Glowing reviews for 'Reflections'!

16 February 2021


My newly released duo album with violist Roeland Jagers, Reflections, is already being enthusiastically praised by the international press! 

Below is a selection from some of the reviews.


De Nieuwe Muze: ‘Instrumental love duets’ by Wenneke Savenije


Read the full review (in Dutch) here.

About Josquin Desprez: “unified and in sync, as if they are wandering hand in hand through the hallways of a cloister.” 

About Martinu: “They dart together through Martinu’s wild garden of notes as two lovers who sing, frolic, bicker and love.” 

About Mozart: “Kapustin and Jagers interpret Mozart with the refined sound and sparkling lightness the music demands.” 

About Toch: “Once again Kapustin and Jagers know how to capture the right tone and how to stimulate each other to achieve optimal musical and instrumental flexibility.”

About Roukens: “To close the two players fall symbolically in each other’s arms in two extraordinarily atmospheric duos…”



Opus Klassiek, Aart van de Wal


Read the full review (in Dutch) here.

“…the composition of the program completely convinced me from beginning to end. The stylistic range is enormous, but the resulting contrasts of the different pieces – evidently chosen with much care - actually reinforce one another.”

“Two world-class artists who trust one another completely, and this enables them to use their free quality of playing as a source of spiritual music making.”



Music Web International, Dominy Clements


Read the full review (in English) here

 

“The combination of violin and viola is a surprisingly colourful one, and though there is of course no true bass in the sound it makes an appealing impression. One soon forgets any such lack, and the music and musicianship is communicated with non-fatiguing clarity.”

About Toch’s Divertimento: “…the striking energy of its outer movements and the soulful character of its central Adagio captured superbly in this recording.”

“As a well-considered programme, and a recording and set of performances of the utmost refinement I can only compliment all concerned.”

Online performances

27 January 2021
Dear friends,
Amidst a very strange time (in the Netherlands we're experiencing not only a pandemic, but also a lockdown complete with curfew and riots), I’m very pleased to share two online performances with you, from the comfort and safety of your own home.

This coming Saturday January 30 at 20:00 CET (14:00 EST, 13:00 CST) I will be joining Libero Strijkorkest for the eight seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla. Four soloists from within the group will be playing the Vivaldi, and I will play all four Piazzolla pieces. We will also be recording these works on CD in May 2021!

Click here to view the live stream and here to donate to the project.

In December 2020 I joined the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra as guest concertmaster for a wonderful project with the Dutch National Opera in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. The result can be seen via this link for free until April 24.

Enjoy!

Farewell to 2020

13 December 2020

Dear friends,

I think we are all looking forward to ringing in the new year of 2021 in a few weeks, as this year has been disastrous in so many ways.

I feel extremely fortunate that I and my immediate family are in good health and that I am still able to make music and teach in person during this pandemic. In the past months I have performed as guest concertmaster with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Phion and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (with whom I am currently recording a production of Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, in collaboration with the Dutch National Opera, which is will be available for online viewing). I also filled in as first violin with the wonderful Ragazze Quartet, which was great fun! And of course my students provide me with constant inspiration, keeping me sharp and giving me new perspectives every day.

Perhaps the achievement I am most proud of in 2020 is the recent release of Reflections, a CD featuring duos for violin and viola with Roeland Jagers! You can read more about the project and order the CD here.

I wish you all a Happy and especially Healthy holiday season!


New CD in the making!

01 July 2020

Dear friends,

This forced quarantine period has led to some inspiring new projects! Violist Roeland Jagers and I have decided to record a CD filled with our favorite repertoire for violin and viola, works which we have been playing together for over a decade. The project is called 'Senza Basso' and you can read more about it, watch the film and donate here!

Thanks in advance for your support, and we can't wait to share the finished product with you.

Cancellations due to Coronavirus

13 March 2020

Hi everyone,

It's been awhile since I've posted here and I find myself suddenly with lots of free time due to all the cancellations because of the Coronavirus which has hit the Netherlands. So far all events involving 100+ people have been called off through March 31.

In the coming weeks I plan to spend time with my family and enjoy having lots for practicing and preparing my next projects: hopefully the remaining performances of Smetana's The Bartered Bride with the Reisopera, the Beethoven sonata cycle with Jeannette Koekkoek at Indiana University, and much more.

Stay healthy and I wish you lots of inspiration in this scary time!

Critical acclaim for Point Counter Point

16 November 2016


My new CD Point Counter Point has been out for about 5 weeks and has already received a few great reviews, and a nomination for the Bach CD Prize 2016 from the Dutch radio station Concertzender! Below are two reviews translated from Dutch to English for your enjoyment.

