Australian audiences will have the chance to once again experience extraordinary harpist Xavier de Maistre first-hand when the tours Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra from 26 February to 8 March.
“Xavier is one of the most sought-after classical artists on the planet!” says Paul Dyer, Artistic Director. “His 2018 concerts were a highlight of the year for many music lovers and we are incredibly fortunate to have again him for our 2020 season.”
“In Vivaldi’s Venice, Xavier’s evocative performances will sweep listeners along the bustling canals of Venice on a musical tour of the City of Bridges” says Paul. “Listeners will hear astonishing interpretations of works by Vivaldi and others, shimmering with all the vibrant light and colour of Venice.”
Xavier’s performances let the harp sing with a distinctive new voice, creating worlds of exquisite sensitivity. He is strikingly charismatic, plays with breathtaking precision and often presents complex pieces of music that were originally written to be played by an entire orchestra.
The Brandenburg’s first concert series for 2020 will feature a selection of works by Vivaldi and other composers and pieces of music with links to Venice. A major drawcard will be the Australian première of Giovani Lorenzo Gregori’s Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 2 No. 2 which will bring out the best in soloist and orchestra alike.
18th century diplomat, magistrate, poet and composer Alessandro Marcello came from a noble Venetian family and his Concerto in D minor D935, originally written for oboe, will be a particularly striking highlight of this concert with de Maistre’s harp appearing as the solo instrument.
Xavier will also treat audiences to a thrilling adaptation for harp and orchestra of Vivaldi’s Winter from The Four Seasons, L’inverno, Concerto for harp (violin) in F minor, RV 297, Op. 8 No. 4, performed in buoyant program with works by Albinoni, Marcello, Pescetti and 19th century harp virtuoso and composer Parish Alvars.
How the harp found Xavier de Maistre.
At the age of nine, Xavier de Maistre fortuitously fell in love with a local harp teacher. It would be a love that would lead to an important international career as a harpist and a lifelong relationship (that teacher is still an important part of Xavier’s life, as godmother to his daughter).
Xavier, born in France and resident in Monte Carlo, belongs to an elite group of internationally celebrated musicians who redefine the bounds of what is possible on their chosen instrument. This extremely talented musician left a prized job as Principal Harpist with the iconic Vienna Philharmonic almost 20 years ago to pursue a solo career and hasn’t looked back.
“The harp has always fascinated people because it is a very beautiful instrument,” says Xavier. “Of course you can make heavenly diaphanous sounds which are so distinctive but very few people imagine the wide range of colours which are possible with the harp. It can be percussive or produce a rich full tone too!
“I actually think of my instrument as an orchestra, trying to reproduce all the gorgeous sounds which I experienced when I was playing with the Vienna Philharmonic.”