Anne Akiko Meyers
A violin prodigy who appeared on the Tonight Show at age 11 and performed with the New York Philharmonic a year later, Anne Akiko Meyers enjoyed wide attention in her early years, especially as an exclusive RCA recording artist in her twenties. Once that recording contract expired, though, Meyers' visibility inevitably declined, although she has set herself apart as a champion of new music as well as standard Romantic works. Born in California to an American father and a Japanese mother, Meyers began studying the violin at age four. Within three years she was soloing with a local community orchestra, while studying with Alice and Eleanore Schoenfeld at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. In 1981 she made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut, not long after appearing on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. An engagement with the New York Philharmonic came when she was 12. Despite this early attention, Meyers continued her serious study, first with Josef Gingold at Indiana University, and then in 1985 with Dorothy DeLay, Felix Galimir, and Masao Kawasaki at the Juilliard School. Meyers obtained major representation from ICM at age 16, in 1987. By 18, she had made her first recording, concertos by Barber and Bruch on the Royal Philharmonic's house label. Upon her graduation from Juilliard in 1990, she signed an exclusive recording contract with RCA and began touring extensively. In 1993 she received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, signaling that she was more than an over-age child prodigy. The first several of her six RCA recordings revolved around Romantic music, but by the end of her contract she had recorded the Prokofiev concertos and twentieth century American sonatas, as well as a few Japanese pieces. Even so, this hardly hinted at the violinist's strengthening interest in new music. She worked closely with composer Joseph Schwantner on his concerto Angelfire, which she premiered in 2001. The following year she participated in the first performance of Ezequiel Viñao's tone poem Saga with Joseph Kalichstein and Kristjan Järvi's Absolute Ensemble. A few months later, she premiered and recorded a violin concerto by Somei Satoh. As a mature artist, Meyers has tempered her youthful technical brilliance with a delight in subtle interpretive details, particularly in recital pieces. Yet she doesn't disdain promotional glamour; in 1998 she was photographed by Annie Leibowitz for an Anne Klein fashion advertising campaign. Later collaborators included Chris Botti, Il Divo, and Wynton Marsalis, along with several television appearances with the Boston Pops Orchestra and at the Casals Festival with the Montréal Symphony. Her recorded efforts include Birds Warped in Time (2003), Smile (2009), and Seasons...Dreams (2010).
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Classical - Released September 28, 2010 | eOne Music
California violinist and former child prodigy Anne Akiko Meyers has stretched the violin recital in interesting ways, venturing into crossover territory (and even appearing at nightclubs) without losing the basic shape of the traditional program. Here's a decent sampling of her talents for those who follow the ways the classical violin is developing in the U.S., or just for those whose tastes run somewhere between Sarah Chang and Vanessa-Mae. The Seasons…Dreams concept of the album is not original, but the material with which Meyers fills it indeed is so. At the center of the program is the Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 24, "Spring," given a restrained performance inflected toward the evanescent, fantasy-like tone of the rest of the album. The other pieces push the seasons-and-dreams theme into unusual territory. Clair de lune is certainly a common enough item on such programs, but Wagner's Träume is less so, as is the shift from harp to piano accompaniment that follows with the Beethoven (the harp returns later). The pieces that follow the sonata are again just slightly left of center, with an unusual set of variations on a Japanese song, "Sakura," mixed in with Gershwin and Broadway tunes. Then comes an extremely odd nightmare turn to the dream mood: Alfred Schnittke's setting of Stille Nacht (Silent Night). With Debussy's Beau Soir and Après un Rêve of Fauré (whose accent mark apparently fell into the ocean on the way over from France), the listener is back on familiar ground. But the collective impression is fresh. The design from the eOne label (formerly Koch International) puts Meyers in an appealing light and makes one want to attend one of her recitals in person.
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