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Classical 101

Columbus Symphony Broadcast: Joanna Frankel Plays Beethoven

Joanna Frankel
Joanna Frankel

While the world waits at home and our concert halls are empty, the Columbus Symphony broadcast series continues on Classical 101 through April.

With the concert season suspended, I asked CSO music director Rossen Milanov to select some past performances for us to enjoy again. 

Rossen's Choice for Sunday, April 19 is Joanna Plays Beethoven.

This is a performance from the 2018-2019 season in the Ohio Theater featuring Columbus Symphony concertmaster Joanna Frankel playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61

Joanna Frankel captured Columbus's heart from the time she arrived here as an interim concertmaster a few seasons back.

She is tall and commanding and makes a wonderful impression, striding out onto the stage of the Ohio Theater to tune the orchestra before each performance. Her charisma very much translates to her playing. During the broadcast, she talks about the Beethoven concerto and her approach to this work.

Here's part of our conversation:

As I recall that exceptionally special concert, I remember the total support and a kindred spirit in Rossen, who always shows such prowess in creating ‘of the moment’ magic. He is completely immersed in the music and it makes a soloist feel like she is flying. Also I was very humbled to be introduced to Columbus audiences in this wonderful way. My colleagues were with me every moment and I felt very proud to be sharing music in Columbus. As for the music, what better way to begin an epic violin concerto than with a gigantic and virtuosic orchestral tutti that prepares the entrance of the solo line? There’s nothing else quite like it. As a classical work, I had the opportunity to compose my own cadenzas, of which I am very proud. We are so lucky that Beethoven gave us this masterpiece. 

Thank you!

From another recent concert, here is Frankel playing Paganini’s priceless historic violin at the Ohio Theater last year:


Beethoven’s violin concerto was written in 1806. It was dedicated to Franz Clement, who gave the first performance. The evening was not a success. It was reported that Herr Clement was annoyed at receiving the score so late, and thought nothing of playing a piece of his own between the first and second movements of Beethoven’s concerto!

Our April 19 broadcast concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, the Eroica. This music was written to the sound of gunfire as Napoleon’s armies were pounding Vienna.

Beethoven, his hearing already in decline, hid out in the country fearing the noise would destroy the little bit of hearing he had left.

Classical 101 is proud to continue the Columbus Symphony broadcast series while we are all listening at home, not in the Ohio Theater. Thank you to Rossen Milanov and his Columbus Symphony colleagues for Rossen's Choice. Be listening Sunday, April 19 at 1pm on Classical 101.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.