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For a Major Debut, a Young Violinist Gets Personal
By Joshua Barone
The New York Times
In another life, Randall Goosby would have been a pianist.
When offered the opportunity to learn an instrument as a child, he chose the violin but was told he was too small for it. So he started on piano instead. He struggled, and his mother, who had nudged him and his siblings toward lessons in the first place, could see that his self-esteem was beginning to wane.
Then they decided to give the violin another try, and something clicked.
“I would come home from school, and whereas my brother and sister wanted to play, I would throw open the violin case,” Goosby, now 24, recalled in a recent interview. “I was pretty much playing violin all the time.”
He breezed through the first several books of the Suzuki method at a pace that would make an average violin student feel inept. All signs pointed to something more promising than a simple love for a new instrument.
At 13, Goosby became the youngest winner of the Sphinx Competition’s junior division, then was invited to appear in a Young People’s Concert with the New York Philharmonic. It wouldn’t be long before he was a protégé of the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman. And now, not even done with his education at the Juilliard School, Goosby is making his major label debut with the album “Roots,” released Friday on Decca.
The album, Perlman said in an interview, demonstrates that Goosby “knows who he is, and he wants to make sure everybody does as well.”
It’s not the usual debut. Where many young musicians might make their mark with a war horse concerto by Mendelssohn, Bruch or Beethoven, Goosby instead assembled a sweeping recital program of works by Black composers — including a premiere written by the bassist Xavier Dubois Foley and first recordings of Florence Price discoveries — as well as by Dvorak and Gershwin, two white composers whose music on the album reveals an indebtedness to their Black peers.
“A debut recording has to express the signature of the artist, and that’s exactly what this is, from someone who is a perfect advocate as a performer, but also a perfect advocate as a communicator of what this music means,” said Dominic Fyfe, the director of Decca. “It’s always exciting to see young artists which are right at the beginning of the runway.”
A student at The Juilliard School, where he is pursuing an Artist Diploma, 24 year-old Randall Goosby is under the tutelage of Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho. At age 13, he was the youngest ever winner in the junior division of the Sphinx Competition. He is the recipient of Sphinx’s Isaac Stern Award and has made two appearances at Carnegie Hall as part of the organization’s Young Artist Development Program. The New York Times raved that in his Carnegie Hall debut performance of Ysaye Solo Sonata No.3, he “exerted a masterly level of control and lavished an exquisite tone… his performance won him a deserved standing ovation for its sheer virtuosity.”
Randall Goosby was also a prize winner at the 2018 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, leading to his addition to the artist roster of Young Classical Artists Trust, in London. He has been honored as a Rising Star of the Stradivari Society and he currently plays on a Guarneri Del Gesu (1735) on loan from the Society.
In October 2020, Decca Classics signed Randall Goosby. His debut album is set for release next spring and will feature music by African American composers. “For me,” he said, “music has always been a way to inspire others. It’s part of my quest as an artist to amplify black voices in classical music, bringing heightened recognition to this incredible music.” Label Director of Decca Classics Dominic Fyfe said, “In his playing Randall looks back to a golden age of violin greats, as befits a student of Itzhak Perlman, and in his advocacy for music education, outreach and diversity, he is a forward-looking ambassador for the future of our industry.”
As a soloist, Randall Goosby has performed widely throughout the US, having appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony, among others. He has also given recitals at such venues as the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Kaufman Center (New York City) and Wigmore Hall (London).
In addition to his concerts, Randall Goosby shares his love of music through community engagement programs for public schools, children’s hospitals, and music programs across the US. Through Concerts in Motion, he provides private house concerts for elderly and otherwise homebound patrons. He also gives virtual performances for COVID-19 patients through Project Music Heals Us. In addition, he mentors and works closely with young musicians in schools around the UK.
Randall Goosby began violin studies at the age of 7 and made his solo debut with the Jacksonville Symphony (FL) at age 9. He received a full scholarship to The Juilliard School’s Pre-College program and has earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from Juilliard studying with violinists Itzhak Perlman, Catherine Cho, Laurie Smukler, and Donald Weilerstein. He is now pursuing an Artist Diploma at Juilliard, where he will continue his studies with Mr. Perlman and Ms. Cho. He was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship throughout his collegiate studies at Juilliard. He is also the recipient of a career advancement grant from the Bagby Foundation. He has spent his summers studying at the Perlman Music Program, Verbier Festival Academy, and Mozarteum Summer Academy, among others.
