In this week’s Metro Pulse, I review last Sunday’s concert by the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra–a concert that included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and his Overture to Creatures of Prometheus, along with three works that featured KSO concertmaster Gabriel Lefkowitz in solo roles: Beethoven’s Romance No. 2, Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, and the Rondo movement of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 2.
Lefkowitz’s performance was phenomenal, to say the least. His virtuosity extends far beyond what one reasonably expects from even the best concertmasters in the top orchestras internationally. In addition to his performance ability, the 26 year-old violinist is an attractive and charismatic individual who brightens whatever stage he enters. I know from first hand conversations that the KSO management consider him a star for them. Yet, with this asset, they did nothing other than the usual “preaching to the choir/subscribers” as a way of marketing the concert. The Bijou Theatre on Gay Street where the KSCO performs was only about half full for the concert. My ecstasy over the performance was tempered by my embarrassment and sorrow for KSO’s blown opportunity to reach out to new and younger audiences.