearing it performed by Gluzman should prove to be a special treat.


It will be a good weekend to get out of the cold for an amazing evening of music. Below is a conversation I had with Vadim Gluzman about this program.


There is another performance Sunday, January 21 at 7 p.m. at the Southern Theatre.

For details, visit promusicacolumbus.org.