American violinist Benjamin Beilman is making his mark in recitals and as soloist in orchestral programs, both at home and abroad. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the 25-year-old Curtis graduate enthusiastically embraces a wide range of music. Beilman performs Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto with The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI, Sunday, May 10 at 1 pm.
SL: Benjamin Beilman plays Mendelssohn and other masters of the past and present with equal gusto.
BB: I rarely think of pieces as...this is a 21st-century or 19th-century piece. Ideally, all are music. You have the same techniques, the same approach, the same regard, most importantly...it's all part of a spectrum...it's not different streams, different branches…it's all great music.
SL: Beilman was an 18-year-old principal second violin in the Curtis Orchestra when it workshopped and premiered Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto, written for Hilary Hahn; he didn’t realize then that he’d one day be playing it as soloist, but knew it was a work destined for many more performances.
BB: Yeah, the sign of a great concerto is that...it begs to be interpreted in different ways.
SL: Beilman is tech savvy, and participates in social media...he finds studying and performing music provides a different kind of, and deeper satisfaction. I’m guilty of being stuck on my phone, and Twitter, and Facebook. These are things that take your attention for 30 seconds or a minute. With music, you’re examining something much broader, more sustained and eternal.
SL: Among other honors, Beilman has received the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust fellowship, a 2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the 2012 London Music Masters Award.
Beilman was just 20 when he debuted with The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann; a year later he won the 2010 Montreal International Competition, and the People's Choice Award.
Benjamin Beilman plays Kreisler's Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta in 2012: