MUSIC NEWS : Markov--Career Violinist

Since early childhood, Alexander Markov has dreamed of a career as a violinist. “It’s the one thing I’ve wanted, and I’ve worked steadily and surely for it.” The only child of two concert violinists, Albert and Marina Markov, Alexander lived in his native Moscow until the age of 12, when his family brought him to this country.

“My father was my main teacher--I really never studied with anyone else,” the 25-year-old musician acknowledged on the phone from Connecticut just a week before he is to fly to California for his debut recital at Ambassador Auditorium on Monday night. Markov’s mother--a working musician who now plays with several New York-area orchestras, including the pit band at New York City Opera--also encouraged him in his focus, he says.

The recital, on the Gold Medal series, may be a debut, yet young Markov has played here before: When Albert Markov first appeared in Southern California, in December, 1977, father and son (then 14 years old) offered a duet as one of the encores at that Ambassador Auditorium concert.

Nothing has stood in the way of pursuing his career, Markov fils says. When asked if he has any interests outside the violin, he responds earnestly, “Like what?”


And the time he has saved, he claims, by not going to college or conservatory has put him ahead of would-be competitors in the area of repertory.

“I see now I was right to concentrate only on the violin,” he says, proudly. “I’ve been able to build a career with all the time I have saved through devoting all my energy in one place.”

His Ambassador program reflects his eclectic violinistic interests, he says. It includes major sonatas by Beethoven and Bartok, Robert Schumann’s long-neglected Fantasia in A minor (in the violin/piano reduction by Kreisler), a selection of Paganini Caprices (“I will play six to eight,” promises Markov) and the same composer’s Variations on a Theme From “Moses” by Rossini. The emphasis on Paganini is no accident; the younger Markov, like his father before him, specializes in the virtuosic repertory of that legendary figure.

“But we don’t compete,” cautions the dutiful son. “He specializes in the Second Concerto, and I specialize in the First. It would never do for both of us to be practicing the same piece at the same time.”

ALSO THIS WEEK: Julien Musafia presents a program entitled “Dances for the Piano” in Gerald Daniel Recital Hall at Cal State Long Beach, today at 4 p.m. Among those to be represented will be Smetana, Chopin, Bartok, Liszt and Copland.

And pianist Leon Bates appears with the Long Beach Symphony playing Bartok’s Third Piano Concerto, Saturday night at 8 in Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Convention center. Music director Murry Sidlin will conduct music by Wagner and Copland to round out this program.

AN ARCHIVE ARRIVES: The Aaron Cohen Collection--500 books, 10,000 recordings and 6,800 clipping files, representing one of the largest such aggregations in the world on women composers and musicians--has been received at Cal State Northridge. Accepting this gift to the university from Cohen, author of two editions of the International Encyclopedia of Women Composers, were Beverly Grigsby and Jeannie Pool, co-directors of the Cal State Northridge International Institute for the Study of Women in Music.

The institute is located in the Cal State Northridge Music Building. Use of the collection is by appointment; call (818) 885-3157.

HONORING: A 3-day symposium marking the centennial of the birth of Lotte Lehmann will take place at UC Santa Barbara May 28-30. Sponsored by the Lehmann Archives of the UCSB Library, the event will offer lectures dealing with the soprano’s career and life, multimedia programs and a panel discussion by former Lehmann students--the celebrated soprano spent the last three decades of her life teaching in Santa Barbara. In addition, one of Lehmann’s students, soprano Carol Neblett, will give a recital in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall May 28 at 8 p.m. For information, write Lehmann Centennial, c/o Joseph Boissee, University of California Library, Santa Barbara 93106.

Honoring the late Kurt Herbert Adler, general director of San Francisco Opera from 1953 to 1981, the San Francisco Symphony will dedicate six performances of Berlioz’s Requiem to Adler’s memory May 25-June 4 in Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Symphony music director Herbert Blomstedt will conduct these performances, featuring the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and tenor Daniel Harper.