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The Man of Many Passions – Meet Violinist Philippe Quint

“Here is a fiddle virtuoso whose many awards are fully justified by the brilliance of his playing.” -- The Chicago Tribune

Meet Philippe Quint, Russian-born violinist making his debut with the Colorado Symphony on Nov. 20-21 performing in the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique concert. However, this won’t be Philippe’s first time playing in Denver; in fact, he played here with the then Denver Chamber Orchestra back in the early 90’s as his first professional gig outside of New York after defecting from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Think that’s interesting? It gets better.

A man of many passions 
Philippe is the 2014 winner of the “Ambassador of Arts” award presented by the Brownstone and Gateway Organizations at the United Nations. Philippe says that he does outreach programs worldwide, speaks at universities, talks at concerts, but also just talks to people in the grocery story constantly trying to spread the love of music and learn more from others how music can influence communities.

Music is not Philippe’s only talent, he has also been a successful film actor and actually played a lead role in the 2012 film Downtown Express co-starring Nellie McKay, produced Michael Hausmann (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain, and Amadeus), and directed by multi-Emmy winning director David Grubin.

Philippe plays Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique with your Colorado Symphony
See Philippe Quint perform Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique with the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Symphony Chorus on Nov. 20-21.

The program starts off with Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms for Chorus and Orchestra and Violin Concerto in D Major. Philippe says that he loves this Stravinsky program, saying that it’s one of the most powerful and moving pieces he’s ever played. During the piece, the full orchestra and the chorus unite with Philippe’s violin to create a spectacular program.

Philippe actually has quite a history with this composer’s work. “It’s something I have a huge affinity for,” Philippe says. “I became absolutely obsessed with Stravinsky. I listened to his works, I read books by him, I even got to stay a house where he composed much of his music.”

Philippe likes to tell a particular story about this Concerto in D Major piece. In 1931 Stravinsky was asked to write the piece for the violinist Samuel Dushkin. Stravinsky wanted a certain violin chord put into a piece and wrote it down on a napkin while he and Dushkin were having lunch in Paris. Stravinsky pushed the napkin to Dushkin who looked at what was written and immediately pushed it back saying that it was impossible, the distance of the chord was too large for a player’s hand to reach. But then Dushkin went home later and tried to make the chord work, finding an angle at which he could stretch his hand to play the chord. He immediately understood the beauty of Stravinsky’s composing and called to tell him to use the chord in his piece. Now each of the four movements of Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major begins with that impossible chord.  

After Stravinsky's piece, the program continues to Hector Berlioz's early Romantic tour de force Symphonie fantastique, which tells the bizarre story of the protagonist’s love for a young woman that sweeps from joy to jealousy into an opium-fueled dream of a witches' sabbath. 

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