From Opus Klassiek, Aart van de Wal (this is a loose, partial translation, because the original is even longer than this):

http://www.opusklassiek.nl/cd-recensies/cd-aw/kapustin01.htm

"It's been a long time since record companies have had large amounts of money at their disposal to attract promising artists. Nowadays it's often the other way around: the artist must come up with his/her own financial plan to be able to make a CD at all. Classical musicians have learned how to make do with the limited resources available, a process that has already been going on for years, although I'm surprised with how many new CDs are still being produced; this includes lots of repertoire which is continuously being recycled. For me it is increasingly difficult to keep an overview, let alone for the average music-lover. We see many new releases which are never talked about, not even noticed. Even the gems have the risk of being lost in the jungle.

Sarah Kapustin is one of these musicians who, as talented as she is, was forced to use an ever more common (and usually effective) medium to gather the funds needed for her new CD: crowdfunding. She set out to find appropriate funding, in this case a mix of grants and sponsoring, which related not only to the CD itself but also the tour associated with it.

Tour

One of Sarah's goals is to make classical music more accessible for people of all ages/backgrounds; a wish that she shares with many of her colleagues. Therefore she developed a unique lecture-recital format wherein she leads her public through the landscape of the music. She explains how each piece is put together structurally, melodically and harmonically. In this way a 'normal' concert can be transformed into an informed and active listening experience. One example of this is the video on her YouTube channel entitled 'Sarah Kapustin presents Bach and Bartok solo sonatas'.

The less-trodden path

I see this as a fantastic initiative by a formidable artist who sees no mountain high enough to prevent her from sharing her love of the violin and this repertoire, and for reaching a broader international public than she could on the concert stage through the means of a CD. The fact that there seemed to be no other way of attaining this goal than resorting to crowdfunding may come as a surprise, because Sarah Kapustin is anything but an unknown figure. She was the first violinist of the Rubens Quartet, is concertmaster of Sinfonia Rotterdam and violin professor at ArtEZ Conservatory in Zwolle. She is also active as a chamber musician and soloist. It may also come as a surprise that Sarah's chosen repertoire for the CD was not the 'easily accessible' program that 'sells easily'. 

Point Counter Point

The CD is out. Point Counter Point, named after the synonymous novel by Aldous Huxley. In her own words: 'The official definition [of counterpoint] is the relation between voices which are interdependent harmonically yet independent in rhythm and contour'. Counterpoint is a difficult feat to realize on the violin, which is by nature a melodic instrument. Based on this, I find the title to be a very appropriate choice, because in the book's main characters we can certainly recognize this polyphony.

It is brave to make a CD with such an unusual combination of pieces: Bartok's solo sonata, the brand new work 'Sirens' by David Fulmer (written especially for her), and Bach's C Major Sonata BWV 1005, which has grown gradually to become a true 'evergreen' among great violinists. Both sonatas fit Sarah, and the CD itself, like a glove, because in both the technical possibilities of violin playing are pushed by unsurpassed musical challenges to the furthest boundaries. Over time they have also grown to be two of Sarah's favorite pieces to play. Although Bartok's sonata is deeply rooted in a unique idiom of solo violin writing, the relationship between the two pieces is unmistakable, certainly in the interpretation by Sarah Kapustin.

In this context David Fulmer's 'Sirens' seems to be a 'filler' piece, but it isn't. David and Sarah are friends and former classmates, and naturally he was thrilled to write a new piece for a violinist who is so interested in contemporary music. The result is the demanding 'Sirens', which functions on this CD as the modern middleman.

Lesson in rhetoric 

Sarah Kapustin is a great violinist. The program which she chose for this CD is in itself a proof of that. Who would have expected otherwise? It rains accolades, the exclamation points are endless, and this is mainly due to perhaps her greatest strength: her power of storytelling. How deep can you go as a musician to reach the stage where you are experiencing every note to the fullest? Sarah shows us: very deep. For the listener it begins with flawless articulation and impeccable intonation. That is the essential basis, which leaves us open to experience the expressivity of the music. Then come the real exclamation points, where such an impressive story is told so convincingly that the listener is mesmerized. That is what happens here, in a grandiose lesson in musical rhetoric. Perhaps it helps that Sarah plays on a Rogeri violin from Brescia made at the end of the 17th century? In my opinion, she can do anything, regardless of the instrument. Her choice to work with the sound engineer Daan van Aalst was yet another masterful stroke. Because that can make all the  difference. Daan created a true sound paradise for Sarah. I salute them both deeply for the end result.

