Back to the Future: Leila Josefowicz finds fresh treasure in arrangements and rarities

Chicago Classical Review

By George Grella

Leila Josefowicz doesn’t appear to be a revolutionary. The violinist’s debut recording, when she was 18, paired the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius concertos.

Since that 1995 release, she has made her distinctive mark in the classical world playing both standard and modern repertory, and collaborating with John Adams.

“Tradition decides so much of what we do in classical music,“ she said earlier this week, speaking from San Francisco. “I am here to challenge that to the end of my days. Some of it is valuable, but its [use is] so unthinking.”

Josefowicz aims to repurpose, and rethink the iconography of classical music by questioning every assumption about every work she plays. She’ll bring that approach to the University of Chicago Presents series Friday night at Mandel Hall, part of a five-city U.S. tour, with regular recital partner, pianist John Novacek.

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