Soirée virtuose – Obsession Violon

World-renowned virtuoso violinist Kerson Leong joins international competition winners Barbican Quartet and Ukrainian pianist Ilia Ovcharenko in an incomparable blend of virtuosity, passion, and brilliance.

Kerson Leong, violon

Kerson Leong has been described as “not just one of Canada’s greatest violinists but one of the greatest violinists, period” (Toronto Star). Forging a unique path since his First Prize win at the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in 2010, he continues to win over colleagues and audiences alike with “a mixture of spontaneity and mastery, elegance, fantasy, intensity that makes his sound recognizable from the first notes” (Le Monde).

His latest album release of ‘Britten & Bruch’, recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Patrick Hahn for Alpha Classics, was awarded Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Choc de Classica, and ‘The Strad Recommends’ by The Strad, as well as five-star recommendations from the Sunday Times and Diapason among others. As a sought-after soloist, he was hand-picked by Yannick Nézet-Séguin to be artist-in-residence with the Orchestre Métropolitain during the 18/19 season and has recently performed as soloist with such ensembles as the Royal, Oslo, Brussels, Kansai, and Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Seattle, Singapore, Toronto, Istanbul, Toledo, Montreal, Stavanger, and Wuppertal Symphony Orchestras.

Illia Ovcharenko, piano

When he was 6 and living in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Illia Ovcharenko heard a performance of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto. After the concert, Illia told his mother he wanted to be a pianist when he grew up. Today he’s a celebrated virtuoso playing concerts all over the world.

He’s the 2023 winner of the Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, along with top prizes at the New York, Hilton Head, Busoni and Horowitz Piano competitions. Highlights of the 2023/24 season include debuts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Liechtenstein Symphony, and Haifa Symphony, as well as return engagements with the Calgary Philharmonic. Illia is scheduled to perform at Koerner Hall in Toronto, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Sendesaal in Hannover, Robert-Schumann-Saal in Düsseldorf, and Salle Bourgie in Montréal in the upcoming season.

Illia began piano lessons at 9 and gave his first concert at 12. At 13 he moved to Kyiv, and later to Tel Aviv, for advanced training. He’s currently finishing a master’s program with his longtime mentor, Arie Vardi, in Hannover.

He thrives on live performance, feeling as if two souls – his and the composer’s – are united together on stage. He’s most at home playing romantic repertoire.

Barbican Quartet

Amarins Wierdsma, violin
Kate Maloney, violin
Christoph Slenczka, viola
Yoanna Prodanova, cello

Four international musicians, four unique personalities, one string quartet. The Barbican Quartet is an original voice on the chamber music scene, delighting audiences with their intimately powerful performances and virtuosic ensemble playing.

Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 7:30pm
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