From journalist Hans Visser (published in several Dutch newspapers):

Make sure the house is quiet and empty your head. Then listen to the rich world of melodies present on Sarah Kapustin's first solo CD. The American [former] first violinist of the Rubens Quartet surprises us with the 'refined combination of flavors in gourmet cuisine' in music. Kapustin studied Bartok's solo sonata (1944) with Robert Mann, one of the first authorities on the piece. She opens her CD with this work in its technically complex original version. But don't be alarmed by 'technically complex', because throughout the intricate polyphonic writing, she makes the violin sing intensely. Bach's third solo sonata was the inspiration for Bartok to write his own solo sonata, and Sarah also makes this piece burst to life. Placed in between these two works is the brand new 'Sirens' by David Fulmer, which fits perfectly in this context. Sarah also presents all three of these works in a special lecture-recital format.


2016/17 season!

18 September 2016

Dear friends and fans,

I hope that you have all enjoyed a wonderful summer vacation! I had a very inspiring festival season; here are some highlights:

- performances at the Indiana University Summer Music Festival with wonderful artists like Kerson LeongJeannette Koekkoek, Edward Auer and Cory Smythe

- serving as faculty member for the Indiana University Summer String Academy, which included coaching a group of eight young gifted string players on Mendelssohn's miraculous Octet

- performances at the Festival de Musique de Chambre du Larzac in the lovely Aveyron region of France

And now it is already mid September and time to turn the page to the next chapter, being the 2016/17 season! 

I'm most excited about the realization of my Point Counter Point project; the CD is coming out already in early October and you can pre-order it here! I will also be performing and presenting this program throughout the entire season; check my schedule page for more details.

And while you're at it, on my schedule page you'll see that I have lots of interesting projects coming up as concertmaster of Sinfonia Rotterdam, guest concertmaster of the Orchestra National de Lille and the Noord Nederlands Orkest, plus chamber music next weekend with the wonderful Nino Gvetadze and others....and much much more. 

I hope to see you at one of my concerts this season!




Success!

24 March 2016
Dear friends,

As of this morning my Kickstarter campaign is officially closed, and you have helped me to raise a total of 5,553 euros! This means that I can keep all of the pledges. These donations will help me enormously to cover the many costs associated with the project, so thank you very very much!

In case you haven't had the chance to check it out yet, here is the link for the full 15-minute film that I made with Nander Cirkel and Laura Jonker explaining my project in detail.

On a more personal note, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels (and constant attacks in Africa and the Middle East which don't get nearly as much media attention as they deserve): I feel so proud and privileged to be able to live the way I do, doing what I love. However, it is not only a privilege but also a responsibility to be a performing artist, and I hope that my music will remind us all to respect ourselves, others and the Earth that we share together, every single day.

Be safe everyone!


Week 4: Feature of composer David Fulmer

12 March 2016

Dear friends,

11 days to go and just over 3000 euros still to be raised! Please donate and share my Kickstarter link!

This week I'm featuring David Fulmer, who is at this very moment writing a new solo piece especially for me! David and I were schoolmates at The Juilliard School in New York, where we were both in Robert Mann's violin class and David was studying composition with the late Milton Babbitt. Since then, David's career as a violinist and composer has taken off. He premiered his own violin concerto in 2010 to rave reviews and has gone on to write several pieces for symphony orchestra, concerti for various instruments, and lots of chamber music and solo works. He has received commissions from Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Berlin Philharmonic, Argento Ensemble and several others. I'm honored that he has agreed to write a piece for me and am very excited and curious to experience the result! In May I'll be traveling to New York to work on the piece with him before I record it. 

That's all for now, but you'll be hearing from me again soon!

Week 3: Tribute to the Rubens Quartet

06 March 2016

Dear friends, 

Another week has gone by and progress has been made on my Kickstarter campaign....but there's still a long way to go! 17 days left and still another 3500 euros to be raised! Please donate and share!

This week I would like to feature the group which I have had the honor of playing with for the last 7.5 years: the Rubens Quartet. One week from today will be our very last concert as a string quartet, before going our separate ways. I moved to the Netherlands in 2008 to join the quartet, and so much has happened since then...and everything I've experienced has enabled me to develop artistically in ways I didn't know were possible. Thank you Tali Goldberg, Roeland Jagers and Joachim Eijlander for helping to shape and inspire me as a musician and person! I'm excited to see what the next chapter of my life will bring.

But first, please help me with my project!