UChicago Presents:When did you begin playing together? What do you most admire about the other musically?

Alexander Melnikov:We started playing together about 15 years ago. From the very first time I heard Isabelle (in Oxford, UK, at a chamber music festival) I felt with disarming clarity that this is a violinist of my dreams. This feeling keeps reinforcing itself ever since.


UCP: Talk about the process of recording your Grammy-nominated 2010 Beethoven cycle. What went into the decision to tackle this particular cycle?

AM: We were much younger and we just wanted to do it... That's all I remember now!


UCP: Did the process of recording a complete Beethoven Violin Sonata cycle inform your perspective on these works in profound or unexpected ways?

AM: Yes. Beethoven’s music is absolutely unique in a sense that you can play the same work all your life (which may seemingly consist only of tonic and dominant harmonies), but all your life you will keep discovering new things in there: simple, complex, genius… Often you don't believe how you could have missed them.


UCP: What upcoming recording projects / recitals do you have together? Is there another sonata cycle you'd like to take on in the foreseeable future?

AM: Well, we have recorded Beethoven, Brahms, most of the Schubert already. And naturally we are looking at Mozart now.