World premiere of iGeneration in Novosibirsk

Our students Ilva Eigus and Sophie Branson played at the world premiere of iGeneration by Daniel Schnyder at the Trans-Siberian Art Festival in Novosibirsk, together with the festival’s founder, Vadim Repin.

iGeneration is a Concerto grosso for two adult soloists (violin and cello) and two young violinists. The Zakhar Bron School of Music and the Trans-Siberian Art Festival commissioned the piece from New York based Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder, who tailor-made it for our students Ilva Eigus and Sophie Branson. On March 24, 2018 – the theme of the evening was “Children Play for Children: Musical Fairytales” – they presented it for the first time, together with Vadim Repin (violin), Alexander Buzlov (cello) and the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Alim Shakhmametyev.

The name of the piece, which was finalized only by mid-January, refers to the young generation born after 1995 into a globalized world. In it, Schnyder alludes to a full panoply of motives ranging from Swiss yodelling melodies to Asian sounds all the way to Jazz. Travel and other costs for the performance were covered by Pro Helvetia.

Only three rehearsals were possible – too few actually for a contemporary piece which poses quite some rhythmic and tonal challenges. The first and most important rehearsal took place under the baton of Vadim Repin, with only eight musicians from the orchestra and no conductor. It greatly improved a common understanding of the piece and brought about many changes in Ilva’s and Sophie’s playing. The second rehearsal, with full orchestra and conductor, was already much more stable and concise. It provided Daniel Schnyder with the opportunity to better explain his musical ideas. The third rehearsal was immediately before the preview, which, again with the octet only, took place in front of an audience of sponsors and local authorities in a vacated factory hall in Novosibirsk. The performance went very well, aside from a few minor flaws which were polished overnight.

The premiere the next day in the modern concert hall accommodating a thousand people in the city centre, was completely sold out. And the audience was so enthusiastic, it applauded even between movements. For Ilva and Sophie it was an incredibly great experience to perform together with a world star like Repin, and they obviously enjoyed it. Their solo at the beginning of the second movement was so well accomplished that Repin encouraged the audience to a spontaneous applause. Also the composer Daniel Schnyder expressed his delight after the performance.