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Isabelle Faust to Play Complete Solo Bach Violin Sonatas & Partitas in Princeton University Chapel

October 29, 2015

Princeton University Concerts is excited to announce a special event: on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 7PM, one of the most sought-after violinists in the world—Isabelle Faust—will play the complete solo violin Sonatas and Partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach in the Princeton University Chapel, one of the largest collegiate Gothic chapels in the world. Gesturing toward a new concert format launched this year called PUC125: Performances Up Close, this concert will be presented in-the-round with the violinist elevated on a platform in an illuminated setting. Given the intimate nature of the re-configured space and its acoustic, seating is limited.
Each facet of this concert on its own would render this concert a “special” event—whether the presence of such an esteemed violinist playing a Stradivarius violin, the performance of music at the core of both Western classical music repertoire and violin repertoire rarely performed as a complete cycle, or the presentation of sacred music within the soaring arches of an internationally-celebrated sacred space. Faust’s interpretations of this repertoire are legendary: her recordings of the complete Bach solo violin sonatas and partitas are hailed by Gramophone as “the most definitive modern performance of these extraordinary works.” Together, all of these elements combine into an event of manifestly epic proportions; indeed, the running time is just about three hours, including one extended intermission (with fortifying refreshments provided). Yet as much as each of these aspects might be obvious, there is another less apparent factor which renders this concert truly remarkable and which will not become apparent until the first notes are played: the phenomenon of immense, palpable discovery.
The works to be performed at this concert are some of the most famous and popular in Western music history, religiously passing through the fingers of every aspiring violin student and standing on the music stand of every professional violinist. The challenge lies in uncovering new dimensions in the infinite depth of possibilities encoded in Bach’s score.  It is then particularly fitting that Faust plays on a Stradivarius violin dubbed The Sleeping Beauty, an instrument that lay dormant in a bank vault for decades before being “discovered.”
Yet in unearthing a new interpretation of these masterpieces, the violinist simultaneously unearths her own distinct voice; in hearing them performed, we become a part of this private discovery. As Faust says herself, “the sonatas and partitas have accompanied me ever since my first steps in music, and are the daily bedrock of my approach to the entire violin literature… Even after [years of study], the interpreter stands stunned and often also baffled before a masterpiece of this stature. It seems to me that here the journey is its own reward – the constant striving to get a step closer to the unattainable by tirelessly pressing onwards.” We often come to a concert responding to a specific, recognized trait—a reputation, a certain piece, a special environment—and this event teems with such draws. But perhaps the most cherished aspect of classical music is the unending novelty within familiarity, and Princeton University Concerts promises just that.
WHEN:  Monday, November 16, 2015 at 7PM
WHAT: BACH The Complete Sonatas and Partitas, BWV 1001-1006
  Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001
  Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002
  Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, BWV 1003
  Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006
  Sonata No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005
  Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004
WHERE: Princeton University Concerts, Princeton University Chapel
TICKETS: $40 General; $10 Students. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 609-258-9220, or in person two hours prior to the concert at the box office in the lobby of the Princeton University Chapel
PHOTOS: Please contact Dasha Koltunyuk at or 609-258-6024
For further information please contact Dasha Koltunyuk at or 609-258-6024

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Dasha (Darya) Koltunyuk
Phone:  609-258-6024