Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

His Musical Island: Violin master Kristóf Baráti arrives on Harrisburg’s shores this month.

Renowned Hungarian violinist Kristóf Baráti is one of those musicians who gets to travel to faraway places apart from his native city of Budapest.

He’s no stranger to jet lag, having just completed concerts in Poland and Belgium, and, while he loves being home, setting down his Stradivarius and taking a breather, he’s looking forward to coming to Harrisburg this month and doing a sort of musical triple-header: a masterclass with talented Messiah College students, a concert at Temple Ohev Sholom and solo appearances with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

Baráti will be busy, and he doesn’t mind one bit.

“There are absolutely not many chances to play and do a masterclass,” Baráti said. “It will be great to share what I have experienced and what I think about music.”

What Baráti thinks about music could very well be a lesson for child protégés and pushy parents. Born into a family of musicians and spending much of his childhood in Venezuela, Baráti’ said that his mother became the first violin instructor who didn’t force him to play or even love the instrument.

“When my mother would ask me to play, it was like a game,” Baráti recalled. “Music was a beautiful world, and I liked taking part in what my parents were doing. Music got me through that delicate teenage period. Music was my little island.”

Peter Sirotin—artistic director of Market Square Concerts, concertmaster of Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and teacher at Messiah College—said combining solo performances with master classes is common in large metropolitan areas. He saw benefits to both students and audiences and wanted to bring all three organizations together for this type of project after the successful residency with world-renowned pianist, Ann Schein, in 2014.

“I was particularly thrilled with the fact that her masterclass at Messiah College had also filled the hall,” Sirotin says. “It was a joy to watch her inspire and transform four local, young pianists into better versions of themselves on stage.”

That success sparked Sirotin to repeat that “performance.”

After Baráti’s first spectacular recital for the Market Square Concerts series in 2015, which he played the day before his Carnegie Hall debut, Sirotin started a conversation with Jeff Woodruff, executive director of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and Richard Roberson, dean of the School of the Arts at Messiah College. Despite the logistical challenges, Sirotin wanted to bring Baráti to the midstate for a residency. They agreed.

“Because of the wonderfully collaborative relationships between all three of our organizations, we made it work,” Sirotin says. “Temple Ohev Sholom is involved because it is one of the venues where Market Square Concerts presents its performances in addition to Whitaker Center and Market Square Church.”

Sirotin admits he had discovered Baráti’s playing purely by accident. One of his Messiah College students had been working on a rather complex Bach fugue and so Sirotin turned to YouTube for a few good examples of live performances of that particular work.

“I came across Kristóf’s video from Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall, which is where I went to school and performed myself 20 years ago,” he said. “I really liked Kristóf’s performance of Bach and decided to look around for some more of his performances. I found that, in addition to his wonderful sense of style and musicality, he is also a remarkable virtuoso who performs some of the most technically difficult works for violin with charm, ease and flair very rarely found these days.”

Sirotin had the opportunity to meet Baráti in person two years ago during the violinist’s first area concert and had invited Woodruff, who also was impressed.

“I am thrilled that this project came together,” Sirotin added. “It is wonderful for our community to have the same access to the high-quality performing artists as large metropolitan areas, and a great feeling to have this level of friendly collaborative spirit in all three organizations I am involved with.”

Sirotin knows students will get some “fresh insights and helpful suggestions” from Baráti. Baráti hopes he’ll do even more than that.

“I want students to develop their own viewpoint and interpretation and their own way of solving problems,” he said. “I want students to get the joy of understanding music and the joy of music itself.”

Kristóf Baráti will perform at Temple Ohev Sholom on April 5, hold a masterclass at Messiah College on April 6, and perform with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra on April 8 and 9. For more information, visit www.marketsquareconcerts.org for the April 5 performance www.harrisburgsymphony.org for the April 8 and 9 performances.

Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra Upcoming Events:
www.harrisburgsymphony.org

April Masterworks Concert

April 8 at 8 p.m., April 9 at 3 p.m.
The Forum, Harrisburg
Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy,” Khachaturian’s “Violin Concerto” performed by Hungarian virtuoso Kristóf Baráti, and Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 12”

Pops Series

April 22 at 8 p.m., April 23 at 3 p.m.
The Forum, Harrisburg
Michael Cavanaugh sings the songs of Elton John and more

Spring Young Person’s Concert

May 5 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
The Forum, Harrisburg

May Masterworks Concert

May 6 at 8 p.m., May 7 at 3 p.m.
The Forum, Harrisburg
Gershwin’s “Concerto in F” performed by Stuart Malina, conducted by Gregory Woodbridge; Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2”

HSYO Mother’s Day Concert

May 14 at 3 p.m.
The Forum, Harrisburg

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