I remember so well the first time I heard violinist Arturo Delmoni play. It was years ago at the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall. Not only was his sound luscious and beautiful, he used it to deliver the music with style, warmth and expressiveness that made each performance compelling and irresistible. If that were not enough, his charismatic virtuosity could be genuinely exciting.
Immediately after the concert, I suggested to cellist Peter Sanders, director of the festival, that he make Delmoni a regular (he did), and Sanders’ response was, “Oh, you like old-fashioned violin?” I replied, “No, I like good violin.”
What sets Delmoni apart from most of today’s violinists is that he uses all the assets of the violin in the expression of music. Today’s approach is clean and precise, sometimes exciting, but seldom unique and as deliciously beautiful. It’s no surprise that Delmoni was a student of the great Jascha Heifetz.
And, if you don’t believe me, superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma described Delmoni as “an enormously gifted musician and an impeccable violinist. His playing style is unique, and his gorgeous sound is reminiscent of that of great violinists from a bygone era.”
If you haven’t heard Delmoni yet — and if you have, you’ll certainly be there — you have a chance. He will be performing an unusual virtuoso violin recital in Montpelier, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Unitarian Church. The performance is being presented by Laurel Ann Maurer’s Vermont Virtuosi, with whom Delmoni has performed several times.
Joined by pianist Li-Pi Hseih, Delmoni will perform Baroque composer Gaetano Pugnani’s Sonata No. 1 in E major, Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata, Grieg’s Sonata No. 2 in G major, and the world premiere of “Ricerarturo,” written for the violinist by Barre composer David Gunn. Most of the second half, though, will be devoted to short virtuoso arrangements of music by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Debussy.
An interesting factoid: Delmoni attended high school in Brooklyn with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Times Argus-Rutland Herald arts writer Art Edelstein.
Delmoni has become something of a familiar face in Vermont, thanks to the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival. He spends three months a year as concertmaster of the New York City Ballet orchestra (Peter Sanders is a longtime cellist there) and the remainder as a touring soloist. Since his first Vermont appearance, he has performed regularly with Capital City Concerts, as well as Vermont Virtuosi and the Randolph chamber music festival.
Like most great virtuosos, Delmoni started young. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 14 playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Little Orchestra Society under Thomas Scherman. Since then, he has been soloist with major orchestras throughout the country, including those of St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Kansas City. He has been a frequent soloist in Boston with the Boston Pops, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, and the Boston Philharmonic. He has given recitals throughout the U.S., as well as in Japan and Hong Kong.
Several years ago, I had the good fortune to hear Delmoni play the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. My review, I think, pretty much said it all:
“In this day of cookie-cutter playing — all flash but little substance — Delmoni’s performance was a ray of sunshine — a personal and beautiful statement, expertly executed, of history’s greatest violin concerto.”