Pianist Zhu Wang, born in Hunan Province, is a post-baccalaureate Artist Diploma student of Robert McDonald at the Curtis Institute of Music. Zhu Wang was one of the three winners of the 2020 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. Praised for his “technical mastery and deep sense of lyricism,” (The Durango Herald), Zhu Wang is also the first prize winner of the 2nd Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians, Hilton Head Young Artist Piano Competition, Music Academy of the West Solo Piano Competition and Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer International Scholarship Piano Competition. The world-renowned Chinese pianist Fou T’song recognized Zhu as an “excellent pianist with natural sense of harmony and imagination,” whose sensitive and engaging performances exhibit a remarkable depth of musicianship and poise beyond his age.
Highlights of the 2019-20 season included a solo recital in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and a recital tour with violinist Randall Goosby. Zhu has performed all over the world, including the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, New York Morgan Library, and in China, Italy, Poland, and Japan. Since his orchestral debut at age 14 with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, where he performed Mozart Piano Concerto No.21, he has soloed with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, Brunensis Virtuosi Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, San Juan Symphony, and Xiamen Philharmonic.
Zhu is an active chamber musician and new music promoter. He world premiered American composer Timo Andres’s “Moving Etudes” in his national tour. He has appeared in numerous festivals in the US and abroad, notably in China and Italy.
Zhu has studied with and performed for many influential pianists, including Gary Graffman, Arie Vardi, Fou T’song, Stephen Hough, Murray Perahia, Jerome Lowenthal, Robert Levin, Matti Raekallio, and Jeremy Denk. He is also the recipient of special prizes for the best Waltz, preludes, and Mazurka in the 5th International Chopin Young Artist Piano Competition and the 16th Asian Chopin International Piano Competition in Japan.
Zhu began studying piano at the age of five. He is a graduate from the Music Middle School Affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Zhe Tang. Zhu studied for his Bachelor of Music Degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Robert McDonald, where he was the recipient of the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship.
Viola and Piano
Described as “ravishing” (Strad), “enlightened” (BBC), “explosive” (Virginia Gazette), and “irresistibly elegant” (Diario De Leon), Violist Molly Carr and pianist Anna Petrova are widely recognized for their fiery musical expression, refined artistry, and relentless entrepreneurial dedication to social initiatives. Both acclaimed international soloists, as individuals they have won top prizes in several international competitions and have been featured in such world-renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, and Lincoln Center. They have participated in numerous festivals, and their performances have been broadcast on major radio and TV networks.
Carr and Petrova began playing together during their years at The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, and have since performed together across Europe, the Middle East and North America, in venues ranging from Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall to soup kitchens and food pantries in New Orleans.
Their debut album “Novel Voices” was released on Melos Records in October 2019 to critical acclaim. Spain’s Classical Music Magazine “Ritmo” chose it as one of their “Top 10 CDs of the Month.” Fanfare Magazine listed the album as “magical” and a “recording to have and to hold dear, […] one of the most successful viola and piano recitals – technically perfect and musically involving.”
Highlights of the 2019-2020 season include a debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, praised by the Classical Post as “categorically astonishing in its beauty, ensemble, artistry, quality of sound, and almost uncanny ability to draw into the music.” Other appearances include recitals in the Smithsonian Museum, Jerusalem, Malaga, Valencia, and Clarke Arts Center at the Perlman Music Program. The Duo’s involvement in launching and performing for Project: Music Heals Us bedside concerts for hospitalized COVID patients, garnered international attention and was featured in news outlets around the world. Their future engagements include a tour of China, performances and master classes in Spain, Israel, and the US.
In August 2018, the Duo launched their interdisciplinary project called Novel Voices Refugee Aid Project (winner of Music Academy of the West’s Alumni Enterprise Award) – a project designed to give voice and visibility to refugee communities around the globe while raising awareness and support for both local and international refugee-aid organizations. The project brought classical music performances and musical workshops to refugee camps and aid-programs around the globe, commissioned a new work by composer Fernando Arroyo Lascurain, and will be the feature of a documentary by film-makers Victoria Stevens and Skyler Knutzen which will premiere in 2021. In support of this project, and in honor of the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, the Duo was invited by the United Nations to present and speak about the Novel Voices Refugee Aid Project while performing a concert program inspired by the Ten Acts for the Global Compact on Migrants and Refugees in October 2018.
The Duo is represented by Iberkonzert Artist Management in Spain.
Carr and Petrova are also members of the clarinet-viola-piano Iris Trio. During the 2019-2020 season, the Iris Trio toured Germany with an innovative program featuring contemporary composers and recorded their debut album “Hommage and Inspiration” with works by Schumann, Mozart, Kurtag and Weiss. Their future engagements include a CD release tour of Canada with performances of their new project featuring classical music pieces by jazz composers.
Carr and Petrova are accomplished musicians on their own right.
Violist Molly Carr enjoys a diverse musical career as recitalist, chamber musician, educator, and artistic director. She has been the recipient of numerous international prizes and awards, including the Primrose International Viola Competition, Chamber Music America, ProMusicis Foundation, Davidson Institute, Virtu Foundation, MAW Alumni Enterprise Awards, ASTA, and ARTS among many others. Her performances have taken her across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and been broadcast on major networks in the US and abroad. In October 2018, Ms. Carr was honored at the United Nations for her work with refugees around the globe through the Carr-Petrova Duo’s Novel Voices Refugee Aid Project; she was also chosen as one of America’s leading “Creative Women” – subsequently appearing on the Sandi Klein Show “Conversations with Creative Women.”
She has appeared as both performer and guest faculty in major festivals around the world, from Malboro, Music@Menlo, Ravinia to Yellow Barn and Prussia Cove (England) and has collaborated with such renowned artists as Itzhak Perlman, Carter Brey, Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Donald and Alisa Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, and the Miro, Orion and American Quartets, performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Chicago Symphony Center, and the Jerusalem Music Center.
Upcoming seasons will see the release of several more albums, including a multi-album recording project with Enescu Competition Grand Prize Winner, Josu de Solaun, recording the complete piano and string chamber music of George Enescu on the NAXOS label.
She is also the Founding Director for the award-winning non-profit Project: Music Heals Us, an organization which brings free chamber music performances and interactive programming to marginalized populations with limited ability to access the Arts themselves.
Carr serves on the Viola Faculties of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School’s Precollege Program, and Musical Arts Madrid in Spain. She holds a B.M. and M.M. from The Juilliard School, having studied with Heidi Castleman, Steven Tenenbom, Patinka Kopec, and Pinchas Zukerman.
Bulgarian pianist Anna Petrova performs extensively as a soloist and chamber musician. At her New York orchestral debut with conductor Philippe Entremont, Petrova was noted for her “ultra-smooth playing style.” (New York Fine Arts Examiner).
In the 2019-2020 season, Petrova performed Grieg Piano Concerto with the Louisville Orchestra and Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 with the D.C. Strings Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Following the onset of the pandemic and the cancellation of all future live performances, Petrova performed in numerous online events with the Carr-Petrova Duo. The Duo’s involvement in launching and performing for Project: Music Heals Us bedside concerts for hospitalized COVID patients, garnered international attention and was featured in news outlets around the world. Her debut solo album, Slavic Heart, featuring works by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin and Vladigerov, will be released in early 2021. Currently, Petrova is working on a two-CD set of the complete piano sonatas of Russian composer Samuil Feinberg for NAXOS. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Alberto Jonás International School of Music in Valencia, Spain and one of the founding members of the Festival Malaga Clasica.
In past seasons, Petrova has recorded Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and conductor JoAnn Falletta (NAXOS, 2016) and has been on a solo tour of China; she has given performances of Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and the Second Concerto, Prokofiev First and Third Piano Concertos, and Beethoven Triple Concerto.
Prizewinner of numerous international competitions, including José Roca (Spain), Bösendorfer (Bulgaria) and Maria Yudina (Russia), Petrova was a semifinalist at the Queen Elizabeth International Piano Competition in Belgium, where she performed as a soloist with the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia.
She has given solo recitals at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Brussels’ Conservatoire Royal, Chicago’s Preston Bradley Hall, as well as in Vienna, Leon and Valencia. Her performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio, New York’s WQXR, Chicago’s WFMT, and Bulgarian National Radio and Television.
Petrova holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music, having studied with Horacio Gutierrez and Andre-Michel Schub. She is an Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Louisville, KY and visiting professor at Musical Arts Madrid.