Superstar violinist Anne Akiko Meyers is no stranger to Beethoven, but even she admits the composer’s Violin Concerto is a beast.
“It’s really like running your own New York City Marathon,” the Southern California native said during a call from Santa Monica. “It’s very lengthy and the pacing is challenging for the soloist. You’re very exposed throughout the 45 minutes of performing.”
Yep, 45 minutes — 25 of those in the first of the three movements alone. And there are no pauses between movements two and three, which each clock in at 10 minutes.
Meyers performance is the cornerstone of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s 90th anniversary season opener, “A Beethoven Odyssey.”
Performances are Friday, Sept. 21, and Sunday, Sept. 23, and the program also includes Richard Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra,” which film producer Stanley Kubrick used in his 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
This weekend marks Meyers TSO debut and comes two weeks after the prolific recording artist released her 37th album, “Mirror In Mirror.” The recording features works by and collaborations with six living and iconic composers including “Red Violin” composer John Corigliano — “He wrote a beautiful lullaby for the album for my first-born daughter, ‘A Lullaby for Natalie,’” said Meyers, the 48-year-old mother of two — and Arvo Pärt, whose works are played around the world.
Meyers will open Pärt’s new concert hall in Estonia in October by performing several of his works.
“The album also features a young composer by the name of Jakub Ciupinski, who wrote several pieces for violin and electronics,” said Meyers, adding that the album also includes “a beautiful piece by Philip Glass called ‘Metamorphosis II’ and also an arrangement by Morten Lauridsen, who is the best known choral composer on the planet ... of ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ for violin and orchestra.”
Meyers said “Mirror In Mirror” is her most personal recording to date.
“This album means so much to me because I collaborated with all the composers, except for Maurice Ravel, and commissioned many of them for a time span of about a decade, so this took 10 years to produce and to create and two years just to record,” she said. “It was a very comprehensive process. To collaborate so intimately with all of these composers really makes the music speak from their hearts and mine.”
“I think it’s just incredibly spiritual, beautiful, meditative music and I am so thrilled that it is released now,” she added. “Hopefully people can just exhale and take a minute of their day to kind of regroup and just enjoy the poetry within the music.”