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Festival Baltimore - Brahms: The Complete Violin Sonatas

Thursday, June 22, 2017
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Concert Hall

Festival Baltimore's fifth concert features the duo Netanel Draiblate and Lura Johnson performing musician and audience violin and piano favorites.


Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) complete violin sonatas:

No.1 in G major, Op.78; No.2 in A major, Op.100; No.3 in d minor, Op. 108

Tickets can be purchased at the Festival Baltimore website

Hailed as “an extremely gifted violinist with a strong stage personality and charisma,” Netanel Draiblate has concertized across four continents. The versatile artist performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist and has been praised in The Washington Post as “a violinist who combines confidence and virtuosity with a playful musical personality.”

Draiblate’s recent and upcoming highlights include appearances with the Brasilia Concert Society Orchestra, the Ashdod, Rishon Le Zion and Mediterranean Symphony Orchestras, the Thelma Yellin Symphony Orchestra, the Tel-Aviv Soloists, and the Lake Forest, Lancaster and Annapolis Symphonies. His summer schedule included concerts and master classes in Brazil, and a residency at the Nuevo Mundo Festival in Aruba.

Solo engagements include his debut with the American Symphony at Carnegie Hall, Israel Chamber Orchestra, and Turkey’s Bursa Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared as soloist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra on a tour throughout China.

Draiblate recently toured with his duo partner, pianist Lura Johnson as Times Two where they performed selections from their CD, Perspectives and led a string quartet in a special program celebrating the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli diplomatic relations at Carnegie Hall, with an encore performance in Washington, DC for the Embassy Series. 

As a chamber musician, Draiblate has collaborated with such luminaries as Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, ltzhak Perlman, Jaime Laredo, Mauro Bertoli and Cho Liang Lin, performing in many of the world’s premiere venues. He is a member of the Washington, DC based PostClassical Ensemble whose mission is to perform works created after 1900. Draiblate and pianist Lura Johnson continue to explore the lesser known works for violin/piano duo.

Perspectives, Draiblate’s debut solo recording was recognized by American Record Guide as “very exciting and engaging.”

The recording features works by Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Elgar, Grieg and Kreisler. Future projects include a recording of Draiblate’s original arrangement of Introduction/Theme and Variations on The Star Spangled Banner for solo violin and an encore disc with Lura Johnson.

A sought-after teacher, Draiblate is the Director of Chamber Music at Georgetown University and serves on the faculty of the Dali Quartet Summer Festival, Annapolis Young Artists Program, and The Levine School serving greater metro-DC area. He has led master classes at Towson University, Goiania University (Brazil), Brasilia University (Brazil), Recife Conservatory (Brazil), the Holon Young Artists Festival (Israel) and has previously taught at the West Branch International Festival, the Endless Mountain Music Festival, for the World Youth Orchestra and the Campina-Grande International Music Festival in Brazil, and the Nuevo Mundo Festival in Aruba.

Recognized as a violinist whose artistry “combines confidence and eloquence,” Draiblate is currently concertmaster of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the newly appointed concertmaster of the Lake Forest Symphony. He has also served as concertmaster of the Lancaster Symphony, Tel-Aviv Soloists, the World Youth Orchestra, Israel Young Philharmonic, and held a leading position with the historic West Eastern Divan Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Daniel Barenboim.

In 2012 Draiblate created ND-Publishing to publish his original compositions as well as cadenzas for celebrated concertos. His Beethoven and Brahms Violin Concerti performances this season will feature his newly composed cadenzas for these works that will also be published later this year.

In celebration of the Oslo Accords fourth anniversary, Draiblate performed in a special concert hosted by the King of Norway. His awards include first prize at the Jerusalem Academy Solo Competition (1998), the Ben-Haim Competition (1995), finalist at the Young Artists Competition in Haifa (1999), and a major prize in the Peabody Conservatory's Yale Gordon Competition (2006). He was the first violinist to be supported by the Ilona Feher Foundation and performed in the foundation’s Gala concert at Carnegie Hall. Early in his career he was honored to play on the personal violin of Ms. Feher. Scholarships have been awarded to him from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Ronen Foundation, the Barenboim-Said Foundation, the Buchman Haiman Foundation and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. As child, Draiblate was asked to play for Isaac Stern during a master class in Jerusalem. Following the class, Stern arranged to give a 7/8 violin to him with a note saying “he would like me to have it until I grew out of it.”

Draiblate studied with the renowned Pamela Frank, Vali Blutner, Hagai Shaham, Shmuel Ashkenasi and David Salness, and has participated in master classes with Isaac Stern, Dorothy Delay, Pinchas Zukerman, Zachar Bron and Miriam Fried.

Draiblate is playing on a Victor Fetique bow circa 1930.

When not concertizing, Mr. Draiblate enjoys cooking, flying and playing soccer.

Pianist Lura Johnson is a Steinway Artist and the Second Prizewinner, as a member of Duo Baltinati with cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn, of the 2015 International Johannes Brahms Competition Chamber Music Division. Hailed as “brilliant” by the Washington Post, she is celebrated for her passionate and insightful interpretations of the standard repertoire and esteemed by colleagues for her uncommon sensitivity and skill as a collaborative partner. Equally comfortable as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician, she is the Principal Pianist of the Delaware Symphony and has performed extensively as the pianist of choice for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007. Trained by luminaries Robert McDonald and Leon Fleisher, Ms. Johnson has collaborated extensively in orchestral performances and recordings with Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Leila Josefowicz, Joshua Bell, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and has performed as soloist with the Baltimore and Delaware Symphonies.

Ms. Johnson’s discography includes a 2001 album, The Jennings-Johnson Duo, with flutist Christina Jennings, and 2010 Centaur Records release of Inner Voice, with BSO violist Peter Minkler, featuring sonatas by Rochberg and Shostakovich. This recording of Arvo Pärt’s spiegel im spiegel was featured in the official teaser trailer for the 2013 Warner Brothers film Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

Ms. Johnson can also be heard on several recordings released by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, including Naxos’ Grammy nominated release of the Bernstein Mass, on which she played principal keyboard. Ms. Johnson’s first solo CD, Turning, was released in summer of 2014. Ms. Johnson has recorded for the Foxridge, Naxos, Innova, Centaur, Albany, and Azica labels.

Devoted to chamber music from an early age, her many recital partners include Baltimore Symphony concertmaster Jonathan Carney, with whom she has presented the complete Brahms violin sonata cycle, clarinetist Anthony McGill, cellists Ilya Finkelshteyn, Amit Peled and Kenneth Slowik, and flutist Marina Piccinini. She is a founding member of three duos, the Jennings-Johnson Duo with flutist Christina Jennings, Times Two with violinist Netanel Draiblate, and Duo Lalu, a cabaret duo with soprano Lara Bruckmann. She performs with VERGE Ensemble, 21st Century Consort, PostClassical Ensemble, and the Towson New Music Ensemble.

Ms. Johnson has taught piano at the Peabody Conservatory since 2002 and from 2013-2015 was Director of Chamber Music at Georgetown University in Washington. She has taught on the faculty of the Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music.

Formerly the Artistic Director of Baltimore chamber music series Music in the Great Hall, Lura has also worked as Pianist and General Manager of the PostClassical Ensemble in Washington, DC, an innovative and wildly ambitious chamber orchestra that is reinventing and reinvigorating the presentation of classical music with programming that is thematic and cross-discliplinary.

When not onstage, Lura can be found on the dance floor. She is an avid social and competitive dancer with roots in gymnastics, ballet, and ballroom, specializing now in West Coast Swing.

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