February 2020

Bella plays Florence Price Violin Concerto No. 1

February 2020 (KNOXVILLE, TN) Bella Hristova performed the Florence Price Violin Concerto No. 1 with conductor Aram Demirjian on Feb 20th and 21st and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Price’s catalogue was mostly lost and long neglected until recent years when the American composer’s music has enjoyed renewed interest for its lyricism and craftsmanship.

Of the performance, Arts Knoxville noted: “Not only was Hristova’s lusciously romantic rendering a model of that charm and sophistication, it was a virtuosic example of creating atmosphere with string textures.

In the first movement particularly, Price makes references to some of the great European concertos of the 19th Century, both in spirit and in suggestion, but that borrowed spirit is contrasted with an Americana ebullience that is more idealism and optimism, than realism. Demirjian and Hristova found common ground amid the textural suggestions of both Main Street and unexpected side alleyways of dissonance and syncopation, with Hristova applying the double stop textures of bluesy jazz and folksy melodies as if paint on a canvas. The two cadenzas, notated by Price, were played exquisitely. And, like the finale of the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s concerto, Price created in hers an equally rousing finish that practically compels enthusiastic applause.”